Guidelines for Managing by Results

Supervising teleworkers takes a specialized set of skills. The following are some adjustments you may need to make in adapting to this new way of managing:

  • Maintain a sense of control even when people are out of sight.
  • Develop increased levels of trust and use trust as a purposeful tool.
  • Use technology for staying in touch with teleworkers.
  • Rethink and redesign the way certain jobs are performed.
  • Plan meetings and other team activities further in advance.
  • Focus objectives and expectations on short-term, project-based goals.
  • Adopt location-independent ways of measuring performance and results.
  • Transition teamwork toward more electronic-based collaboration.

Here are some management guidelines that can help ensure a successful telework program:

  • Managing teleworkers by close, constant supervision isn't possible or desirable. Instead, manage primarily on the basis of results.
  • Discuss in advance what you expect from teleworkers and be certain they understand the criteria you will be using to rate their performance.
  • Track progress by results.
  • Be certain that teleworkers understand the deadlines for assignments and the resources required to meet them.
  • Use planning skills to effectively distribute work so that off-site and on-site personnel are treated equally.
  • Establish a regular means of communication to help clarify work expectations, deadlines, questions and important office developments.
  • Set up a regular schedule of progress reviews.
  • Use your time spent with telework employees to coach and help develop their capabilities. Quickly reinforce positive behavior and bring unsatisfactory performance to the employee's attention. Maintain contact with off-site staff via voice mail, electronic mail and teleconferences, to provide timely, ongoing feedback.
  • If the arrangement isn't working out, it is OK to drop out of the program. Telework offers numerous benefits, but is not ideal for every job or every employee.