Today’s office doesn’t look the same as it did years ago. With more employees than ever working from home or in the field, the days of everyone sitting at a desk in the office might seem like a different era. Business practices change with our work methods. Doing what it takes to serve customers, manage accounts or complete a sale can mean being away from the office for periods of time.
If you manage employees outside the usual setting, it means that you, as a company leader, need to adapt, too. You’ll have to think differently about how you track productivity and help employees achieve objectives, even if they are not in the office with you. Below are a few tips you might consider to help you manage your staff whether in the office, at home or out in the field.
Time-tracking software is designed to give employees the ability to clock in and out wherever they may be. A GPS time clock stamps a time and location so you know where your staff is working from. You’ll be able to track when and where your team members are the most productive and get an idea of what projects take a majority of their time.
Activity Monitoring Tools
An activity log can be digital or on paper, but either way, it’s a tool to help you and your staff meet predetermined objectives. You can meet individually with employees, setting up a project plan, goal or quota, and they can use the system to monitor accomplishments and deadlines as they progress. You can use an activity monitoring system to identify the tasks that are the most and least productive. One example is tracking sales conversions made in a week.
What day has the highest number? Are mornings more successful than afternoons? The answers to these kinds of questions can help you find patterns and improve sales.
Some digital activity monitoring tools track tasks automatically. They can eliminate errors and bias in self-reporting and let you see what websites and apps employees rely on the most.
Tracking and monitoring tools are beneficial, but the best way for you to get a picture of your staff’s day-to-day routine is to accompany them. Consider shadowing employees occasionally so you can gain an understanding of what they experience.
Some employees may not be forthcoming about their daily challenges and successes, and they could have various reasons for this. Perhaps they are afraid to communicate challenges because they think they’re supposed to handle them on their own. They may also be reluctant to talk about successes if they are concerned colleagues will react in a negative way. Maybe they just don’t have the time to give you a play-by-play of their daily routine. No matter what, working alongside your staff can help you identify roadblocks and celebrate the small wins. Your deeper understanding of their jobs will help you develop a rapport with your workers.
Information From Others
Talking to the people your staff interacts with can give you a fresh perspective on their work. While you don’t want to erode trust by spying on your staff, you can ask colleagues, vendors, clients or other managers about their interactions with employees. Keep it from becoming personal by directing the conversation to focus on tasks and not the people themselves. Also, take what you hear with a grain of salt, as individual bias can easily enter the conversation. Talking to third parties can be a delicate situation, but when handled correctly, it can give you a new angle on your staff’s performance.
It can be a challenge to keep up with your workers when they spend time out of your sight. You may have to experiment a little to find what approaches work best for you and your team. Try a few strategies and keep the lines of communication open with your staff, and you’ll soon find the best way to handle new management challenges.