With business operations growing increasingly global, maintaining dispersed employees and identifying key tools for optimizing their efficiency and engagement become all the more vital to business success. To make managing an employee at a site other than one's own a mutually rewarding experience, several factors must be taken into consideration, according to a report released by The Conference Board.
Major findings of this study include:
--More than 60 percent of the respondents surveyed agreed that managing same-site employees is easier than managing distance employees.
--Nearly 80 percent of the respondents believe that the extra costs of enabling employees to work at a distance do pay off.
--Managers' perceptions of the job they're doing differs from that of distance employees -- 53 percent of managers surveyed reported spending more than an hour a week developing working relationships with distance employees, whereas only 18 percent of employees believed that their managers spent that much time with them.
Five practices were found to be shared among effective distance teams: in-person meetings; clear agreements on accessibility; good use of group software; adequate company support; and clearly defined roles for members.
Although managers and employees disagree about how much time is spent developing relationships, they both agree that it is vital. Of managers and employees surveyed, about 90 percent and 70 percent said "the phone" and "in person," respectively, were the two most effective communication tools for building distance relationships.
In addition to identifying the challenges presented, the group also identified key skills for managers and employees which maximize productivity and lead to effective manager-employee teams. At the heart of managing distance employees well is proper communication and employee engagement in order to create a productive work environment. Effective distance employees were identified as those who know how to execute, use technology and collaborate.More information on the service and support industry can be found at www.supportindustry.com