The advent of cloud computing, combined with the availability of digital and communications tools, has allowed more healthcare-related tasks to be done remotely. Appointment scheduling, patient assessment and triage, record keeping, and medical research are some of the things remote staff can handle, provided such work arrangements are carefully planned and managed.
Both organisations and employees have been shown to benefit from telecommuting in terms of time- and cost-savings. Ensuring that off-site workers remain focused on their jobs and productive is the responsibility of the tele-manager.
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Management experts point out that an excellent healthcare tele-manager should have these important traits and skills:
- Superior organisation: Organisational and project management skills are crucial in managing a large team of remote workers.
- Polished delegation: Dividing the workload equally and fairly is necessary to promote team spirit and efficiency. Also, the manager must be able to step in to resolve any problems or disputes whenever they arise.
- Trustworthy and respectable: Mutual trust and respect help to ensure the success of remote staff. If necessary, accountability systems can be implemented, such as requiring workers to log hours and meet weekly or monthly to discuss recent progress and upcoming goals.
- Excellent communication abilities: Two-way communication is vital, and a good manager should have a 'virtual open door' to encourage staff members to present their concerns, ideas and suggestions.
In addition to effective management and communication skills, good tele-managers need to have a basic strategy for dealing with their team. This is to ensure that work is completed in a timely manner, with outstanding work and performance also not being taken for granted.
A good management strategy includes:
- Planning the work: Organising in advance means workflow moves most efficiently. Also, errors are reduced or avoided when preparation is extensively planned.
- Setting expectations: Making sure your team knows what is expected of them and what goals the team is trying to accomplish.
- Monitoring performance: Having a system of checks and balances in place that will alert you if performance and efficiency starts to drop.
- Recognising performance: Keeping a sharp eye out for standout employees, and acknowledge their accomplishments. Employees become more motivated when they feel their work is valued and respected.
Source: Utica College
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