Are Managing and Telecommuting
When Karen Briegs
teleworks two days each week from her Hillsborough, NJ home everyone on the
10-member team she manages at Schering-Plough's corporate campus in Kenilworth
(NJ) knows their responsibilities and Briegs' expectations. "When I'm teleworking,
I'm not looking over their shoulders and I'm not acting as a crutch for them
either," admits Briegs, the assistant director of the company's clinical
information center. "Since I work remotely my staff has learned to be very
A variety of workstyle arrangements exist where managers are the ones doing
the telecommuting. Briegs relies on e-mail and a multiline, multifunction speakerphone
to maintain constant contact with her team and her clients. Everyone on her
team will relay client or team issues to Briegs so she can determine any immediate
course of action. Briegs uses her days on site to assign new responsibilities
at weekly meetings and visit with contracted consultants.
When managers telecommute, they and their staff create a routine for staying
in contact and getting the work done. Barbara Adler learned this when she herniated
a disk and was required to stay off her feet. The issue became how Adler would
accomplish her own work as vice president/team leader for a Chicago-based public
relations firm, Porter Novelli.
After a short transition: connecting her home to the company network and having
essential documents and books delivered, Adler was able to work with clients,
craft media and branding strategies, and stay on top of projects and deadlines
for her 16-member team back at the office. "One way I motivated the staff
was to ask them to help me perform well," Adler said. "I still have
to accrue billable hours and my staff really stepped up to the plate."
Team members held weekly phone meetings with Adler and will check each others
work before submitting it to her for approval. Now that Adler's condition is
improving she has opened her home for staff and client visits.
For Vermont Mold & Design, sales manager Ken Jansen coordinates a remote
sales force with an out-of-state corporate headquarters from his home in Madison,
CT. "We're using different tools than we did 20 or 30 years ago in manufacturing
sales," explains Jansen, "everything was oriented to the salesperson
doing things back and forth by car."
In this environment requests for quotes and specs are sent from the field to VMD
in New Hampshire and pricing is sent back, electronically. "I get on the
phone and try to stimulate these salespeople and monitor follow-up developments
on leads." He then stays abreast of the approved sales order until finished
product delivery to the customer is completed.