Managing from a distance

In an era of widespread telecommuting and geographically dispersed teams, more and more business leaders need to know how best to manage employees who are seldom in the company offices.

In this era of widespread telecommuting and geographically dispersed teams, more and more business leaders need to know how best to manage employees who are seldom in the company offices. Two recent articles take a look at emerging trends in managing telecommuters and remote workers:

  • In an article in this month’s edition of Business Insight, two researchers discuss the management challenges — and benefits — represented by a new breed of autonomous, high-level workers who are rarely in the corporate office.  The authors note that, if managed well, these self-starters can offer significant benefits to the corporation, as they can free up management time by not needing close supervision; they also lower traditional overhead costs such as real estate. But managing such employees isn’t easy. One suggestion? “Macro-manage” high-level remote workers  – giving them broad goals to achieve. 
  • On a similar note, CIO.com recently featured a three-part series about a 35-person software company, Chorus, that decided to eliminate its corporate offices and, in effect, send the entire company to home offices. While Chorus reports higher productivity now that employees all work at home,  communications in an all-virtual company requires new approaches. One tool Chorus uses: a report that everyone receives each day that lists all of the projects each company team has in progress.  

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