Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Introduction

Welcome to your online Working from Home - How to Manager Remotely course.

 

This course has been designed to teach you time-tested, practical skills and techniques which will give you the confidence and competence to manage your employees who work from home. You will learn how to exercise discipline, time management and communication skills. By the end of this course, you will have all the tools you need to successfully and efficiently manage your remote workers.


Let's look at your reasons for taking this course and what you hope to achieve from it.

 

Think through the reasons why you decided to take this course and then write down as specifically as you can what you hope to achieve from it.

 

You can use this list throughout the course as a way to mark your progress or refer back to it at the end to see if it has met your objectives.

 

This course is designed so you can choose how you would like to take it. You can take it all in one go or in stages - it's entirely up to you!

Chapter 2 - How To Be Disciplined When Working From Home

Some people are be able to work without interference and get lots done, whilst others, without people around you might go stir-crazy for social interaction. Procrastinators will love having the space but the lack of anyone telling you what to may affect your productivity massively.

 

What your team do when they have a written schedule given by you by your manager and when they are in front of you may be totally different from their activities when working remotely. This section focuses on the types of discipline that is needed to be able to work for long periods of time without supervision. It also sets out some of the key actions that you must employ with members of your team so that they can work in an organised way and not become overwhelmed.

 

  1. Ensure they have a system for reporting to and meeting with you. It is vital that if they are working on important projects or have communications with clients that your manager and colleagues are regularly updated with your progress.
  2. Make sure they have a routine that works for both of you. If they are a morning person, they should plan to get their key tasks done in the morning.
  3. Try to get them into planning their day the night before. Not just for work duties but also some household duties e.g. the ironing etc. This will ensure they avoid ‘finding something to do’ if they’re bored or if they get easily distracted. It’s easy for people to waste time on household chores because they seem more enjoyable than the job in hand.
  4. Ensure they have a timetable to work to that they can stick to it. You may be able to have a morning meeting with them and for both of you to agree the day’s priorities.
  5. Get them into the habit of writing down everything in a diary or some form of organiser
  6. Get them into the habit of prioritising their work schedules. The key priorities can be agreed with you at the start of the day or start of the week.
  7. Encourage your staff to have an effective filing system that they can use for organising their paperwork
  8. Train your staff to manage email and develop a system that allows them to clear their email inbox every night
  9. Ensure they have an efficient stock control system, so they don't run out of any paperwork, manuals, stationery etc
  10. If you meet regularly always discuss at least 80% of the next 4 week’s schedule. You will be able to pre-empt future problems, offer suggestions and ensure both of you can agree which tasks are vital to start and when.
  11. Encourage them to set their first task/priority the night before so you can wake up in the morning knowing what has to be done straight away.
  12. Ensure they get into a habit of setting daily/weekly targets that don’t overload them.

Chapter 3 - Time Management

Chapter 4 - Managerial Qualities

What are the qualities needed for "distance managers”?

 

Many managers are concerned about the unknown aspects of managing a team of teleworkers. A loss of control over daily tasks is a fear expressed by new managers to the role.

 

Many managers fall into the role of managing by "snooping around" and looking for things to control. They feel in control if all their staff are visibly placed in front of them and will rely on formal and informal communication to gather the information they feel they need. This flow of information can compensate for large gaps in good management practises. They are either incapable or unwilling to implement workable structures and procedures to ensure the work is done correctly.

 

It is important to recognise the most suitable characteristics which managers should be recruited for or possess before entering this type of role.

 

The first requisite is the willingness to contribute to the scheme and make it work. A job function as distance management carries with it many unknowns and it is essential to have a leader/ champion of the project to give it an upward stability and momentum. Below are listed the main characteristics which managers should possess

 

    • An ability to make and justify the right decisions

 

    • Trust in their staff

 

    • Ability to set clear goals and objectives

 

    • A willingness to delegate responsibility and follow it through

 

    • Project management/planning skills; for scheduling and time tabling work

 

    • Good communication skills

 

    • Good at motivating staff and encouraging independence/initiative

 

    • Flexibility about time use-even under conventional office structures

 

    • Assessing performance and giving constructive feedback

 

    • Results orientated rather than control orientated

 

The relationship between manger and worker is different to the conventional office-based worker. The manager must initiate a higher level of trust between themselves and their team members for it to work successfully, a lack of trust even when the staff are highly experienced and qualified can lead to resentment and demotivation. This means acquiring new skills and becoming a better manager of people than of processes.

 

The setting of objectives becomes much more important and people must think very carefully of the what they want their staff to do, how they deliver the information and what are the implications of any objectives given. Managers may have to act as a vital link between members of the new workforce and also the bridge between them and the core organisation. The manager has also to give more support than previously offered in an office environment.

 

The new processes can quickly show up a manager’s deficiencies and weakness which is why they need as much as a support programme as the workers themselves.

 

For the process to work it is essential that managers undergo training to develop the skills needed on a regular basis to reinforce the best practices.

 

An element of the training should include a training needs analysis so benchmarks can be set, and progress regularly monitored. This will help in the evaluation of the scheme and the right practises for future training and focus.

 

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