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Face Value: CIOs cite communication as greatest challenge in managing remote teams

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Face Value: CIOs cite communication as greatest challenge in managing remote teams

For technology professionals who work remotely, out of "site" isn't necessarily out of mind.

According to a new survey by Robert Half Technology, nearly one-third of US CIOs said communication is their greatest challenge in managing a remote workforce. Productivity and technology challenges followed, each cited by 22% of respondents.

"As remote work arrangements become increasingly popular, managers are often concerned that camaraderie and collaboration could suffer due to lack of regular, in-person interaction," said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. "Even senior executives in a technology-forward department like IT can feel disconnected from remote teams because of limited face time with staff and lack of visibility into how work is being accomplished."

"Even senior executives in a technology-forward department like IT can feel disconnected from remote teams."

The report offered four tips for technology executives to manage remote teams effectively:

  • Outline expectations. Tell remote employees how often you'd like them to check in by phone or email. Let them know you expect them to be reachable during office hours. Also, set clear goals and benchmarks to help mobile workers stay on track with objectives.
  • Leverage technology tools. Make sure remote employees have access to the right communication tools. Teleconferencing, online meeting and file-sharing services foster collaboration among remote teams. Confirm that everyone can stay in touch easily and access the information they need quickly and securely.
  • Create opportunities for face time. To help remote workers stay connected, request that they work on-site a few times a month, if possible. Encourage them to attend important events and meetings in person, as appropriate. Also, use videoconferencing tools to promote virtual face-to-face interaction with off-site staff.

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  • Check in with remote employees regularly. Remote work arrangements afford flexibility but they can blur the lines between work and personal life. Some employees who work from home have trouble 'unplugging.' Encourage them to create balance, which, ultimately, aids productivity in the long term.

 

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