April 23, 2014

Power Boost: CIOs cite technology issues as greatest challenge in managing remote teams

TORONTO--For technology professionals who work remotely, out of "site" isn't necessarily out of mind. In a new Robert Half Technology survey nearly one in five (19 per cent) Canadian chief information officers (CIOs) cited technological issues as their greatest challenge in managing a remote workforce. Productivity and communication issues followed with 17 and 15 per cent, respectively.

The survey is based on more than 270 telephone interviews with CIOs from a random sample of Canadian companies. Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis.

CIOs were asked, "Which one of the following, if any, is your greatest challenge with managing a remote workforce?"

The top three responses:

Technology issues (ensuring user access to information) 19%
Productivity issues (lack of insight into how work gets done) 17%
Communication issues (lack of face time) 15%

"As remote working becomes increasingly popular, many managers are concerned with employees having the resources they need to be effective while working away from the office," said Deborah Bottineau, Senior Regional Manager of Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group. "Even senior executives in a technology-forward department like IT can experience struggles in providing employees seamless access to information remotely or maintaining visibility into how work is being accomplished."

Robert Half Technology offers four tips for technology executives to manage remote teams effectively:

•Outline expectations. Tell remote employees how often you'd like them to check in by phone or email. Let them know you expect them to be reachable during office hours. Also, set clear goals and benchmarks to help mobile workers stay on track with objectives.

•Leverage technology tools. Make sure remote employees have access to the right communication tools. Teleconferencing, online meeting and file-sharing services foster collaboration among remote teams. Confirm that everyone can stay in touch easily and access the information they need quickly and securely.

•Create opportunities for face time. To help remote workers stay connected, request that they work on-site a few times a month, if possible. Encourage them to attend important events and meetings in person, as appropriate. Also, use videoconferencing tools to promote virtual face-to-face interaction with off-site staff.

•Check in with remote employees regularly. Remote work arrangements afford flexibility but they can blur the lines between work and personal life. Some employees who work from home have trouble 'unplugging.' Encourage them to create balance, which, ultimately, aids productivity in the long-term.

With more than 100 locations worldwide, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support.



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