Forrester Research predicts that the number of virtual workers will swell from 34 million in 2009 to 63 million by 2016. If you’re faced with managing one or more employees who work from a remote office, there are a number of things to consider.|
1. Home office environment. The virtual employee needs a safe, ergonomic place to work and should have a dedicated space in their home for their office. Managers should visit the offices of their virtual employees to ensure the environment is healthy for the employee and set up for optimum productivity.
2.Technology considerations. Technology needs will vary depending on specific job duties, but virtual employees will need some basics: office telephone, laptop computer, printer/scanner and conference line access. The employee should also be set up with a high-speed Internet connection, professional voice mail and, depending on their travel requirements, an email-capable mobile phone.
3.Regularly scheduled communication. One of the biggest challenges managers and their virtual employees deal with is the inability to meet face-to-face regularly. Along with phone calls, emails and meetings pertaining to specific projects, it helps to connect on a set basis to assess whether your employee is meeting his or her overall work objectives and if they are facing any challenges.
4. Coordinating the team. If your team includes multiple people who need to work together, it’s important to clearly define project goals and objectives. Detailed project schedules that show who is responsible for which tasks and when those tasks are due can help your team stay on track. Schedule conference calls on a regular basis to review project status.
- At a minimum, schedule individual monthly phone meetings for virtual employees.
- Check in by email frequently so you have a handle on the status of their projects.
- If it is financially feasible, put quarterly face-to-face meetings atthe home office on your calendar to get the entire team together.
Here to Help
If your business is expanding out to the virtual arena, talk with a business banking expert at American River Bank. We’d be happy to discuss the options available to you for financing the resources your business needs to create a virtual team.