Telecommuting Calls for Change in Management Style for HR Professionals

Telecommuting is rapidly becoming a viable means of employment for thousands of people worldwide, especially now that high-speed Internet and alternative methods of communication are available. Employees can update supervisors, team members, colleagues and clients at the touch of a button via Skype, phone, emails and instant messages. Regardless of the methods employed, HR departments need to adjust their own approach when it comes to dealing with team members working from home.

The Rise of Telecommuting

In the traditional workplace, management focuses on keeping an eye on their teams through physical observation. For employees who telecommute, this isn’t a possibility. HR management should focus on training their general managers to check in with team members frequently through email, Skype, phone and other online tools. Many firms and companies use private wikis or other workflow applications to tag team members in projects, create checklists and otherwise exercise hands-on management without actually being in the same room.

Potential Problems with Telecommuting

Many of the issues that arise with telecommuting are unique, and managers who deal primarily with traditional workplaces may not know how to handle these issues initially. For instance, communication issues can arise when one party doesn’t know how to use workflow technology, or when the workflow technology or Internet service fails. Also, it can be more challenging to stay in contact because it’s less intuitive to send updates when a supervisor isn’t in the same building. To avoid these issues, determine best practices, emphasize communication with your management team and ensure that they have the tools to stay in touch.

Managing Remote Team Members

Ultimately, remote team management isn’t so different from what you’re used to in the traditional workplace. The unique issues are often logistical problems that have to do with technology, which you can resolve by educating your team on the tools they’ll use to communicate. New communication strategies might be necessary to discuss, as well. With some basic training and follow-up, you can easily craft a successful management strategy with your remote team members.

Source: Enkata

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