Managing any team requires a certain level of skill, experience, and expertise. But, when it comes to managing a work-at-home team, there are a whole different set of challenges and barriers to overcome.
Here are 5 key points to consider
The nature of a work-at-home team means that there are inevitably differences between managing a team of home-based agents and those who are in-centre. In-centre agents, for example, have daily contact with their manager, can ask questions face-to-face, as and when they need assistance, and can often easily be monitored by simply looking over to their desk.
Work-at-home agents, on the other hand, don’t have this physical contact or ease of monitoring.
With this in mind, a team lead moving to work-at-home must tackle the role with an open mind and be versatile in their approach. What worked in-centre won’t necessarily work with home-based agents, and vice versa.
For a work-at-home team lead, communicating with team members on a daily basis is absolutely key. After all, in an in-centre environment, a team lead would have daily interaction with their agents and this level of communication not only ensures that they are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to do their job, but it also helps build strong relationships amongst the team.
A home-based team lead must ensure that agents do not feel isolated and that they feel part of a team, despite the fact that they are not physically in the same room.
A successful team lead will set time aside with their agents – whether that’s a morning call or a catch up at the end of the day. It’s about creating a dynamic where agents feel supported, engaged, and valued, just as you would do in an in-centre environment.
Consider cultural differences
When managing home-based agents, it’s important to remember that you may be working with people located in different areas, countries, or continents.
A successful team lead will identify and understand the cultural differences that exist as a result and adapt their communication and management approach accordingly.
So, for example, a British team leader, based in the UK, working with Dutch agents in The Netherlands, should be aware of Dutch culture and how agents based there look for a different style of management to those based in the in UK. For example, one may require a softer, more gentle approach, while the other expects a more direct, to-the-point style. Not being aware of this can lead to confusion as agents become unsure what is actually being asked of them.
Because work-at-home agents don’t have a physical support system around them, it’s important that their team lead ensures they feel supported at all times.
Technical problems, such as IT or phone issues, for example, can have a significant impact on home-based agents. Ensuring your team has the support they need and understand that you are doing everything in your power to resolve them, is crucial.
A successful home-based team lead is organised. Proper planning, logs, and documents will help ensure that all processes run smoothly. This level of organisation ensures it’s easier to keep aspects such as Performance Empowerment Programme (PEPs) and quarterly meetings on track, while ensuring that all agreed actions are implemented.
To find out more about successfully managing work-at-home teams, or to discuss how home-based agents can benefit your organisation, get in touch.