More companies have decided to go virtual. We're not necessarily talking VMware or Microsoft Hyper-V here, but an arrangement by employers to allow employees to work from home.

Whether for part-time or full-time work, that flexible arrangement creates an interesting dynamic that changes just about everything: how all staff members, virtual and non-virtual, communicate with each; how they exchange information; how they network and collaborate.

In the ideal scenario, those changes are all for the better; but, as you can imagine, things don't always flow smoothly.

Deploying a team of remote employees can help companies increase productivity, boost morale, and achieve substantial cost savings. However, managing those workers can be extremely challenging.

Here are some tips for effectively monitoring your virtual workforce and ensuring that it's consistently productive.

Appoint the right management personnel

If a virtual workforce is going to be successful, the management personnel you assign to oversee it are just as important as the individual employees who compose the troop.

Someone who has thrived in the traditional management role for years could easily become frustrated because of the lack of face-to-face encounters and other issues the remote working arrangement introduces. A manager is generally responsible for watching over staff both in and out of the office; accordingly, assigning a manager who is capable of monitoring them and keeping them motivated is critical to a successful virtual workforce.

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image of Chiko Noguchi

Chiko Noguchi is a best-practices activist and advocate of Benchmark Email, a provider of online marketing services.

Twitter: @email_wiz

LinkedIn: Chiko Noguchi