The workplace is changing. Traditional 9-to-5 jobs are being replaced by professional telecommuting jobs as employers search for ways to decrease expenses and increase employee satisfaction. But maintaining a productive offsite work force comes with certain challenges that may require a shift in expectations and procedure for both employees and managers.

How to maintain appropriate oversight and communication with offsite workers can be a challenge for both workers and managers. For telecommuting arrangements to work effectively, managers must be willing to relinquish control of the process of production and focus on the work product produced. In other words, how an employee spends his work day becomes less important than the quality of the work delivered.

By the same token, people who work at professional telecommuting jobs must accept greater responsibility for certain management functions, such as time management and production process, to ensure that they deliver on their employer’s expectations. And in telecommuting arrangements, both parties bear greater responsibility for maintaining clear communication.

Salary.com recently shared some smart tips on managing a remove work force that contain good advice for both managers and telecommuters:

  • Get on the same page. Telecommuting employees need to be part of the company culture. Company goals, core values and expectations should be clearly communicated to all employees, whether they work on- or offsite.
  • Clearly define goals. Set clear goals so that telecommuters know what targets they are expected to hit weekly, monthly and annually.
  • Communicate. Clear and regular communication is the key to a successful telecommuting arrangement.  Schedule regular department or project team meetings so that everyone is working toward the same goals and has access to the same information.
  • Be available. Managers need to be as available to telecommuters as they are to onsite employees. Regular one-on-one conversations can nip potential problems in the bud and keep projects on track.
  • Invest in employees. Offer mentoring, coaching and training opportunities that can help advance employees’ careers.
  • Recognize value. When employees excel, demonstrate their value to the team by recognizing their achievements before the entire team or department.