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5 Techniques to Help Manage Employees in Other Locations

Written by Dave Seiler, Chief Operating Officer

Since joining First Business, as well as in my prior work life, I have had the opportunity to manage employees or teams who work in different locations. First BuDave Candidsiness is investing in smart growth, and, as a result, our staff has grown in the last five years, with several locations throughout the country and remote employees, as well.

As our company grows, many of us will be required to manage employees who work in other locations. Over time, I developed a few techniques that help me be more effective and hopefully help employees with whom I work feel more connected to the organization. The following are some techniques or strategies that have worked well for me:

• Set up regularly scheduled meetings via phone or video conference, and prepare agendas that cover all topics you’ll discuss ahead of time. Regularly scheduled 1:1 meetings are important for all managers. These meetings are even more important when you don’t work in the same location as your team member because you don’t have the benefit of informal updates and other communication that occurs when you’re in the same office.

• Use the phone, instant messaging, and emails to communicate regularly outside of scheduled 1:1 meetings.

• Set expectations and communicate them clearly. There are not as many chances to provide additional feedback, so it is important to communicate clearly when you have the opportunity.

• Encourage employees to reach out to you as needed. Being available and responsive via phone, instant message, or email is particularly important when managing from afar. Use instant messaging software to let co-workers know when you are available and how to contact you on a day-to-day basis.

• Make the most of in-person visits. When traveling to other locations, maximize face-to-face time with as many people as possible. In-person communication is critical to building relationships.

Do other tips work for you? Our team is interested in process improvement and welcome your ideas that facilitate open communication and productivity across multiple locations. Let us know.

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