My first job promotion to supervisor was 20 years ago. There was no working from home (telework) policy. Some employees seemed liked they were teleworking. For example, a person may have had a geographic area to cover. Sometimes this person was at the “central office” to do their job. At other times the employee went into the “field” to provide services or sales.
Reasons to Offer Telecommuting To Employees
But a lot has changed since then like videoconferencing to help with supervision. Companies have a desire to keep employees that are skilled for a long time for many reasons:
- Saves money because of greater retention rates
- Promotes employee satisfaction with the company and increase productivity and
- Saves the environment by reducing commuting to work in cars.
Tips to Supervise Telecommuters
So what do you do if you supervise people on a telework schedule? According to the Forbes Coaching Counsel article, there are many ways to make it work. Here are some of the tips I want to highlight.
- Tip 1 – Set clear expectations. Performance management is a continuous process to reinforce the expectations. Your goal is that each employee understands and can meet the expectations. It might seem like common sense but “when” the work is done is part of setting the expectation. The telework schedule is set based on when customers and other staff are available. Working at 10 PM at night when a customer is not available will not yield the results for you, the employee or the company.
- Tip 2 – Remember the person is working locally. This means that as a supervisor you take the steps to be make yourself available to connect with the employee. Outlook and Google calendars are tools to help make this happen. A supervisor can look at the employee’s calendar and invite the employee based on their availability. This helps the telecommuting employees from feeling forgotten or left out because they don’t work at the main office.
- Tip 3 – Engage with telecommuters regularly. It’s easier than you think. A supervisor and employee can communicate by telephone, video conferencing and in person. You can meet locally and in the main office. In the case when the teleworker’s office is out of their home, plan to meet at the coffee shop, library or other space.
- Tip 4 – The fourth tip Forbes offers is video coaching. Coaching is a way to support an employee to be their best. But it doesn’t work for everyone. I suggest that you try video coaching one-to-one first, because using technology can be stressful. Then the coaching you want to give to the employee may suffer. Try out the tutorials that many conferencing platforms offer. I’ve tried Zoom, Uberconference, GoToMeeting, Meeting Burner and Skype. Because I tried out all of these, I am better at it and more comfortable. And I use the free version of videoconference for coaching. It lets you video coach for up to 40 minutes at a time. When you ready, expand the video coaching to the team.
I encourage you to take a look at the Forbes article for many more tips. The bottom line is that a supervisor can effectively supervise teleworkers. You just need to redefine how you do it, get some practice and be willing to reflect on your own performance as a supervisor.