Keeping tabs on your team when they are on the road
Having employees on the road and traveling from one place to another can make staying in touch very difficult.Keeping tabs on the members of your team while they are on the road may be particularly important to you if all members are working on the same objective.Whatever the case, you need a way to ensure that all of your employees are where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there.Fortunately there are a few options that you can consider that will help you to keep tabs on your team away from the office.
Hand held devices (phones)
Hand-held devices are nothing like they were 10, 5 or even just a few years ago.Cell phones, electronic organizers, instant messaging capable devices, etc. are all methods that can be employed to better stay in touch when members of your team are on the road.Hand held devices can even be used together in a network of sorts so that all members of your work group can remain connected, even tracked by GPS so everyone knows where everyone else is at any given time.The sophistication of these devices is practically limitless and there are various options that you can choose to employ in order to fit the specific needs of your business travels.
Regular e-mail/phone check-in
If your budget does not allow for the latest and the greatest in the world of wireless communication, simply do what you can to stay in touch with your traveling employees by having designated call-in or e-mail updates.Of course you do not need your trusted employees to check-in for every little thing.But it is not a bad idea to ask them to send you a brief summary of how a meeting or conference went.Not only will you be able to get an idea for what your employee is doing but you will also be able to gain insight into how they are doing.
Flight and hotel status/check-in reports
Some travel services offer updates that are delivered to all members of a traveling group via cell-phone.If there is a flight delay or trouble with booking a room all members of the party are notified.There are a few online travel companies that offer this service and surely a travel agent will have access to this type of information as well.Work with that travel agent to get the information that you need to keep tabs on your employees during the crucial times of transit.
Create opportunities for communication
Of course you do not need to stay in constant communication with your team to the point that they feel like they are being babysat or spied on.Instead allow the line of communication to feel very natural by creating opportunities for them to stay in contact with you as their manager.Have a nightly review of the day's work where all team members on the road conference call in and report on their progress made that day.As a manager you will need to listen carefully to the reports that are given and determine if your communication with any one traveling employee will need to be more regular.
When it really comes down to it you are not going to be sending employees that you do not trust out on the road to conduct business away from the office.It shouldn't be employees that you are worried about that you need to communicate with.If your issues of communication are because of a concern regarding the integrity or trustworthiness of a particular employee it may simply be in the best interest of everyone to deny that employee the opportunity to travel.
One great way to keep everyone in touch is to have periodic conference calls within your team. And, while this can be done with some quite costly solutions, there are other services that actually provide totally free conference calls. We use these types of services with our team, we recommend that you do too!