Even though remote work and virtual teams are regular features of the modern workplace, many managers still find themselves uncomfortable overseeing such arrangements. Their main concern: will productivity drop once an employee is set up outside the office?
The truth, however, is that with the right tools and guidelines, remote workers are often just as productive as employees who remain onsite. Dell, which currently has 25% of its employees working virtually either full- or part-time, has seen no loss of productivity, and perhaps even a gain.
They may not recognize it, but most organizations are already working virtually, even when employees are in the office. Every day, people interact with colleagues on another floor or in a regional office.
“Whether we’re nine feet, nine floors or nine time zones away, we’re working virtually. The employees have already left the building,” Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, told CNN Money.
Fortunately, managers already have several tools at their disposal to manage teams and ensure their work is getting done. The key is to measure progress just as you would with office-based teams. Most managers are already familiar with these five performance metrics. Here’s how they apply to virtual teams.
Each year, your business invests significant time and resources in creating strategic plans and setting key performance indicators. These define the expected end results of work. Although KPIs such as sales, customer satisfaction and customer retention are usually quantitative, they ultimately measure the quality and effectiveness of employees.
Managers interpret KPIs and set goals for their team to meet their targets. One way to be sure your virtual team stays on track is to establish interim milestones and then hold the team accountable for reaching them. Continually missing deadlines may be an indication of low productivity.
Each employee should have a performance management plan with SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Oriented, Time-Bound) objectives. With these objectives clearly articulated, employees – wherever they work – will know exactly what targets they need to meet. When remote workers consistently meet or exceed their objectives, managers can be confident they’re working at an acceptable level of productivity.
Process Rules & Guidelines
Projects run more smoothly when expectations are clear, and that includes day-to-day processes. Specific guidelines eliminate uncertainty, writes Keith Ferrazzi, CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, a research-based consulting and training company, in Harvard Business Review. When processes are spelled out in concrete detail – how approvals happen, how long each stage of a project should take – managers gain more metrics with which to assess their team’s productivity. To ensure teams stick to the processes, measure each step and hold members accountable.
Regular status meetings, both as a group and one-to-one, keep projects on track. But managers should also measure the quality and quantity of communications. For example, productivity and the quality of decision-making is reduced when team members multi-task during calls. Because video conferences tend to be more efficient, establish a benchmark for the percentage of meetings held by video.
At the same time, be sure to optimize the communications process and provide remote workers with the right tools. For example, web chat can be a valuable, virtual “water cooler” and can lead to greater innovation, faster decisions and real-time problem solving activities. Or, a unified communications system with an agenda tool can help improve meeting efficiency by making it easy to track time spent on each discussion item.
These quantitative metrics will help you evaluate the productivity of your virtual team, but it’s important not to lose sight of other, less tangible measures. The productivity of remote workers can be higher because they don’t have to deal with the stress of fighting long commutes or dealing with distractions in the office. This means they may have more energy and be more focused than their colleague in the office.
Remember, whatever can be measured can be managed - including employees.
Learn more about ShoreTel’s unified communications solutions.
Publish Date: March 28, 2017 5:00 AM
Agara is an autonomous virtual voice agent powered by Real-time Voice AI. It is designed to have intelligent conversations with your customers, vendors, and partners without any assistance from human agents. It can handle a wide variety of calls including inbound customer care calls, outbound lead generation calls, appointment scheduling calls, and overdue payment recovery calls.
Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.
EVA Voice Biometrics
Powered by Auraya's patented ArmorVox engine, EVA is a voice biometric extension that provides secure and seamless identification & verification capabilities for Amazon Connect. EVA provides delightful customer experience by removing the friction of providing PINs, passwords or secret information in order to prove caller identity. EVA comes standard with active and passive modes and a simple yet powerful agent interface. This allows for personalised self-service and a more friendly and efficient experience when interacting with an agent.
Outdated security methods such as PINs, passwords and security questions have become insecure and unreliable. Forgetting passwords and security answers o...
UniCloud™ is an intuitive platform that allows Enterprises to deploy and manage their Unified Communication (UC) and Contact Center (CC) services with ease and entire provisioning can be completed in seconds using this comprehensive tool supporting digital transformation. The latest release 7.0 of UniCloud™ is a multi-tenant platform that transforms the delivery, management, and integration of collaboration and contact center solutions, for both Cloud and On-Premise deployment models.
With its single-pane-of-glass views and quick provisioning tool, UniCloud™ is instrumental in reducing the time to provision an entire multi-cluster Cisco collaboration platform, including contact centers (C...
Proven, Easy, and Guided Journey to Automate Customer Engagement in a Digital+AI World
Automated Language Testing
Emmersion offers automated assessments to quickly and accurately test speaking, writing, and grammar fluency in 9 languages and counting. We help contact centers improve CSAT scores by screening for top talent and retaining top performers.
SPEED & PLUS
The SPEED solution solves for service level issues while cost optimizing the environment with automation.
Provides an enhanced way to speed up & optimize invoking temporary agent skills configuration changes into the contact center environment.
Speed allows you to schedule both future changes & temporary changes that auto-revert back to the original state when scheduled time expires.
*Automated / Scheduled Temporary Agent Skills Configuration Management
*Immediate Temporary or Reoccurring Schedule Skills Configuration Changes
*Easy to Use/Operations Administration Focused
*Descriptive Monitoring Activity Dashboard
*Detailed “End to End’ Audit Trail and Perfor...
|What’s Next in Call Recording?||September 5, 2017 5:00 AM|
|6 Easy Steps for Moving Your Phone System to the Cloud||August 24, 2017 5:00 AM|
|How a Good Phone System Can Increase Business Agility||August 17, 2017 5:00 AM|
|Does Your Phone System Help or Hinder Employee Productivity?||August 3, 2017 5:00 AM|
|The Cost of a Misspelled Name||July 12, 2017 5:00 AM|
|Summit App Challenge Demonstrates Ease of Building Voice & SMS Apps||June 27, 2017 5:00 AM|
|How to Run Effective Virtual Meetings||June 15, 2017 5:00 AM|
|G’Day ShoreTel Connect CLOUD||June 14, 2017 5:00 AM|
|ShoreTel’s Heather Tenuto Honored with CRN Women of the Channel Award||June 1, 2017 5:00 AM|
|Maximizing Your Contact Center: 5 Questions to Ask||May 18, 2017 5:00 AM|