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Mobile Workforce Management 101
Mobile Workforce Management 101
1
Managing the Output
Managers understand all too well how
employee relations, company cul...
Mobile Workforce Management 101
Managing the Output
Promoting Productivity
A Forbes Magazine article titled “4 Surprising ...
Mobile Workforce Management 101
Managing the Output
Tracking Productivity
The internet puts a huge arsenal of productivity...
Mobile Workforce Management 101
2
Managing the People
Managing a mobile workforce involves more
than just number-crunching...
Mobile Workforce Management 101
Managing the People
A Balancing Act
Studies from Stanford University and Pennsylvania
Stat...
Mobile Workforce Management 101
Managing the People
The main takeaway for this is the need for a stronger
company culture....
Mobile Workforce Management 101
Managing the People
What about control?
Organizational behavior and management
expert Char...
Mobile Workforce Management 101
3
Managing the Setup
As we mentioned in the previous parts of this
e-book, management is a...
Mobile Workforce Management 101
Managing the Setup
The Good
A telecommuting setup offers a company a lot of
potential perk...
Mobile Workforce Management 101
Managing the Setup
☼☼ Career path disadvantages. Some employees
feel that telecommuting ro...
Mobile Workforce Management 101
Managing the Setup
Final Thoughts
Telecommuting offers businesses so many
advantages, but ...
Mobile Workforce Management 101
Managing the Setup
METRO OFFICES
11710 Plaza America Drive, Suite 2000
Reston, VA 20190
(8...
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Mobile Workforce Management 101

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Telecommuting is a great way to maximize business resources, but it is a setup that requires careful management. Check out this e-book to learn more.

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Mobile Workforce Management 101

  1. 1. Mobile Workforce Management 101
  2. 2. Mobile Workforce Management 101 1 Managing the Output Managers understand all too well how employee relations, company culture and workplace dynamics affect a team’s productivity levels. For a manager tasked with handling a telecommuting team, the stakes are just as high but the landscape completely different. In a traditional office setting, you see your staff busy at their workstations, brainstorming with their colleagues or making small talk around the water cooler. Making sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing during office hours is a simple enough task. But how does promoting and tracking productivity change when you don’t see your team on a day-to-day basis?
  3. 3. Mobile Workforce Management 101 Managing the Output Promoting Productivity A Forbes Magazine article titled “4 Surprising Truths about Workplace Productivity” may have a couple of productivity tips you can capitalize on: ☼☼ Busywork thrills.ResearchersattheUniversityof California, Irvine found that even employees who prefer to be challenged at work subconsciously love rote tasks that require minimal brainwork— things like sorting through email, filling in trackers orevenjustorganizingtheirworkspaces.Busywork gives them a sense of accomplishment without overtaxing them, allowing them to stay productive without the risk of burnout. Management Tip: Give your teleworkers the chance to achieve this balance by assigning just enough major tasks to get them through the shift while still allowing space for minor busywork. ☼☼ Social media. Banning social media websites like Facebook and Twitter may seem like a no- brainer for a manager, but experts say such measures can actually be counterproductive. A 2013 survey by Ipsos and Microsoft revealed that 46% of employees believe access to social media and social media tools improved their productivity. Management Tip: The mental breaks and mood boosts provided by social media are valuable commodities. Think of social media as a tool rather than a drain on productivity.
  4. 4. Mobile Workforce Management 101 Managing the Output Tracking Productivity The internet puts a huge arsenal of productivity- tracking tools at your disposal—tools you can easily adapt to a fully mobile workforce or to a mixed group of office- and home-based employees. Time-tracking software like Time Doctor, for instance, allow you to monitor your team’s application and Internet usage, log work hours, and even record screenshots and keystrokes for each worker’s computer at specified intervals. The main argument against this type of tracking is that while it’s technologically feasible, it isn’t an accurate measure of productivity. To make sense of your team’s numerical tracking results, therefore, the Midwest Institute for Telecommuting Education recommends that you factor the following metrics into your productivity statistics: ☼☼ Quantity of work ☼☼ Deadline management ☼☼ Customer satisfaction ☼☼ Quality of work It is also important to minimize the gap between your in-office and mobile workplace processes as much as possible. For instance, if you use a combination of Skype and email to coordinate with your office staff, use the same channels for your teleworkers. This way, productivity can be evaluated objectively and efficiently.
  5. 5. Mobile Workforce Management 101 2 Managing the People Managing a mobile workforce involves more than just number-crunching. In Part One, we covered strategies for managing the output of a telecommuting team—that is, promoting and tracking productivity. But what about managing the people?
  6. 6. Mobile Workforce Management 101 Managing the People A Balancing Act Studies from Stanford University and Pennsylvania State University have found that people who work from home enjoy greater overall job satisfaction, better work-life balance and lower stress levels, all of which contribute to improved productivity. The benefits of teleworking for both companies and employees are manifold and well-documented. That said, managing a mobile workforce still remains a delicate balancing act between allowing the individual a greater measure of freedom and making sure that the in-office culture of engagement and collaboration extends to the telecommuting team. Experts believe that the key to this balancing act is a strong corporate identity. A Strong Corporate Identity There’s been an interesting trend among big-name businesses over the past couple of years: as small and midsize companies revamp their policies to accommodate telecommuting, many big businesses are doing the opposite and encouraging employees to get back to the office. Examples include Yahoo, Best Buy and Hewlett- Packard, all of which have either axed or revised their teleworking programs in favor of the more traditional office-based setup.The need for greater collaboration and innovation is the driving force behind this change, along with concerns over the disconnect between remote and in-house teams.
  7. 7. Mobile Workforce Management 101 Managing the People The main takeaway for this is the need for a stronger company culture.A successful organization is built on the sharing of common goals and visions among all team players. No matter where your employees are based, you need to pay attention to these two things: ☼☼ Frequent communication patterns. One of the biggest risks in telecommuting is the lack of communication between mobile and in-house employees. Such a breach can result in a failure to collaborate properly on mission-critical projects or—less tangibly but no less significantly—a loss of sense of purpose. Management Tip: Schedule regular in-person all- hands meetings to make sure everyone stays on the same page. ☼☼ Appropriate technology. As mentioned in Part One, you want your in-office work setup to be mirrored in your teleworkers’ remote workspaces as closely as possible. More importantly, you want an IT environment capable of supporting your remote team’s communication and collaboration needs. Management Tip: Cloud-based services are one of the best ways to streamline document storage and facilitate collaboration across the entire organization, independent of your work setup.
  8. 8. Mobile Workforce Management 101 Managing the People What about control? Organizational behavior and management expert Charles Handy raised this question in the May 1995 issue of Harvard Business Review: “How do you manage people whom you do not see?” The answer, he says, is by trusting them. This goes against the grain of managerial tradition, which is all about maximum efficiency brought about through maximum control. This is why a telecommuting setup is a challenge for many managers: to make it work, you need to learn to ease up on the individual reins while making sure nobody strays from the group’s main path. Management is a balancing act in more ways than one.
  9. 9. Mobile Workforce Management 101 3 Managing the Setup As we mentioned in the previous parts of this e-book, management is a balancing act— one that requires you to manage people along with their output. But mobile workforce management turns the balancing act into a juggling act by throwing a third object into the mix: the setup itself.
  10. 10. Mobile Workforce Management 101 Managing the Setup The Good A telecommuting setup offers a company a lot of potential perks, especially where human resources is concerned. It allows you to hire skilled workers from out of state without requiring them to switch zip codes. Research also shows that flexible work arrangements make for happier and more productive employees, lower attrition rates and significant savings on facilities costs. The Bad That said, teleworking setups come with their fair share of risks. We touched on productivity and company culture issues in Parts One and Two. Holes in security are another risk, but that is more an IT issue than a managerial one. For managers and their teams, the primary concerns unique to a work-from- home setup include: ☼☼ Isolation. Solitude more or less comes with the telecommuter’s territory. For some people, this is a good thing—it’s easier to focus on tasks without the distraction of water-cooler chats. But for workers whose jobs call for lots of collaboration and brainstorming, this can be a real disadvantage. Management Tip: Arrange a partial teleworking setup if possible. A happy medium would be having the employee work in the office for a few days each week and the rest from home.
  11. 11. Mobile Workforce Management 101 Managing the Setup ☼☼ Career path disadvantages. Some employees feel that telecommuting robs them of chances for career advancement, especially if they wish to continue with the setup long-term. This is partially true, as career paths that require strictly office- based work are shut off to teleworkers. Management Tip: Make it clear to your team that promotions are ultimately merit-based and that advancement opportunities will be open to deserving employees whether they work in the office or from home. ☼☼ Work-family balance. Telecommuting gives employees more time to spend with their families, but this creates new problems in the process. According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, teleworking reduces work-to- family conflict but increases the risk of family-to- work conflict. Management Tip: To minimize family-to-work conflict, instill a sense of accountability in each member of your remote team. Once tasks have been delegated, each employee must be able to manage his or her own responsibilities. Nobody gets the short end of the stick.
  12. 12. Mobile Workforce Management 101 Managing the Setup Final Thoughts Telecommuting offers businesses so many advantages, but its inherent limitations indicate that it is by no means the perfect alternative to a traditional office setup. Its suitability will depend on factors like your company’s existing facilities, the nature of your department’s work and individual workers’ idiosyncrasies. Ultimately, it can be a great supplement to your personnel strategy provided you create a solid but dynamic framework for it and master the principles of mobile workforce management.
  13. 13. Mobile Workforce Management 101 Managing the Setup METRO OFFICES 11710 Plaza America Drive, Suite 2000 Reston, VA 20190 (877) 697-7005 www.Metroffice.com

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