Survey reveals greatest challenges in managing remote teams

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In a new Robert Half Technology survey nearly one in five Canadian chief information officers cited technological issues as their greatest hurdle.

For technology executives to manage remote teams effectively, they need to ensure these teams have access to the right communication tools. Teleconferencing, online meeting and file-sharing services foster collaboration.

For technology professionals who work remotely, out of “site” isn't necessarily out of mind. In a new Robert Half Technology survey nearly one in five (19 per cent) Canadian chief information officers (CIOs) cited technological issues as their greatest challenge in managing a remote workforce. Productivity and communication issues followed with 17 and 15 per cent, respectively.

“As remote working becomes increasingly popular, many managers are concerned with employees having the resources they need to be effective while working away from the office,” said Deborah Bottineau, senior regional manager of Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group. “Even senior executives in a technology-forward department like IT can experience struggles in providing employees seamless access to information remotely or maintaining visibility into how work is being accomplished.”

Tips for technology executives to manage remote teams effectively:

• Outline expectations. Tell remote employees how often you'd like them to check in by phone or email. Let them know you expect them to be reachable during office hours. Also, set clear goals and benchmarks to help mobile workers stay on track with objectives.

• Leverage technology tools. Make sure remote employees have access to the right communication tools. Teleconferencing, online meeting and file-sharing services foster collaboration among remote teams. Confirm that everyone can stay in touch easily and access the information they need quickly and securely.

• Create opportunities for face time. To help remote workers stay connected, request that they work on-site a few times a month, if possible. Encourage them to attend important events and meetings in person, as appropriate. Also, use videoconferencing tools to promote virtual face-to-face interaction with off-site staff.

• Check in with remote employees regularly. Remote work arrangements afford flexibility but they can blur the lines between work and personal life. Some employees who work from home have trouble 'unplugging.' Encourage them to create balance, which, ultimately, aids productivity in the long term.

Organizations: Creative Group

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  • James
    May 08, 2014 - 19:44

    I have to give emphasis on this one - "Leverage technology tools". I work from home and everything is nothing without technology, no one can actually work anywhere at anytime without the tools that we use to make our work life more easier. Marissa Mayer may have some issues with her employees who were on telecommuting, but for me, this type of work is pretty much a fit to those who wanted to put an end on how hard it is to commute. I remember one time when I was going through my daily study about “productivity”, I read an article where Richard Branson talks about work from home as the future in the workforce. http://www.staff.com/blog/richard-branson-one-day-offices-will-be-a-thing-of-the-past/ I wonder if guys will favor Branson's idea but, personally, I liked his approach on telework.

  • Aileen
    May 07, 2014 - 09:43

    These are great tips but sometimes its easy to forget the relationship and connection that needs to be built as well. Great work comes from the individuals confidence and dedication to the company. While these tips are great, I've also come across this great ebook with 4 other tip on how to build an effective virtual team. It has another viewpoint that I found interesting: http://intego-group.com/docs/4-tips-to-building-an-effective-virtual-team.pdf

  • Chris Jankulovski
    May 07, 2014 - 03:55

    With technology nowadays, it seems easy to let your employers work remotely. But if not properly planned, it could be a recipe for disaster. Managers who are used to handling employees inside the office might need to adjust and I recently published an article about managing remote workers: http://blog.remotestaff.com.au/manage-remote-workers-and-build-trust-in-5-ways/