In these busy times when everyone in the workforce needs to do more in less time, you will most likely manage employees in different physical locations. Or, be required to travel for client meetings or company meetings and, yet, still need to oversee day to day details. Here are some tips on how you can effectively manager your workforce when away from the office.
Micromanagement is Not the Answer
Traditionally, the manager is on the same floor as his/her employees. Seeing bodies at desks is a simple check on productivity. When out of the office, you cannot see you workers’ activities. A sense of panic may set in as you imagine the workers slacking off just because you are not there. As a result, you may be tempted to require an hourly email or phone call to verify work is being done. Micromanaging remotely (and in person) is damaging to productivity and morale. Workers need to know that you trust them.
Be Available and Provide Oversight
On the other hand, lack of oversight or instructions can cause just as many issues. Use a shared calendar for deadlines. Set a regular meeting that can be held via video conference when you are not present in the office. A well-organised work flow does not require a manager’s physical presence to be successful.
Technology provides lots of solutions to maintain face to face to meetings and real time communication even when physically separate. Dozens of applications can be used for tracking various tasks. Microsoft Outlook, and many other email services, will provide automatic calendar reminders. There are dozens of spreadsheet and software applications that can be used for entering employee times, schedules, deadlines, performance reviews, requests for schedule changes or time off as well as cost projections.
As mentioned above, the right software can be extremely beneficial for your business. If you’re out of the office for the majority of working days, HR software will allow employees to easily track their time without having to constantly check-in with you. This will save everyone’s time and will streamline the process.
If you know you’re going to be stepping away from the workplace for a few days, delegate certain tasks and responsibilities to a trusted employee. Leaving the office with no-one in charge is both risky and impractical, so temporarily put the responsibly in somebody else’s hands.
Review each employee carefully and select someone who is already in a high authority role, as this will be somebody that both you and your employees can entrust. They don’t have to completely take over your role as manager, simply provide them with jobs to set, tasks to oversee and ways to monitor the staff.
Just because you’re away from the office doesn’t mean you can’t still manage your employees. Hopefully, you have a workforce that you know you can rely on whether you’re there or not, so put you’re trust in them and assure you’re still providing sufficient support. By following the above tips, you’ll be in a much better position to manage everything and everyone no matter where you are.