While businesses both small and large are making the shift from traditional offices to having dispersed field teams, or remote employees, plenty of managers are still hesitant about making such a dramatic shift. Those managers can now put their mind at ease. A recent Gallup study on employee engagement showed that workers who spend at least some of their work day out of the office were not only more engaged than their office-counterparts, but also worked longer hours. Before managers rush to build a team, improving productivity and engagement, they should develop a plan for success in the field. Proper employee mindset, the right tools, and a fantastic employer-employee relationship are all extremely important factors to take into consideration if businesses want to get the most out of their field teams. These tips will help to form a strong framework upon which to build your field-team management.
Pick the right employees for your team
Not every employee will fit into a field-based team. Although physical offices have their share of distractions, working in the field provides its own share of problems, and businesses should make sure their team has certain characteristics which optimize the day-to-day operations of the organization. Some characteristics employees should have are:
- A strong drive to succeed
- Incredible Self-Discipline
- Willingness to use new technologies
- Strong communication skills
Having all of these characteristics ensures that a field-based team can quickly adapt to any changes in the field, and can communicate results, potential problems and ideas with their supervisors and managers.
Give employees the tools they need
Having the right characteristics amounts to nothing if employees can’t do their job efficiently. The solutions which work for employees in the office will, more-often-than-not, be horribly inefficient for field-based teams. Having the proper field activity management software will make the entire organizational process smoother, raise morale, and help to build a business culture for workers who don’t physically interact with each other. Great field activity management software will provide the following services to its users:
- Workforce Tracking: Managers who can see where their field teams are at all times will be able to monitor their employee interactions and create team accountability.
- Mobile Forms: Giving field reps a way to track their interactions with customers or manage other aspects of their job is vital to keeping communications strong between the office and the field. Businesses should look for field activity management software that allows customized forms, so that each unique job can be quickly completed and accounted for.
- Communication and Team Collaboration: Water cooler chats and mutual lunch breaks are not a part of the field-team work day. Missing out on both casual chatter and business talk stops any serious bonds and team spirit from building among field-based teams. A solution which allows reps to instant message with each other and post announcements will offer far more than software that doesn’t.
Bring Your Organizations Culture into the Field
To avoid making reps in the field feel isolated or lonely, field team managers should work to increase communication between co-workers, and spread the culture and values of the organization throughout the team. Field representatives miss out on many of the casual conversations and funny moments that can happen in the office and those are the moments which help build bonds between co-workers. To truly build a great team, managers can never forget that the team aspect will not come by itself. Field-based teams are quickly becoming commonplace for businesses everywhere, but leaving the office behind without thinking ahead can prove very costly. Business will see the benefits of field-based teams only if they assemble and equip those teams correctly. By following the above tips, managers and business owners can begin to develop an amazing dispersed team.