When Team Members Are in Remote Locations 338 FYI A good example of a spread-out team is the team that edited my previous book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Managing People. I was in Long Island, New York, the editor-in-chief was in New York City, the development editor was in Indianapolis, the technical editor was in Houston, and the copy editor did her work in a tent in the Shenandoah Mountains in Virginia. All connected via the Internet. · · · · Coordinating the team when members are not nearby. Getting to know team members when personal contact is limited. Ensuring that work gets done when your team members are scattered in several locations. Motivating your team, solving problems, resolving conflicts, and carrying out all the functions of your job from a distance. Now let's look at some of the ways spread-out teams operate and how team leaders can deal with the problems listed above. Telecommuting Over the past few years there has been a significant increase in the number of people working out of their homes. Some teams have members who do most of their work at home; even more have members who work at home part of the time. This has been made possible by the use of telecom- muting. Companies have discovered that it's often advantageous to let employees telecommute: It frees up office space for other people. It enables a company to use the services of experienced workers who may not be able to come to the office regularly. These workers include parents with young children, people who can't leave their homes because they care for elderly or ill relatives, and people with a temporary or permanent disability. The computer and modem have enabled companies to communicate in real time with anyone at another location who also has a computer. Documents, drawings, and statistical tables can be transmitted electronically to one person or to dozens of people simultaneously. Not every type of job is suitable for telecommuting. Many jobs require constant interaction with others on the job or the use of expensive or complex equipment that cannot be provided for home use. However, with a little imagination, jobs that seem to be limited to the office often can be redesigned so that they can be done at home. Team Terms