Yahoo and Best Buy recently put an end to their remote work programs; however, these moves are the exception. The trend toward virtual, or remote, “employees” continues to grow. Various surveys suggest that about 30 to 46 percent of all companies have at least some contractors, freelancers, or remote workers who rarely, if ever, come into the office.
This places a greater need for human resources departments to handle the challenge of managing a remote workforce. Automation and a different set of expectations will be part of the solution. This will include producing more results-driven performance analysis.
Managing remote isn’t a skill you can pick up on as you go. The trend toward remote workers is a growing challenge to managers who are not effective in managing people at a distance.
Companies need to develop their current managers as well as look to hire managers that know how to effectively manage remote employees. Knowing what criteria to use in selecting a manager for a virtual team is critical. In your selection process you should consider whether the candidate has a proven track record and demonstrates the following:
- Good communication skills — using digital services and the phone — are a must.
- A strong teamwork ethos.
- Reliability. When the manager says they will do something, they do. This builds trust based on performance reliability, and trust has been described as the single-most-important component of virtual team management
- Motivation and reward is even more important for virtual managers to ensure workers don’t feel overlooked or marginalized.
- Previous remote work experience. If they’ve ever been a remote worker themselves they’ll have an appreciation of the advantages as well as the downside to telework. That perspective can help them connect with their virtual team.
Here is an interesting article that speaks to this in more detail: 6 Specifics to Look for When Hiring Managers for Virtual Teams. I highly suggest looking it over, good information.