cloud_handshakeMy experience working in a remote setup begun in March 2014 where I monitored over 40 computer-networking devices that enabled over 3,000 students access information from the main server in University set-up. I ensured there was very minimal or no downtime of these devices. I developed a network diagram; list of the IP addresses that I could ping and also used Nagios to ensure all the devices were up and running all the time. There was no time to wait for the remote teams to call and say their devices were down, I always called first to ask why they hadn’t switched on the devices. We could then further check if it was technical or software problem; in-order-to handle it together as networking team as fast as possible to get the activities of the students back to normal. This made our work easier as we enjoyed our coffee breaks without any interruptions. We used hand-held devices to keep us updated since the university had wireless connections all over.

Since joining American Express Foundation in June 2015, it has been the reverse as I have been a remote worker. I operate from Washington DC while my bosses are based in New York City. I have also enjoyed working virtually with over 2,500 Alumni of the American Express Leadership Academy from across the globe in nine countries: Japan, UK, India, Mexico, Canada, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, & USA. The journey has been very successful but it doesn’t come without; hard work, dedication, discipline, trust, communication, and being well organized.

The reason why I’m passionate about this topic is because I would like to help people understand that it is possible to have flexible work options where employees work two to three days a week from home or virtually from a remote location and still meet the expectations of their organization. Some employees concentrate more and work better in different locations as compared to being in the actual office.

Remote worker requires tech tools to facilitate their work. In this century, we all require Internet connections, right technological tools, laptops, portable computers devices, and proper guidelines that ensure we perform our office tasks. This makes it possible to achieve successful remote setup. Given a laptop, I can walk into any place with WIFI connection in Washington, D.C. and do my work pretty well. We have access to cloud computing, thanks to the free Google drive that makes storage and easy access possible. We can save work that is accessible by the supervisors in charge. The world has changed so much – we have the best technologies to help us achieve this!

I have a few tips that can help manage remote employees and here they are:

  • Develop a habit of saying hello to your employees in the morning. It can be the opening line of an email:
    • I hope you are well today!
    • I hope you had a great weekend!
    • How are you doing today?

This has helped me understand that my employer not only cares about work but also my personal feelings. It has also enabled me to trust my supervisor more and be able to share more about my family.

  • Have weekly conference calls; this could be via phone, Skype, Google hangout or any over video chat technology. This will help you strengthen one-on-one connection with your employees. We all need this kind of relationship in our work place.
  • Give feedback as much as possible. I figured out responses like; thanks, good job, keep up the good work, received after sending email make much more difference. One always feels like the supervisor is acknowledging their hard work.
  • Bring your employees together at least once a year to meet face to face. This provides an opportunity for employees to interact and discuss with each other what their working condition feels like. I enjoyed this on April 4-5, 2016 when I met 50 Alumni of American Express Leadership Academy during the Second Annual Global Alumni Summit.

I would like to conclude by saying that you don’t need any unique and sophisticated technology to monitor your remote employees. It starts by building a rapport and trust will come. Once you achieve this, you will create a very strong remote team of experts to help you achieve your organization’s goals!

Do you want to learn more from the expert? Talk to Dan Friday on LinkedIn.

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