that person down. Remote employees can just sit
in their own toxicity, and no one is the wiser until
it is too late.
Related to this issue is the effect that working
remotely has on social skills. It’s no longer news
that people today are losing valuable social skills
because of increasingly individualized technology.
A team is a group of individuals working together
to complete joint tasks. The rapport that causes this
successful behavior is partly involved with sharing
Plus, very few people can identify socially with
customers and teammates via electronic communication without having previously established some
rapport. This is over and above the simple fact that
many people just do not have the personality to
work from home. They may lack personal focus or
may not have the willpower to stay on task without
a supervisor present.
Finally, it can be tough for remote workers to meet
customer service metrics. Every company has a
certain way they want their customers treated.
Without extensive training and some level of accountability, making sure these standards are met is
Who will overhear the team’s closer giving a
Managing remote workers
title agent an earful and stop it before it gets out
of control? How do we make sure new originators
are making the right phone calls to the right leads
if no one hears the exchanges? Moreover, how do
you have confidence those calls will go as planned
without the ability to step in if it
The good news is there are ways to overcome all
these obstacles. Let’s look at some tips for setting up
a successful remote team and reaping the benefits.
The first thing to do when establishing a remote
workforce program is to set expectations and hold
teammates to them. Hold regular one-on-one
meetings for accountability and set work schedules on shared calendars so everyone knows who is
working and when.
In addition, standard metrics and reporting for
remote workers should be the same as for on-site
teammates, and custome service metrics must be
included in training and in accountability. Consider
using sample e-mails to demonstrate expectations
and monitoring recorded phone calls for quality
assurance. Then, set individual and team goals and
follow up with regular checkups to monitor progress.
It is important to build a strong rapport with
remote workers by having daily discussions via
video chat. During interactions, watch tone and
body language for tells of disengagement, and
use instant messenger with an activity monitor to
ensure people are at their stations as expected.
Next, nurture teamwork by encouraging a buddy
system that matches teammates for support and
acknowledging those teammates who help others.
You also can consider having regular on-site days
for the whole team
to build team rapport
or tie successes together
with group goals. Make sure to
acknowledge remote teammates the same as you
do on-site teammates by issuing certificates of
achievement as well as by providing impromptu
support and recognition.
Finally, make culture a priority. You can involve
remote teammates in team lunches by delivering
meals to their remote location. Make sure to invite
them to special office events like holidays and
If charity is part of the company’s culture, encourage local contributions by posting photos of
everyone’s involvement on the company website.
If open communication is important, acknowledge
each person’s ideas in a forum everyone has access
to. Touch on culture every day and do whatever you
can to focus energy on company goals.
Perhaps being a part of a remote workforce is just
a vision to you at this point — an idle wish about a
workplace of the future. You may be excited about
the prospect or fearful of working “alongside”
remote teammates you hardly even know. Just
remember that your role has not changed, only
how you participate in the team’s synergy. Be brave
and learn to embrace change, if nothing else. The
future is coming. ■
Niki Nevarez is regional vice president of operations at Mountain West
Financial. She is an industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience in leadership and development of both retail and wholesale teams.
An educator by nature, Nevarez is dedicated to sharing information,
“It is important to build a strong
creating new opportunities and developing new ideas. She leads the Orange County/Los
Angeles Operations team, ensuring an excellent experience for customers while provid-
ing a quality product to the secondary market. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
remote workers by
video chat.” << Workforce continued from Page 114