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Are your remote workers working for your business?

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3rd Jun 2015
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We've covered this topic a lot recently, but that's because it's a movement on the rise. How do you keep track of your non-office based colleagues? Carl Boraman has a few ideas.

Training managers are familiar with having to monitor and measure staff performance levels, gaps in knowledge, business improvement, staff morale, staff effectiveness and customer experiences. It’s a complex task when a team is based at a single office location but becomes more difficult when the team works remotely.

Common issues are: Where are they, are they accountable, are they productive, do they have the right technology to perform their job, do they know how to use it and are they using it effectively and safely without putting the business and themselves at risk? More importantly, are they as remote workers equally effective and productive as office-based workers?

Training organisations need to manage increasingly complex technologies and services that deliver business advantage. Remote working is one of the most complex and this is where a keen focus on actionable intelligence can be used to improve management and drive innovation. With the right technology in the right place at the right time, people can do the job properly, access key information and deliver improved business outcomes.

Managers need to be sure that things are getting done

The latest telecoms analytics tools collect and combine data from multiple telecoms carriers, locations and platforms to deliver a single up-to-date view of every fixed line and mobile asset, who it’s assigned to, and where they sit in the organisation, making it easy to monitor and manage. It also makes things like leaver/joiner/mover administration much easier because managers can instantly see every resource linked to a person, their line manager, location and cost centre.

Where there is data, it can be added and if a manager brings other expenses into the mix, they can then monitor the total cost of remote operations e.g. fuel cards, conferencing solutions, etc. When expenses are electronically captured, it's easy to turn the resulting data into meaningful business intelligence that can be used to monitor and control spend.

In mobile working, the overall aim is to build a culture of personal responsibility. Some roles will inherently generate more cost than others. Managers must be able to set benchmarks so every individual can see their own costs against the averages of other employees and departments.

Managers can build a centralised view of a team. They can then set alerts and alarms for the watch points that are meaningful to them. Such reports and analyses enable managers to:

  • Review activity patterns by employee
  • Benchmark and compare spend between employees
  • Receive flags and alerts for misuse, fraud and policy breaches
  • Deliver customised reports for other areas, like finance and accounting

Keeping employees in the loop

Remote workers need to know and appreciate they are more closely scrutinised than their office-based colleagues. To encourage personal responsibility, managers can give every employee a central view of their activity and a total cost of everything they use, so they understand their impact on the business. This helps the team to take more care since they know their actions will be counted.

There are many obvious direct costs like telephony, fuel, printing and expenses, but indirect costs can also be assigned so they can be understood. Often, one of the largest areas of an organisation's cash consumption is travel and expenses. Unfortunately, it's also an area that is widely exploited.

In summary, you can get off-the-shelf travel and expenses management and resource management applications, but few can bring absolutely any resource that has underlying data into a centralised inventory and treat it all in context. The latest applications also include call management services that can absorb, validate and standardise data from any source, housing it in a powerful inventory that supports today's master data management strategies.

Carl Boraman is commercial director of Tollring. Tollring is a specialist in telecoms management software, billing and call recording solutions, delivered on premise or via the cloud

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