Leadership is tough work, whether you’re heading up a team of two or running an entire Fortune 500 company. Fortunately, today’s leaders have a wide range of tech tools at their disposal, thanks to cloud software that lets them access their work files from anywhere. Whether you’re seated at your desk or on the way to a business meeting, you can stay in touch with your team and keep projects moving using your computer, laptop or mobile device. For managers, computers play an essential role in managing and interacting with employees.
If you need to ask an employee or colleague a question, walking across the office may not be an option. The number of remote workers is on the rise, with one Gallup survey showing that 43 percent of people worked remotely at least part of the time in 2016. This is up from 39 percent in 2012 and is expected to reach 50 percent by 2020. In addition to email and instant messaging tools, technology also lets entire teams easily communicate using social media-style collaboration software. Instead of sending a series of emails and waiting for responses, leaders can post a question about the status of a project and have everyone chime in on the same thread.
Before computers, managers used paper-based accounting processes to manage HR activities like payroll and benefits processing. The right tools give employees the portal they need to report their own time, making it easy for managers to simply click a button to approve and go on with their day. You can also automate the employee performance review process, holding yourself to a set schedule to speak to each employee about the work they’re doing. For small businesses, these tools can be a huge relief, since they don’t have HR teams to manage all of these processes. They simply set everything up in the system and log in to review and approve.
Remote work has also made it important to regularly monitor employee activities using technology. A remote freelancer who bills by the hour can log in to a time tracker to be sure they are actually providing the services as promised. But perhaps the biggest benefit of tracking software is that managers can gain insight into where resources need to be allocated. A manager of a call center, for instance, can see that the majority of calls are coming into one area, while other areas have employees with plenty of idle time between calls. Those resources can be allocated so customers get the service they need and the business reduces waste.