Managers in companies who are just beginning to allow staff members to work from home often have a lot of questions on how to transition to the different working environment. Among other things, remote work means communication between managers and team members changes significantly. In addition, project or team leaders will need to employ different methods to ensure that employees are working as efficiently as possible in order to meet corporate goals.
Of course, just because companies decide to allow their staff members to work from home, doesn’t mean either party should assume that face-to-face meetings have been abandoned. There still will be times when the best way to serve a company and its clients is through a more traditional meeting that takes place in an office environment.
The Right Amount to Meet
There really is no definitive number of times a project leader or manager should meet face-to-face with their staff members in a given period. Some team members may have worked remotely for another employer and feel very comfortable working from home. Others may need a bit more training up front to feel comfortable working independently.
At least initially, managers may need to meet more often with staff until everyone is on board and understands in practical terms, how their remote work environment will actually function. As everyone becomes more comfortable and productive, the need for face-to-face time will likely decrease.
So how to determine if traditional meetings are taking place often enough? A key measurement as to whether a project leader or manager is physically meeting with their personnel in just the right amount, is whether or not project or corporate goals are being met. If clients are satisfied, staff members are productive, and goals are being accomplished, then it’s likely communication requirements are being met.
Of course, working environments are dynamic environments and there will always be circumstances that will require more interaction between team members and their managers. Consider the following examples under which a company may want schedule face-to-face meetings more frequently.
Expect the Unexpected
Managers relying on alternative forms of communication such as email, texts, phone calls or video conferences should ensure these types of communication are used in an organized and consistent manner. Once both employers and employees know all the regular forms of information dissemination, they will be able to recognize an unexpected issue that is better resolved by a face-to-face meeting.
Some staff members will feel very comfortable working remotely while others may need a bit more personal interaction to work as part of a team. Managers need to be able to “read” their various team members in order to determine which employees will be able to deliver results with little supervision, and those who may need a more traditional connection through the use of office meetings, or perhaps regular meetings over coffee.
There will be times when it’s more efficient for remote workers to gather in a more traditional office setting. Important events that are often better served by staff members working directly together include, launching a large new project, introducing a new product or service, or a significant change in the direction of a team or the entire company.
Think Out of the Box
Managers who supervise a group of remote workers over a large region, may want to consider if it would be more efficient if they traveled to each individual remote worker for scheduled meetings, rather than assuming individual staff members must travel to corporate headquarters. Having management travel across a region may be a more cost-efficient method when face-to-face interaction is required.
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