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Set clear goals for you and your remote workers

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Managing a remote team has some nuances that are different than managing an in-office team.

A telecommuting program has a number of benefits, including increased employee engagement and productivity, reduced costs for both employer and employee, and the opportunity to recruit from  a global talent pool.

When you’re managing a virtual team, you need to take an artful approach to communication, maybe have some looser restrictions on when the hours are worked, and yet strictly adhere to goals and deadlines.

Make it work

Here are some key strategies to adopt for your telework team.

Have a policy

A policy for your telecommuting program is vital. It sets forth the rules and restrictions, and establishes the expectations for both you, the manager, and your team members. Ensure that each of your team members have read and understand the policy before signing off on their telecommuting privilege.

Get the right technology

Ensure your teammates are well equipped to do their jobs, and to stay in contact with you and their teammates. They may need office-issued computers and access to a virtual private network, and they will need a reliable phone line and internet connection.

Keep your “door” open

As a manager or supervisor, you know communication is vital on any team. It becomes more so when you’re in charge of a remote work team. Schedule daily or weekly update meetings with the entire team and ensure your team members know you’re available when you need them.

Sign up for OnConference’s conference calling and web conferencing services to help keep those lines of communication open.

Make no assumptions

Email and instant messaging are great tools of communication. But in the quest to be brief, we can often lose meaning, nor do we get the benefit of reading important social cues like body language or tone of voice. That means we have to make an extra effort to be very clear with our intention and our expectations when we’re communicating with a virtual work team. Leave no questions unanswered.

Be goal-oriented

Telecommuting should be all about the results. If you aren’t getting quality results on time, your telecommuting program isn’t working. Assign tasks to individual team members and set deadlines for everything.

A good project management software program can come in handy, allowing your team members to track progress on their assignments and record milestones, when they complete tasks. It gives you a clear picture on how projects are moving along.

Your turn

Do you have any tips on managing a virtual work force? What works best in keeping your telecommuting program running smoothly?

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