So business is going well, sales are rolling in and your company is going to make a profit. Expansion plans are being discussed and a second or even third office location is being sought. Along with all the logistical issues of recruiting staff, establishing business contacts in a new area, also comes the task of managing multiple location offices and staff?
One of the best analogies I have heard used is comparing the new office to a new child or baby who is demanding of your time, but there’s also the existing office or older child whose needs and wants have also not diminished. How do you keep both children / offices happy?
It’s Good to Share.
Ensuring that communication is shared across all locations in real time is vital. Staff need to commit to one medium to communicate across the company, this needs to be quick, efficient and enable chat and / or feedback. Recent developments in Technology and software mean there are numerous solutions that encourage staff communication and collaboration, whether it relates to commercial projects or decision making within the company. Regular bulletins or newsletters from Senior Staff or Managers also ensure that there is a steady and consistent stream of information to all staff not just management.
The Boss can’t be everywhere and if there are multiple locations within your company then strong onsite management is essential. Communication via technology allows staff to understand and support the general direction and plans of the business but day to day their interaction will be with the staff and management at their location. Strong departmental management must therefore complement the business-wide strategic vision.
Timing is Everything.
However strong the management team at your Company, the Boss will need to have a presence. If all your offices are relatively close then this might be as much as bi-weekly or monthly, for overseas or more distant locations then it might perhaps be more realistic to schedule these visits every 2-3 months. Although digital communication is important personal visits are vital and priority will obviously be given depending on size and commercial importance but when onsite the Boss needs to be visible and indeed these visits need to be a part of the business regime.
Collaboration with and amongst staff members will help the management team gain a greater understanding of the business from the employees point of view. Positive changes in direction, focus and company image can be gained from allowing all staff members a voice and personal involvement in making changes and improvements.
Try Something New.
As the title says, what may work in one office with one set of staff may not necessarily work in a new location with different employees. Don’t be scared to innovate and try new procedures or working practices. Again, if internal communication is encouraged these suggestions may well be a result of staff feedback and therefore they should be positively supported and participated in. There is also no substitute for building personal, first name relationships with as many staff as possible, this psychology can also be used with staff – encouraging them to mix and communicate with other members from different departments that they wouldn’t normally mix with. This encourages a greater understanding and respect amongst departments which should also help morale and productivity.
Clearly, this management style requires commitment, planning and innovation but the long term rewards for the business and its staff members can only be positive and positive, happy staff can only be a good thing for any business!