Working Remotely: The Era of the Portable Office and How to Manage It

July 18, 2018
Working Remotely: The Era of the Portable Office and How to Manage It

If you have sales reps working remotely, it's important to keep these ideas in mind.

As technology progresses, expands, and improves upon itself everyday in the modern era, so does the world around it. As expected, the workplace has been evolving with the times. “Working from home” seemed to be too good to be true. But with the advent of the internet (let’s begin with the obvious), drive technology, lightning fast telecommunications and several other innovations; it is well within grasp for many people.

Approximately 43% of employed Americans stated they have had some experience working remotely according to an article by Niraj Chokshi of the New York Times. This presents an exciting new level of work-life balance for career-people. Whether they have children, travel, fall ill or any number of other reasons, they don't have to miss as much work.

However, as the option presents itself to more and more employees across different industries, the question is how does one manage employees they do not see?

How to Effectively Manage Sales Reps that are Working Remotely:

Face to Face:

In addition to the extremely popular Facetime feature on Apple products, coworkers can simulate face to face interaction. If an employer wants to check in on an employee for any reason, Facetime makes it more possible than ever. Additionally, Google Hangout and Skype make it possible for multiple coworkers to have a pseudo-meeting as one would in a normal workday.

Delegate Specific Tasks:

In order to keep any miscommunication at bay, managers of remote employees should be as direct as possible when delegating tasks to their subordinates. A key way to do this is to draft a list of checkpoints and tasks as well as any meetings or phone calls you or a client may need to have with them. They can either schedule according to what works for them, or the manager could draft up a loose schedule. Time blocking is key!

Progress Reports:

The importance of progress reports is tenfold when a manager is not in the same space as their employees. Remote employees are certainly obligated to not only complete their work, but also keep their boss posted as they complete it. While remote employment has and is continuing to grow, it is not appropriate in all industries. The ideas of both progress reports and personal reflection of the employee on the effectiveness of their work out-of-office are key to be able to decide its future.

Working remotely opens a lot of doors of possibility for businesses in all industries. It maintains the productive value of employees that are sick while a project is underway or any number of hypothetical scenarios. And with telecommunication ever-evolving, being “out of office” is becoming more and more arbitrary. It is just as easy to communicate digitally as in person. Managers simply need to be more conscious of their employee’s progress when working remotely in order to ensure that this new opportunity is not being taken advantage of.

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Peter Samaras is enrolled in the Gabelli School of Business class of 2020. He is pursuing a degree in Business Administration with interests in financial services, marketing, and business development. For any further inquiries, contact him at his email: psamaras@fordham or on LinkedIn.

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