If you are managing a mobile workforce it is tempting to become a micromanager. The mobile workforce is a beautiful thing when it works well, but if you have a situation where you feel you cannot trust your mobile workforce then negativity will set in and they will begin to resent you as a manager. There is a way around this, and many mobile workforce managers are now looking at new ways of viewing their workforce and of communicating with them. This new direction allows them to feel comfortable with people who are out of the office and working, and confident that targets can be met. This article will look at a few issues around this area.
The first thing the mobile workforce manager has to do is to relax. Studies have shown that a mobile workforce is actually usually more productive than a workforce in the actual workplace. This is because they have fewer constraints on their freedom and feel more creative. The mobile worker also feels more responsible because they are out of the office. So the mobile workforce manager has to remember that they are not being realistic when they view the mobile workforce as possibly a slacker workforce. This is not the case, and many managers are finding that they become the most productive part of an organisation.
The mobile workforce manager can then ensure that communication is managed properly by allowing for the proper technology to be in place. This means investing in videoconferencing as well as other aspects of communication, including instant messaging applications on smartphones that are powerful and effective. As long as privacy and data protection is taken care of, you can have a workforce that is able to stay in touch with the manager and also feel more confident that they can contact people in the team quickly and easily.
Goalposts and parameters
Bear in mind, as a manager, that you can set the goalposts and the parameters when it comes to communication. Your mobile workers will trust you if they know that they are meant to speak to you at a certain time in the month, for example. If you are able to leave them alone for the rest of the month, this will build in respect, and allow them to get on with producing work that is of high quality. Arrange for regular rigid communication practices, and you will find that this will enable the mobile workforce to feel more confident and focus himself or herself on producing good work.
As long as the mobile workforce manager relaxes, introduces effective means of technology in communication, and works hard to maintain rigourous communication practices, there is no reason why the mobile workforce manager shouldn’t feel more relaxed and more confident in the abilities and the output of his workforce. It is easy to become concerned and to feel that you are out of control, but putting the above practices in place should take care of that problem, and allow the workforce to concentrate on getting some good work done.