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Guidelines to keeping offsite employees on target

Due to the COVID 19 crises, the workforce is changing. An increasing number of employees work offsite, not by choice but by necessity. By improving your ability to manage offsite employees, you will empower yourself in many ways. You will help ensure that your team is cohesive and productive. You will know how to avoid costly, time-consuming problems and help your team meet its goals. Being a skilful manager of remote employees can build friendship, create a more positive work environment, and encourage stronger business performance regardless of distance. To stay connected with a dispersed workforce you must:

  • Establish regular two-way communication.

  • Find out what the employee needs and expects from you.

  • Check-in often to see how the employee is doing, answer questions, and make sure the employee has everything he or she needs.

  • Consider helping the offsite employee find mentors who can serve as sounding boards, offer advice, and share their expertise. A mentor might be a more experienced colleague, another manager, or even someone outside the organisation who has the relevant knowledge and expertise.

Sometimes employees who are excellent workers onsite may not perform at the same level when working offsite. When employees work onsite, managers can quickly see if they are not following the rules, meeting expectations, or achieving their goals. But when managers do not see or communicate with employees every day, employees can sometimes go in the wrong direction.

Here are some guidelines to help you keep offsite employees on target:

  • Make sure they understand the rules relating to work hours, availability, checking-in, reporting, and anything else that is relevant to their jobs.

  • Make sure they know what you expect from them. Some common expectations are that (i) they will keep in touch with you and the team, (ii) let you know what they are working on and how it’s going, (iii) ask questions when necessary, and (iv) let you know when problems come up.

  • Work with them to develop clear performance goals and action plans for achieving those goals. Make sure they have the training and resources they need to meet their goals.

  • Be available so they can reach you when they have questions, concerns, or problems. Let them know if you will not be available for an extended period of time and, if necessary, designate someone to be an alternate contact.