5 Essential Tips for Managing Teleworkers

Last Updated May 31, 2010 11:51 PM EDT

According to Wikipedia, as many as 50 million people work from home at least part time. So chances are that if you manage people, you have at least one teleworker among your ranks.

How do you handle your telworking work force? If you manage them more or less the same as your in-office staff, you could be missing some real opportunities to optimize your management style. Keep reading, because I've got a few tips for how to manage your teleworkers.


These tips courtesy of WebWorkerDaily, which recently covered 7 tips for managing a remote work force. Here are the highlights:

1. Communicate your expectations in writing. When your workers are in the office, it's easy to fill in the details in an ad hoc manner as issues arise. With teleworkers, every communication is slightly more laborious -- so define the project and deliverables in as much detail as possible right front.

2. Offer a bonus or other incentives for early completion. This advice usually applies mainly to vendors, but there's no reason you can't use t for ordinary team members as well. The disconnectedness of working remotely can be mitigated significantly with small but smart rewards for getting projects completed before deadlines.

3. Conduct regular check-ins. WebWorkerDaily suggests daily IM, voice, or video chats to kick off the day. Every other day or even weekly might be fine, but no matter how you slice it, be sure you stay in contact frequently enough that everyone is in sync and feels connected to you and the overall project. There's nothing worse than working from home, and feeling like you're the lone survivor of some sort of zombie apocalypse. Frequent check-ins are the antidote.

4. Address problems right away. Any issue -- even a very small one -- can bring a remote worker to a screeching halt. You might have a rhythm of addressing questions and problems from team members at the end of the day, but that won't cut it when you have folks working remotely. Get used to responding much more quickly.

5. Design KPIs for your remote workers. Do you use KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure the effectiveness of your in-office staff? I'm guessing that yes, you have some. The same KPIs may apply to your remote workers and if so, go ahead and apply them. If not, design some new KPIs that you can measure success of your at-home team members.

We've got more! Be sure to check out 3 other tips for effectively managing teleworkers.

Photo by el clinto