As various companies’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic have demonstrated, a business owner doesn’t strictly need to literally look over the shoulders of their employees on a regular basis in order for these employees to do their best work. Your own workers can likely get by without your physical presence.
Nonetheless, if your company has traditionally been based in just one location but since sprouted a number of additional offices around the country or even the world, how can you manage these offices remotely?
Recruit ‘self-starters’ to your satellite offices
When certain members of your employee base work in a different office to you, they naturally won’t be able to just casually walk into a particular room to ask you for guidance. Instead, they might need to drop you a line by email or instant message (IM) and then wait for whenever you will send a reply.
It would therefore be ideal for you to staff your external offices with people you know would be capable of overcoming many challenges on their own.
Resist the temptation to micromanage
While you should set goals – such as by establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) – and identify what your people ought to do to achieve those goals, you would also be well-advised to heed Warren Buffet’s advice as quoted in an Inc. article: “Hire well. Manage little.”
In other words, once you have filled a certain, remotely-based office with the ‘right’ workers, leave them to make many of their own decisions. You will be rewarded with strengthened loyalty from these staffers.
Share crucial information across all of your firm’s offices simultaneously
You don’t want to inadvertently leave anyone out of the loop when conveying important information to your workforce – but such slip-ups could too easily happen if you lack a digital communication system spanning the entire company.
Fortunately, these days, business phone systems can be hosted in the cloud – making it easy for many business owners to regularly send news to the work computers of everyone on the company’s payroll.
Place a senior management team member in each office
This would be someone who can essentially be that particular office’s ‘boss’ in your absence. They could manage that office’s team much like any other in-person manager typically would. Then, at regular intervals and the end of each day, this team member of yours can report back to you about progress made in the office.
Following this particular tip could come naturally if each office is occupied by a different operational division.
Find time to visit your company’s remote offices in person
This would help you to keep your in-person presence at least fresh in remote employees’ minds. In 2013, George Lossius – the then-CEO of Publishing Technology – told the Guardian: “If my company was based solely in the UK I’d try to visit each office every month, but as two of our major offices are in the USA I visit every two to three months”, adding: “I always time my visits to offices within a week of each other”.