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How to Manage Employees Remotely

 

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1) Engaging remote employees:
Technology is developing tirelessly and it keeps changing our world. It brings more innovations to our workplaces and facilitates working practices that we are accustomed to. Due to globalization the technologies which enable business teams to collaborate across national borders and continents are demanded more than ever. That’s because of outstanding benefits promised by their use.

Many corporations think that it is a really exciting and advantageous practice to engage people from foreign employment markets without a need to move them from abroad. This allows avoiding costly procedures connected to obtaining residence and work permits, transportation, lodging and welfare. In other words, a professional stays at home, while he can contribute into project remotely, utilizing Internet and other modern telecommunicational technologies.

Besides temporal outsourcing of the projects abroad, more and more companies prefer to move their regular in-house employees to workplaces specially arranged at their own homes, as this practice enables company to rent less office space and economize on utilities used.

What personality type of employees is suitable for remote engagement?
In fact not all types of employees can be involved into remote collaboration with the same success. Some people need more personal attention and presence than others. Usually, remote collaboration makes sense if only employee complies with certain standards. Let’s consider what traits are desired for remote employees:

  • Self-sufficient: Employee doesn’t need regular direction, input, supervision or attention from his or her managers. Employee is professionally mature and sustainable, therefore he or she can work in a standalone mode.
  • Self-organized: Employee completely understands nature of work he or she is assigned to and methods used to plan it. Employee is able to organize his or her own business time and agenda to work effectively.
  • Self-motivated: Employee doesn’t need to be stimulated by his or her managers, peer approval or by someone’s example. Employee is mainly driven by his or her own enthusiasm, personal interest and ambitions.
  • Self-disciplined: Employee is responsible. Employee clearly understands that he/she works in a team that is aimed to approach common goals, and therefore he/she needs to obey certain team rules and respect his/her teammates.

What is included into remote employee management?
In order to organize proper work and project management remotely you need to have a number of communicational instruments at hands. These instruments are to be used regularly and intensively, so you need to select only well-featured solutions acquired only from reliable suppliers. These tools for remote management include:

  • Teleconferencing software: it includes any IT solutions that connect people over distances as if they were sitting in the same room. It is necessary to have means for voice-conferencing, but it is strongly recommended to strengthen your contact with real-time video. You may use software that combines voice conferencing with picture from individual web-cams. This will help people to better feel and understand each other while residing distantly yet. 
  • Telework management software: this kind of a program is designed to help people in sharing their working plans and to keep in touch with the common progress. Telework software assists people by making the project plan they participate in (and a progress they jointly achieve) to be visually represented and understandable. This software is to be used by managers for controlling tasks and assignments, capturing and evaluating performance of team members, etc.
  • Tools for strong line contacts: it is necessary for the team manager and remote team members to stay available for non-scheduled contacts. This implies frequent communications in a variety of ways, including e-mail, phone, or in person if possible, etc. Therefore you need employing an effective tool for holding frequent, but short contacts. For example, you may consider buying a corporate tariff package for mobile phones owned by team members, which means their ability to phone you cheaply any suitable time. 

2) Actions to manage employees remotely:

  1. Hold the first, introductory project (kick-off) meeting with the team in person, if possible;
  2. Select a solution for teleconferencing and agree upon it with the team members;
  3. Select a solution for telework management and agree upon using it with the team members;
  4. Select a solution for frequent communications (a variety of ways will be ok), and agree upon using them for different cases and situations with the team members;
  5. Make sure that everyone has exchanged their contact details: e-mail addresses, phones, pages in social networks, etc;
  6. Make sure everyone in the team has installed selected software packages or got registration in on-line system of your choice for remote work management;
  7. Consider establishing special page for the project team within some popular social network:
    • For obtaining additional level of contact;
    • For sharing non-confidential documents;
    • For sharing files and videos;
    • For maintaining project glossary and knowledge;
  8. Allow and promote unofficial off-stage contacts between remote partners, as informal chatter helps to build the team;
  9. Coordinate schedules to respect different time zones of all team members:
    • Agree upon commonly convenient time for virtual contacts;
    • Make sure no tasks which can put the whole project on hold are assigned to team members who will be asleep while others will have daytime, so their productive time can be wasted;
    • If possible ask everyone in the team to install widgets that show current time in different parts of the world, so everyone can see what exact time their co-workers have;
  10. Input work plans into telework software and make sure everyone is connected to the database:
    • Everyone needs to have a list of individual tasks with their deadlines;
    • Everyone should have a view of the project’s whole picture (timeline and/or WBS);
    • Everyone should notice updates on the progress and tasks;
  11. Through a series of conferences ensure that everyone understands and accepts assigned tasks;
  12. Agree to hold daily, weekly and monthly conference calls, as appropriate;
  13. If possible, schedule periodic face-to-face meetings;
  14. Make and document a final agreement that states:
    • Times the team members need to be available for contact;
    • Performance objectives and standards;  
    • Schedules and agenda of conferences;
  15. Share this document on the Web to allow the team members reviewing it;
  16. Ensure backup of project-related information and tasks:
    • If someone is sick or leaves, make sure there is always someone who can pick up tasks;
    • Make sure files of remote workers can be easily accessed in a case of their withdrawal;

3) A way to Manage Employees Remotely with VIP Task Manager:

VIP Task Manager is a tool that stands for real-time collaboration between project participants, so it allows managers to establish collaboration between people over the Internet in terms of their tasks and project goals. Let’s consider simple step-by-step instructions to co-operate productively via the Internet with a help of this product:

Instruments to be used:

  • VIP Task Manager;
  • Server or computer with static (outer) IP address;

Action Pan to deploy telework management software:

  1. Use a trial version of VIP Task Manager to make sure this software works for your needs;
  2. Ask your Internet provider to set up static (outer) IP address at your server or computer;
  3. Make sure your computer or server is able to work 24 hours a day;
  4. Contact our Sales Department to buy a lifetime or temporal license of VIP Task Manager;
  5. Install Server component of this software at your server that has static (outer) IP address;
  6. Install Client component of this software at a remote computer;
  7. Test out how your IP address works (see these instructions: How to access remote computer);
  8. Make sure everyone in your team has installed Client applications of this program at their PCs;
  9. Check if all of them are connected to the database;
  10.  Create and share working plans in real-time;

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