As our world grows with technology, it seems that the working hemisphere is growing further and further away from the ideal, designated, and physical “work place”. In fact, according to the Telework Research Network, 15 to 20 million Americans are mobile workers, which means that nowadays, these people work at least 10 hours per week away from home and from their main place of work.
It is also necessary to acknowledge that some people even work almost exclusively on the road. Either way, whether it’s 10 hours per week or the entirety of the workweek that is spent away, this presents employers with a unique problem. How do you manage workers who work on the road?
1. Make a Point to Interact
Now, paradoxically, technology has become both the source of social problems and also the solution to communication. Workers on the road exist without a company and can often grow tired or feel underappreciated. As a result, it’s absolutely essential to stay in touch with your mobile workers in order to foster a relationship of support, trust, and motivation. Validate them; let them know that they’re an integral part of the whole, even from miles away.
It’s important to let your employees know that you trust them, but even more important than that is actually trusting them. This fosters a more open relationship because you won’t be micromanaging, and, as a result, you will allow them to work independently, which is the ultimate goal.
In an article for Trucking Info titled, Top 10 Reasons Drivers Leave, Deborah Lockridge writes, “Drivers want to be a part of something. They want to feel like they matter, that their opinion matters, that their feedback somehow has an effect on making things better in the company they work for.” Ultimately, managing your employees on the road is more than one-way communication. They want to be trusted and interacted with, but they also want to be heard. Take the time to ask how your employees are and listen to their words. By having this interaction, you may learn more about your staff, but also how to improve your workforce in general.
4. Make Use of Technology Together
Employees who work from the road need to have the resources to do so, and as an employer, the same resources can help you manage them from afar. Some of these items may include laptops, wireless Internet, company access to the internal network, or smartphones.
It’s important for communication, efficiency, safety, and even for the sake of community. In an article for Halogen Software titled, 7 Best Practices for Managing Remote Employees, Melany Gallant writes, “having a discussion board or internal company blog where members can post photos and discuss various topics related to work and the industry can help create stronger bonds and keep the remote employee in the work loop”. Technology is what allows remote employees to stay on the move while still staying in touch.
In the end, it’s important to understand that, just like other employees, your staff on the road needs a community as well. They require trust to stay motivated, communication to feel valued, and resources in order to do their best. Managing them truly is not all that different, except that they need to be pursued because they’re at a distance. Ultimately, the best way to manage your workers on the road is to invest and connect with them.
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