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LEAVING THE OFFICE BEHIND 19
Manage everyone fairly
Remote workers aren’t different from those who work in the main office—at least not in the fundamental ways. Yet managers often create an inadvertent divide between remote and in-office team members through their language, their expectations, or even the com- pany’s default processes. Fortunately, you can change these things to eliminate that “us vs. them” mentality.
Make data accessible to everyone in the same way. If you’re managing remote workers, they need to get a hold of the same files and applications that the rest of the team uses in the office. Make sure they have what they need installed on their machines or reachable via the cloud. Dropbox is a great central repository for storing files that don’t change too often, while Google Docs is a good alter- native for keeping living documents updated in real time.
Expect the entire team to use the same tools. Regardless of where your team members work, have everyone use the same tools and applications to communi- cate and manage projects. Online project management tools are extremely easy and intuitive to use, and they keep everyone on the same page no matter where they are. Likewise, if the team uses a chat tool, have that be the primary way you chat and ask questions among the group.
Standardize processes and metrics. Mark Mortensen, an associate professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD, advises managers of direct reports to apply business processes and metrics in the same way for every employee, regard- less of where they office.3 You want to eradicate any feelings of inequity among team members, so you need to set clear expectations about everyone’s objec- tives and how they will be measured.
Added bonus: You’re essentially mobilizing your team. By keeping things eq- uitable among team members and having everyone use remote-friendly tools and processes, you’re prepping the whole group to be successful as remote workers—so if someone’s situation changes down the road, they can continue to work for you without major hiccups.
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