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What Are Best Practices for Managing Teleworkers?

What Are Best Practices for Managing Teleworkers?

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 As part of celebrating Earth Day throughout the month of April, we'll be featuring posts about how to make your nonprofit or library more environmentally friendly. This post, from John at our donor partner ReadyTalk, originally appeared on their blog.

As government agencies begin to implement telework policies, managers are new to managing remote employees and challenged to avoid disruptions in day-to-day work as employees begin telecommuting. While it may be challenging at first, it is possible to maintain workflow and organizational processes.

In a recent white paper, Best Practices for Managing Teleworkers: Changing Attitudes, Changing Ways (registration required), analysts from Frost and Sullivan discuss practical steps managers can take to limit disruption and increase efficiency when rolling out telework programs.

  1. One-size-does-not-fit-all
    Teleworking may not be a good fit for all employees and should not be implemented agency-wide. Managers and employees should discuss if it is good fit based on job role, personality, work style, and so on.
  2. Location, location, location
    Teleworking is great for location-neutral job roles but not all positions have this flexibility. Rather than eliminating teleworking across the organization, identify positions that can be successful despite location.
  3. Start slow
    Rather than roll out the program for the entire work group, start small with a few employees. This will allow you to implement the telecommuting guidelines for your work groups and best practices and adjust management styles and expectations.
  4. Measuring success
    Some managers may have to adjust their style to focus on results, not time spent on a project. As long as the job is getting done, employees shouldn’t be judged on where or when they’re doing it.
  5. On the right track
    Develop career tracks that includes teleworking and remote employees.
  6. Group projects
    Create collaborative group projects so that remote employees have the opportunity to engage and work with closely with colleagues.
  7. Leverage social media
    Implement social media and communication tools to help remote employees connect and get to know each other outside of work environments.
  8. Technology tools
    Give remote and telecommuting employees the technology tools for telework success.

Making telework work will require looking at your team differently – managing expectations while someone is remote and ensuring that collaboration continues are key to success. For additional insight, download the free white paper.

What has worked for your organization? What would steps would you recommend to other organizations? Are there missteps to avoid? Share below.

As the director of government sales, John is leading efforts to grow ReadyTalk’s government and public sector business. Away from work, John enjoys skiing and hiking in the mountains.

Becky Wiegand is the Webinar Program Manager at TechSoup.org
@bajeckabean on Twitter

  • What works for me, working from home:

    -- have a day & time for at least one weekly staff/team meeting. It keeps me focused, helps me know what's going on, and makes me feel like I'm involved. If I just rely on email, instant messaging or someone calling, I'd be left out of a lot of important info. A lot of "oh, have I mentioned...?" comments in these regular meetings.

    -- EXCELLENT audio for meetings. I need to be able to hear very clearly, and everyone needs to hear ME clearly! Whatever you need to make that happen, do it.

    -- instant messaging. I like leaving my cross platform IM program (I use Adium) so anyone I'm working with can see when I'm "in", and can IM me with a "Hey, can we talk by phone now?" That way, they don't disturb me if I'm actually on a Skype call with someone or on the phone with someone else, and they don't call and not reach me because I happen to be out during that 15 minutes

    -- Super clear communications regarding what my goals are/should be, and my progress towards those goals.