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How To Manage a Global Office

How To Manage a Global Office

Renee Weisman | SmallBizLink

May 03, 2010

While this may seem like over-managing, if the requirements are known early and reported as a regular measurement, it will assure you stay on track. It provides employees a chance to share what they have been working on and makes them feel like their time was well spent. It will also provide you with better information for performance and development reviews.

Use techniques to get to know your employees. Have them set their IM’s with their picture so you get to know what they look like. You can do the same with your telephone so when people call, you see their photo. If you only see the employee once in a blue moon, this can avoid the embarrassment of not recognizing them. Ask them to keep the photos current.

Use videoconferencing, Skype or other systems that allow you to see the person with whom you are communicating. This can help make the interaction more personal. Create a department Facebook page (or something on your company’s intranet), not for business but for information everyone wants to share with each other. When new members join the team, ask them to prepare a presentation about themselves so you get to know each other as people, not just names.

The complexity of spanning time zones can lead to frustrations if you do not follow carefully defined schedules. Be sensitive to the times of meetings. If they cause someone to have to work very early or very late, consider flexing the meeting to be more convenient for that person once in a while. Consider taping or videotaping the meeting if the person cannot attend because the timing simply doesn’t permit.

Also, if you are managing globally, make sure to add regional holidays to your calendar. You might also add birthdays, anniversaries with the company, or any other dates you think employees would appreciate getting some recognition about and write an email, send an ecard or otherwise celebrate the event.

Continually assess what works and what doesn’t. Ask your employees what they think and how to better communicate. Be open-minded. As new opportunities and training classes become available, make sure to communicate them as well.

Out of sight cannot mean out of mind for a remote manager. Instead of managing by walking around, manage by walking around electronically, using every means at your disposal to communicate, provide feedback and learn.

Finally, take advantage of any and every opportunity for face to face meetings, however rare, to enhance your relationship. When driving home from a vacation, a friend drove two hours out of his way to meet employees at their location. (His family dropped him off and went sightseeing for a few hours.)

If you are traveling for business and only an hour or so away from other employees, consider that side trip. Or meet halfway for lunch or dinner. They will be delighted that you took the time, and it will show in their attitudes and their work.

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