Managing Telecommuters

Personal computers, modems, and the Internet have made it possible for a growing percentage of the workforce to work from home. Telecommuting is particularly popular with part-time employees who may have more than one job, mothers who want to remain on the job while raising small children, and those who would just rather not deal with the hassle of a commute on a daily basis.

This new cyber workforce creates new challenges for today's leaders. It is difficult to ensure that employees with no immediate supervision will actually perform as well as employees in a typical work environment.

Give these employees a sense of teamwork and accountability in the following ways:

  • Send e-mail and make regular telephone calls to keep the employee in the loop.

  • Include these remote staffers in group meetings. Most conference rooms are now equipped with speakerphones. However, if geographically possible, ask your telecommuters to come in to the office for departmental meetings and other important events.

  • Establish clear measures of success, since you can't be there to look over the shoulder of someone who is working from home.

  • Request a weekly report from your at-home workers each Friday to keep up with what they've been working on.

 

Plain English : A telecommuter is an employee who works from home, often linked to a central office by computer.