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3 Challenges Managers Face in Handling 'On-the-Move' Employees

Technology has become an integral and an unavoidable part of our life. It has proliferated different aspects of our lives be it personal or professional. Technology has made our work a lot easier.

Technology has proliferated all aspects of our lives – be it personal or professional. You're just a FaceTime away from your friend across the globe or a ping away from your boss sitting in a different time zone! While geographical boundaries have increased among us, the umpteen modes of communication have brought us disturbingly close. The 21st century workplace has also seen a shift.

Employees today are no longer chained to their desks around the clock, but have the flexibility to move around offices, work remotely few days a week or telecommute perpetually. The flexible work alternative remains just an attractive 'option' at the moment. Organizations who allow their employees to work remotely face an uphill task when it comes in managing them.

What are the major issues that managers’ face when dealing with mobile workers and how can it be solved?


  • Staying Connected: Managers need to understand whether they're supervising structured or unstructured work and tailor their supervision style to the mobile worker's working style. Some decision makers like CEOs/management staff like to hold 'Town Hall' meetings where they meet with a cross-section of employees from different departments and cities. Others may stay in touch with their workforce in a different location via periodic 'one-on-ones', assuming they are workable. In large companies such as Cisco who have a globally dispersed workforce, managers typically conduct video conferences for planning processes, Webex meetings for general business updates and face to face gatherings for training reasons. While the choice of how to communicate may differ from organization to organization, the essential thing is to have a plan of interaction in place so that mobile workers don't feel disconnected.


  • Monitoring Productivity: The Cambridge Dictionary defines a mobile worker as “someone who works in more than one place or travels as part of their job”. In such cases, it is hard to effectively monitor what the mobile worker is able to accomplish on a day-to-day basis. One way to overcome this is to set clear goals and expectations if direct supervision is not possible. These goals should be quantifiable and the emphasis should be on achievement of the end results rather than the number of hours taken. For e.g. a mobile worker in a sales profile maybe expected to hand in a weekly report of the number of calls they made or how many client inquiries they handled.


  • Develop Trust: Checking in is an important aspect of mobile workforce management. However, a flexible work arrangement does ultimately boil down to one important ingredient – trust. Managers need to trust that mobile workers are doing what they're supposed to do even when you're not there. By and large, when companies hire mobile workers, they are able to spot the traits and behaviors that need to be present in them to ensure they are a good fit for teleworking. But, trust is something that develops over time and is a two way street.

If you're managing individuals virtually, you also have the job of making sure your mobile worker feels engaged, empowered and confident that you'll be accessible to answer questions and tackle any workplace obstacles that may arise.

Workplace mobility is more commonplace now than ever before and virtual team management has become a need of the hour. According to the latest statistics by IDC (International Data Corporation), the US mobile worker population will cross 105 million by 2020. While global figures are unavailable, this number shows how the conventional workplace model is undergoing a change. Innovations in mobile technology, use of smartphones and a growing acceptance for BYOD (bring your own device) are the key factors responsible for the same. Thus, the next step for organizations of tomorrow will be to learn how to manage the needs of a large mobile workforce and enhance their productivity with the assistance of technology.

As a new age employerComputer Technology Articles, how do you manage your flexi-workers/mobile workers? Do you agree with the challenges listed above?

Also know more about how a mobile software helps to manage hospital staff :-

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Chris Bateson likes to read articles regarding technology. He writes about latest technological updates. Enterprise Applications, E-Commerce are some of his areas of interest.

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