Remote control: Managing a team of home workers
Remote working can help save on operational costs and reduce absence, but trust and communication are essential for any arrangement to work effectively.
Speaking at a recent People Management webinar, head of people practice at BT Group Dennis Gissing explained that successful remote working depended on the establishment of a work culture that regards home and mobile working as 'normal practice'. Gissing explained that BT - which introduced home working in 1984 - employs many staff on home-based contracts, and has found marked benefits in terms of increased productivity, lower levels of absence due to sickness and reduced overheads.
Where a team consist of a mixture of office-based and home-based staff, good line management is essential to manage performance and build a cohesive team. Experts stress the need for agreed 'touch points' for remote workers, such as face-to-face feedback sessions and attendance at important strategic meetings, which can help promote better communication and involvement of all team members. Crucially, too, managers also need to be able to trust their remote workers to manage their time and workloads and work independently, which can mean a move towards more 'hands off' style of management and new flexible working practices.
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