Managing Teleworkers: The Basics
Implementing telework in an efficient manner in your organization means following a judicious evaluation of the needs and constraints of the organization, as well as a clear delineation of roles. There are several basic components to effectively managing telework.
- Facilitate a teleworking protocols meeting with your team: Host a conversation to identify your organizational norms and protocols for teleworking to reach consensus on what “teleworking as a team” looks like for your work environment.
- Build a trusting environment: Use telework as an opportunity to foster trust between employees and management. Rigid monitoring of employees’ daily activities hinders productivity and creates and environment of distrust, while established and agreed upon metrics for productivity ensure long-term team success while teleworking.
- Monitor performance: Hold employees accountable for their work fairly and promptly. Telework does not create inefficiencies, but rather exposes them. Host check-in opportunities for mobile and in-office team members.
- Stay connected: Ensure all team members know the best and expected vehicles for communication. Commit with each other to an acceptable response period. Be just as responsive to direct reports and colleagues as you expect them to be.
- Be transparent: Use shared calendars, instant messenger, email out-of-office messages, desk signage, and other transparent communication vehicles to inform your team members of your work status.
- Manage by results, not by physical presence: Do not confuse worker activity with the results those activities produce. Establish a clear definition of objectives and performance indicators, and ensure close monitoring of those indicators along with ongoing training for teleworking employees.
Managing for Results
Supervisors should follow these tips for managing for results:
- Review current job tasks and responsibilities.
- Establish measurable outcomes and deliverables.
- Specify who receives or monitors the outcomes and deliverables, and when interim checkpoints and due dates will occur.
- Use language that avoids subjectivity, vagueness and interpretation. Be clear and specific to avoid misunderstanding about what is required.
- Link outcomes and deliverables to organizational goals. It is important that employees understand the importance of our work functions in relationship to the organization’s goals, mission, products and services.
- Track performance results. Tracking results allows you to compare from review period to review period how you are doing.
- Schedule ongoing evaluation and revise as necessary. This applies to both ongoing, formal evaluation of your job performance and the results-oriented management process. Make changes to each of these as appropriate.