I recently spent the day in our NY offices. Generally, I work full-time from my home office north of Boston, but this past Wednesday, I flew in in the morning and headed back to Boston in the evening. I generally do this every two or three months to touch base with the people I work with. I find it's good to have a bit of face time. Besides, it provides me with some renewed energy for my work. I suspect it also mixes it up for my co-workers a bit, whether that's good or bad.
The trip actually got me thinking about the whole telecommuting arrangement and wondering how Inc.com business owners manage remote workers. The technology is there to support the regular flow of communication, but how is your "quality" of communication with your remote employees? I'm lucky to have a manager and co-workers who regularly keep me in touch with the work "culture," so I'm not so a much fish out of water when I do make my office visits, and I entirely feel like a member of team despite my remote location.
Are you just checking in to see that projects are done, or are you engaging your remote employees in conversations that help you get to know them better, as you might with internal employees? And how often do you require them to visit your office?
If managing remote workers is a challenge, or if you're considering offering telecommuting as an option, here are a few good articles on the topic: