Staying Connected: Managing Your Employees Online
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
The way we work together is changing. Virtual teams, remote offices, teams spread around the globe. But we can count on a few things never changing! As managers, we need to stay connected with our teams. The channels of communication must flow freely. We need to be able to keep everyone on the same page so we can reach our goals and deadlines together.
“It can be challenging to manage your employees effectively – especially when it’s remote!”
It can be challenging to manage employees effectively – especially when it’s remote. And what manager doesn’t love a good challenge? It’s stimulating! Invigorating! And it’s 100% possible to create a solid, dynamic team, even when you’re not all in the same location. Let’s explore how and why.
I’ll give you an example. In days past I worked on a global health research team. I was part of the data analysis group, based in Seattle, WA. Our research site was located in Tanzania. We were responsible for verifying and analyzing data from the research site. We had a snazzy data capture system that sent data to us each day. That process usually worked like clockwork. But when there was a problem with the system – well, that’s where challenge came into play. Solving technical problems over email is never a breeze.
As you might already know, global teams have special needs. Not only are you split by an immense physical distance, there’s also the time difference. Other than getting up at ridiculous hours to have international phone conferences, what can you do when you need to stay in touch? Since we didn’t have a centralized system to organize our project tasks or communicate, team members sometimes had to take personal time to consult with their overseas teammates. Problem solved, the data flow would return and work would continue.
- Threaded discussions make problem solving a snap.
- Document and file sharing is integrated into Comindware Tracker, keeping everything in one convenient location.
- Automated email notifications help you stay on top of new posts and status changes.
Just a few simple tools like these would have made a huge difference to my team. We could have been notified automatically when a technical problem gummed up the works. We could have easily tracked the discussion in one location that everyone could access, no matter what continent they were on. And we could have any documents we needed attached right to the project online. Things can easily get mislaid in the hustle and bustle of a clinical research setting. Having everything online and accessible by all sites would have saved everyone time.
Because you can keep everything in one location, Comindware can help you manage a remote employees with ease. Real time data is always available. The issue of time differences is easily side stepped, since team members can work on their projects wherever and whenever they need to. They can easily leave updated information for review by other team members and managers. While we may still have needed to talk on the phone in order to get to the heart of really complicated technical issues, this type of centralized system would have really helped us keep things flowing.
“…being connected… It builds value for what each person brings to the team, even if they’ve never met face to face.”
Communication isn’t just about being able to troubleshoot issues or archive documents, of course. When you’re considering managing employees online, figuring out how to create a cohesive team can be a central concern. You want people to feel connected with each other. Having your employees organized online can create that feeling of being connected. Each team member can see the others contributing. It builds value for what each person brings to the team, even if they’ve never met face to face. With a little creativity and organizational support, we can get the job done even when we’re worlds apart.