Put SharePoint and remote workers together and suddenly sharing becomes super easy.
When you’re a remote or mobile worker it can be difficult to keep up with the happenings in the office. You feel excluded from the ins and outs of the day to day stuff that goes on ‘back at the office’ and you miss out on water cooler conversations, finding out who is joining and leaving the company, or seeing first hand how new processes and systems work. It’s no wonder management worries about a demotivated remote workforce and can even perceive them as hard to manage.
One way to overcome many of these problems and keep remote workers motivated and engaged in the day to day running of your business is by using SharePoint.
Emulate water cooler convos
Use forums, picture libraries, newsfeeds and calendars to keep all staff up to date with what’s going on in the business. Leverage off the inherent curiosity of human beings with regular updates to your newsfeed and calendar, and don’t make it all business. Share social info like Jimmy’s leaving do pictures, Li’s wedding date – anything that interests your people. Some of the most successful newsfeeds I’ve seen clients use are updated several times a day, and have a mix of business information and social news. Also, make sure that when staff leave or join the company, anyone can find these important dates in the calendar. There’s nothing worse than coming into the office to find out you missed Jimmy’s last day, didn’t realise Li even had a boyfriend let alone a husband, or meeting the newbie who started over 4 months ago.
Sharing is caring
Give staff a space to share their own interesting news. A classifieds forum allows staff to buy sell and swap with each other. A social newsfeed lets anyone update the team with goings on in their life. It’s all great communication, whether its work related, purely personal or a mix of both.
Celebrate and communicate remote worker contributions
You should be doing this for all staff, but make a special effort to share what remote workers are up to. There’s a misconception that the remote team are swanning about enjoying long lunches, interesting scenic drives, and not much else. You can delegate this task to your remote staff, ask them to write regular blog posts about the clients they visit, the problems they encounter, and even the interesting places they get to go to. If they don’t have time to write a blog, ask them to send in short videos or interesting pictures and share these on a newsfeed and/or forum.
Visibility of tasks and progress
You may also want to create task lists for remote workers (or all staff) so everyone (or just a select team) can see progress of goals and achievement of milestones.
It’s important that everything a remote worker needs can be quickly and easily accessed so they can avoid unnecessary trips to the office. Or perhaps your remote staff work in another city or location – to save yourself annoying phone calls and emails that ask you to send the latest copy of a flyer or template, set up spaces on SharePoint where all the docs, resources and processes the remote worker needs live.
Easy to find
Make them easy to navigate to, e.g. if your Sales team need to regularly save proposals to client folders, create a promoted link to the client folders on the home page of their team site. You can also use content types for your company templates, ensuring remote staff use the latest and greatest version of the quote or proposal file – this too could be a promoted link that staff quickly click onto to get to where they need to be.
Managing remote users
Use the task list suggestion above to set objectives and goals that can be monitored by management. These can also be used for performance reviews, or as an agenda for progress meetings.
Managers can set alerts on document libraries, blogs, calendars and task lists to receive an email notification whenever a file is updated, a blog post is published or a task is progressed. Now you have visibility and can see what any member of the remote team is working on, at any time.
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