April 12, 2016

The 5 greatest challenges of managing off site employees

How many people do you know that still work 9-5 jobs and don’t do any work from home? The truth is that mobile working is growing and people are relying more on mobile devices to carry out work tasks outside of the office.

The practice is more productive, but there is the worry that managing off site employees is difficult for trust reasons. According to a Runzheimer International survey, 54 percent of employees find managing their mobile workforce a challenge.  So what are the five key challenges for managing a team of mobile workers?

Communication is key

“Communication is the most important skill for managers of flexible teams, with 88% saying it is vital and 87% saying the ability to give staff clear communication is either very or extremely important” Institute of Leadership & Management.

With so many employees now working away from their desk, it’s becoming increasingly important for managers to set up appropiate channels for communication. In the construction industry, poor communication can lead to on site accidents, whereas, in fleet management it could result in further costs to a business.

Employee trust

“You can’t be in an organisation where, if someone says they’re going to work from home tomorrow and your first thought is they’re pulling a fast one. It is all about give and take, and trusting people to deliver on their objectives” says Dane Batt, Orange Business Services, Head of HR services for Northern Europe.

A flexible working environment means that managers and workers have less face to face contact which eachother and this can cause trust issues. In order for there to be trust in others, there needs to be a positive company culture. But, this becomes more challenging for managers when they are less aware of where their workforce is.

Maintaining the company culture

“All employees – full-time, virtual, etc. – should get together in person at least once a quarter to bond”says Maren Kate Donovan, founder and CEO of virtual assistant hiring service Zirtual.

People are social beings that crave contact and to be connected. There is no doubt that mobile working leads to a less sociable working environment, which is fine in certain industries, but it provides a serious challenge for companies which highlight togetherness and unity as key business values.


“With mobile work you need guidelines,” Frisch said. “You don’t need to be constantly watching, but it’s important to have tools to track what employees are doing, and have systems to know the metrics of your business.

With the technology available to us it’s becoming easier to track mobile workers activity.


“Putting all these applications in the hands of employees is very scary for a lot of organisations. It is critical that enterprises begin to incorporate a more holistic mobile strategy” Says Vanessa Alvarez, Frost and Sullivan.

Many IT Managers are anxious about the security of information which is stored on mobile.