By James Campanini, managing director at Cisco WebEx

Teams of all sizes need to be managed effectively. Whether they consist of two or 20 people, an effective team is one which has a clear structure allowing it to be productive and profitable.

Through understanding, benefits and flexibility you can obtain the best from your team, helping you to meet targets. According to a report by Cisco WebEx, 57% of managers and 62% of office workers see flexible working as a way to encourage people to stay with the business, but how can this be achieved?

1. Flexibility

Providing a culture in which your team is allowed to work flexibly will enable and encourage them to be more productive and efficient. We live in an increasingly flexible world, where technology has allowed us to adjust when and how we complete daily tasks; both at home and at work. Embracing change and providing your team with the tools to be flexible will allow them to better manage their own work loads, free from the constraints of the archaic 9-5 routine and able to host a conference call from the comfort of their own home, or on the train to work. Research we conducted supports this, finding that 52% of respondents believe that flexible working actually enables projects to be completed faster, dispelling the misconception that it is just a way for people to skive off work.

2. Understanding

We all have commitments and lives outside of work. Appointments with our GPs, careing for sick family members or taking our cars for that dreaded annual service are tasks which can’t always be confined to the weekend. As a manager or team leader, you are therefore required to be understanding of your teams’ obligations outside of work which will, in turn, help you to build a better relationship with your team. For me, it’s all about getting the balance right and providing an ethos whereby your team feel valued and empowered whilst ensuring their work and productivity isn’t affected.

3. Technology

Without the required technology, your team will struggle to operate effectively. Being restricted by underperforming technologies and internet downtime is nothing but frustrating! Implementing the relevant infrastructure is a key component for team success particularly when adopting a flexible working strategy. Your team need to be able to access emails, documents and calendars from anywhere, at any time, on any device and this can only be done with the help of the right technology - regularly assessing your team’s needs will help you to maximise productivity and efficiency.

4. Benefits

So, how do you ensure your team feels valued? Recent research by YouGov found that just under half (48%) of employers recognise the link between staff retention and benefits, a significant proportion do not. Spanning anything from car parking to private healthcare and bonus schemes, there is something quite rewarding about receiving a little extra on top of your regular salary — something that shows you are appreciated by your employer.

We all strive to be the best managers and team leaders that we can be, but it can be difficult to manage a team efficiently and effectively. As long as you are allowing your employees to do their jobs, without constraint or unnecessary obstacles you should be able to meet targets whilst keeping your team happy and motivated. There are many out there who are finding the balance and through adopting more flexible, understanding and technologically advanced methods of working, are achieving great things.

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