The Challenges of Managing Employees in Off-Site Locations

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Organizations are always structured around teams tending to outperform organizations structured around individual effort (Fielding 2015, p. 24). An offsite team basically means a situation where employees go somewhere away from their office together to work. Practically, handling workers in off-site locations requires vigorous organizational approaches.

In this case study the editor discusses the challenges of managing employees in their workplaces In this case study the editor discusses the challenges of managing employees in their workplaces. Allison wants to quit since Penny wants to run the team. On the other hand, the manager of these off-site workers, Craig, is unaware by their conflict. The head of HR, Maggie Pinto, however is wondering if she could cancel the telecommunicating programmer in the organization. According to Craig, his department is doing the best work and he does not understand how the situation has got to the boiling point so quickly. His work arrangements are flexible and this has boosted the morale of the company and also increased its productivity. The conflict between Penny and Allison made the situation unpredictable until Craig started receiving email messages from Allison. Craig requested her to let the issue hold until the team comes together for its weekly meeting. Allison threatened to seek alternative employment. In addition, it is difficult for Craig to monitor how his people feel as they are working away from the office and hence they communicate majorly via the Internet (Maruca 1998, p.65). The report therefore explains Craig's mistakes in managing his team, the solution to this type of conflict, and ways of improving team's effectiveness.

The Manager's Mistakes

Craig failed to perceive that when workers and their managers are not having one-on-one meeting frequently, they solely depend on technological communication for most of their conversations which is not very effective. Moreover, he did not see the need to change his behavior. Craig did not realize that in these environments, challenges that would have been easy to solve in the office become more and more complicated. In this case for example, there was confusion in the list of communication by voice mail, e-mail, and in person. The issue could have led to big losses. Craig's indecisively tackles the query of employee leadership and this makes Allison angry.

Craig also shows poor management skills when he communicates only with the workers who goes to the office frequently. For Craig it is paramount to establish a formal organizational authority (Orbe and Harris 2013, p. 25).

Craig responded too unhurriedly to the information he received from his workers. He should have also used different means of communication to respond to these messages (Allen 2016, p. 68). Luckily, Craig later realized his mistake.

Craig assembled employees without coming up with clear rules on employee grouping. Organizing employees that work outside the office often needs the executive leaders to concentrate on certain issues that are always ignored.

Finally, Craig lets the employees setting their own schedule and only calling them for meeting in the office.


Craig should first ensure that there is a clear understanding of the rules and a commitment to open communication by both the workers and the managers hence giving the employees an advantage of working in their houses sometimes and hence ensuring balance between home life and work.

Secondly, Craig should focus on using the most reliable communication method and not only the fastest ones. He, should, for instance, not only rely on E-mail to answer the questions he received. He should consider meeting the workers face to face too so as to ensure that the small misunderstandings do not become big problems.

Lastly, Craig should improve his management skills by ensuring he meets all the team members and not only the ones in the office. He could do this by choosing a group leader based on the employees experience and expertise, and not by their availability or accessibility. The team leader could then pass important information to the other team members in situations where the manager is busy or is not available. A clear guideline on the team's hierarchy (Cornelissen, 2011) should also be provided in order to reduce the freedom given to the workers by Craig.

Type of Conflict in the Off-Site Team and Ways of Solving the Conflict

The conflict in the offsite team is an interpersonal as it involves two employees, Penny and Allison. It is the result of the difference of their personalities. Allison for instance, threatens to quit because Penny demands to run the team. Allison feels Penny contradicted her right in front of a client representative and thus embarrassed him. Allison is also disturbed to learn that Craig met with Penny to discuss the performance without her knowledge. She therefore feels that Penny wants to run the team. Since both Allison and Penny seem to be valued employees, the conflict between them needs to be solved as soon as possible.

Craig and Maggie should however be careful about how they go about the counseling. They would obviously introduce mediation between Allison and Penny but miss the chance to talk about the bigger problem in the office if they stopped at mediation. Craig should blame his actions for the current issue and allow the women to express feelings towards each other and initiate a discussion about how the team can work together to meet the needs of the clients and prevent future conflicts among the members. The two women should be made aware that their misunderstanding could later result to a larger issue and hence the effort to solve the issue.

Causes of the Team's Ineffectiveness and Improving the Team's Effectiveness

The company is slow to determine whether a worker is suitable for an alternative work arrangement. Also it does not provide clear guidelines. The employees are therefore encouraged to incorporate work and personal commitments (Salem and Timmerman 2017, p. 46), thus making the off-site team ineffective. Customers are therefore not served by a team of professionals (Kolbaek 2018).

In order to improve the off-site team's effectiveness, Maggie and Craig should evaluate the abilities and the developmental needs of their communicators and then take into considerations their work plans. Maggie and Craig should focus on high levels of commitments from both the employees and their managers (Gambetti 2012, p. 41). They should provide other ways of providing workers with work-family balance that enables them to work effectively

Maggie should also be encouraged to proceed with her plan of rolling out a firm wide telecommunication proposal. The firm could learn from its challenges and come up with formal trainings for managers.


It is evident that that handling workers who work off-site involves leaders focusing on specific issues that are always ignored on site (Nikoi and Boateng 2014, p. 66). Managers should always focus on both the long term and short term goals of the organization (Sherwood and Horton-Deutsch 2015, p. 65). Craig should consider constant communication with his employees and ensure that he receives reports from the team members to allow him give feedbacks. The above discussion explains that the rift between Allison and Penny can be amended. Basically, a firm with clear regulations and a good training programs results in increased turn outs and higher morale for the workers and the executive leaders.


Allen, M., 2016. Strategic Communication for Sustainable Organizations Theory and Practice. Cham, Springer International Publishing.

Cornelissen, J., 2011. Corporate communication: a guide to theory and practice. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Fielding, M. L., 2015. Effective communication in organizations: [preparing messages that communicate]. Cape Town: Juta Academic.

Gambetti, R. (2012). Managing Corporate Communication. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Kolbaek, D. (2018). Online collaboration and communication in contemporary organizations. Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference.

Maruca, R. F, 1998. How do you manage an off-site team? Harvard Business Review.

Nikoi, E., and Boateng, K., 2014. Collaborative communication processes and decision making in organizations. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Sherwood, G., and Horton-Deutsch, S., 2015. Reflective organizations: on the front lines of QSEN and reflective practice implementation. Indianapolis, IN, Sigma Theta Tau International.

Orbe, M. P., and Harris, T. M., 2013. Interracial Communication: Theory into Practice. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Salem, P. J., and Timmerman, E., 2017. Transformative practice and research in organizational Communication. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

October 24, 2023

Business Economics

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Company Organization

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