Leading Today’s Telecommuting Mobile Workforce

mobile workforceSome of our first insights of the future of telecommuting came by way of Hanna-Barbera’s Mr. Spacely’s wonderful treatment of the inept George Jetson and his R.U.D.I screen. Not exactly today’s Face Time but R.U.D.I. or the "Referential Universal Differential Indexer" was for George, a step in that direction. Mr. Spacely, with the help of his right hand robot, Uniblab, always managed his telecommuting employee, George, the same, he fired him. Mr. Spacely’s management skills although lacking in leadership or any assemblage of etiquette was concise and bold to a point. Two things in Mr. Spacely’s favor, you knew were he stood and exactly what he expected. Developing leadership and managing a mobile workforce starts with clear communication and specific goals that encourage and build a team with a common objective.

Communication – phones, e-mail, Instant Messaging, Virtual media, Go-to-Meeting, Web Conference, Skype, Face Time  

There is no shortage in ways to keep in contact with a mobile workforce and for the latter there is no real way to hide as well. Messages sent on multiple platforms can not be easily ignored or intentionally forgotten. Team leaders can keep in contact with their entire mobile force and schedule times and media devices so that when a group is needed to convene, it is not only possible but convenient for all members of that specific team. Daily interactive messages from leaders to their team members can keep a team on specific time frame and reach their objectives set. Team members' accountability for participation and engagement is also critical if the mobile and distant work force is going to succeed. Leaders and members must develop a consistent conversation etiquette that keeps their group informed and updated but falls short of blowing up the team members' phone.

Goals – Precise, Consistent, Clear  

Team goals need to be set early in the process or success from a mobile workforce will be erratic at best. Without a precise, clear and attainable goal for your mobile workforce in place, your teams’ efforts can not be tracked. If you cannot track your metrics then it is almost always impossible to determine if you are successful.  Detailed protocols that arrive around your set goals include: deadlines, R.O.I. Sales or lead Numbers, etc. must be in place and fairly enforced for the entire group. These goals must be attainable, set high but not out of sight.

Teamwork – Face-to-Face, Celebrate, Fun and Creative

Building an effective mobile working team can have a far reaching positive effect on all aspects of a company. An energetic and knowledgeable work force that is delighted as well will put a very positive spin that is felt through the company and the profits that are generated. It’s not always possible to meet your mobile employees in face-to-face scenarios but this should be tried at least twice a year. Companies need to allocate realistic budgets so that team members can reach their goals. Regularly scheduled team events such as celebrations, conferences or seminars establish trust and go a long way to delight your mobile workforce.

As companies look to reach worldwide and set their sights on a global community, their work force and the hours they set have become more than the standard hours of 9-5. Telecommuting has stretched the work force and the managers guiding them to meet these goals.

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