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5 Resources For Managing From Afar

Your expectations as a manager won’t change just because your employees don’t work in the same building, so you should know how to communicate and manage effectively regardless of location.

Make sure you’re prepared for managing employees you don’t see face-to-face with a little help from Kelly Pate Dwyer’s "Ten Tools For Remote Teams."

Instant messenger. It might seem unprofessional to encourage "chatting," but when it comes to immediate feedback and a more conversational feel, instant messenging might be a good option. Find a program that supports multiple IM clients -- and make sure you have separate screen names for personal and business use, suggests Dwyer.

Web conference. If you want the ultimate meeting experience with remote employees, you might want to consider a website or software program that supports real-time online meetings. Many of these programs, such as NetMeeting, allow you to share documents and presentations as well.

Wiki or ftp site. One of the biggest challenges when it comes to employees who work remotely is how to read, exchange and update shared files. A Wiki, or a website on which all users with access can update and edit the shared content, is one possible solution. You should also consider an ftp site, to which employees can upload large files that others with access can then download. The ftp site is a good way to eliminate emails with large attachments that clog up your email server, says Dwyer.

Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). This tool is especially useful if you travel constantly in your own work on top of managing employees remotely. A PDA keeps you connected all the time and often includes phone, email, Internet, and calendars all in one device.

Collaborative software. If you need to give employees access to the same software applications and documents, you might need a program that allows workspace exchange, such as Microsoft SharePoint. This also eliminates problems that occur due to different software versions..


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