Remote teams are becoming more common among organizations. The role for managers however, is still new and most have little to no experience managing remote teams. Having years of experience in the office environment is helpful but not all of it will translate in the virtual world.
Managing remote teams comes with its own set of challenges. Here we cover the 5 biggest challenges managing remote employees and how to conquer them with ease.
Communication is often the biggest challenge while managing remote teams. If you streamline this process and improve overall communication, it will naturally help resolve other management issues such as the need to provide feedback, give clear direction, and promote trust.
Effective communication is the foundation of any organization, especially in remote teams. When not made a priority, a number of problems can arise—such as low employee morale and isolation, and decreased productivity.
Establish a good method of communication that the entire team can agree upon and the best way to share information. Some teams prefer to use email for non-urgent matters and a business communication platform to be able to reach team members when needed.
Although working from home can help create a positive work-life balance for employees, it can make it difficult to manage their level of productivity.
It’s important that your organization has clearly stated the expectations while working remotely in a dedicated employee handbook. These guidelines should be based on state laws.
Having employees understand how their work is being measured can also help avoid problems. This way if managers aren’t happy with completed work, they can easily explain why, which will help clarify things for the employee as soon as possible.
Learn about your employees’ routines and schedules and work around these hours best you can. Creating scheduled check-in calls or project status updates can help create a sense of unity among employees and managers.
When recruiting talented employees, company culture is something that candidates are looking for. What’s the appeal of working for your organization? This is something that can easily be translated in person, within onboarding, and regular face-to-face company interactions.
Having remote teams makes it difficult to foster company culture.
The best way for employees to experience company culture is for managers to emulate what that feels like. If managers are living true to company culture lifestyle, the trickle down effect will have employees feeling connected.
There is an opportunity, now more than ever, to demonstrate to employees that they are valued. Celebrate the small wins along the way, encourage mental health days and time off.
A passionate and connected workforce is attainable, even in a remote world. Positive company culture is the blueprint for a thriving business.
Trust is key in any relationship, especially between an employee and manager. When there’s trust between co-workers, there is an increase in commitment and productivity. There is a shared vision and mutual respect, and a desire to deliver quality work and live up to expectations.
A lack of trust in the workplace could be an indication that your company has a toxic culture. Employees won’t feel happy or motivated to come to work everyday. They might get by doing the day-to-day tasks, but won’t go above and beyond to develop into a high performer.
Collaboration and team building should be instilled in both remote and in-person organizations. To help keep a strong connection with your remote team, encourage frequent communication and develop teams within the company. For remote teams this helps to establish where they belong and who to report to.
Managing A Work-life Balance
A common fear is that a remote team won’t be as efficient at home as opposed if they were in the office, that lines will be blurred and employees won’t know when they should be working and when they should be relaxing.
Even more common, is that employees who work remotely tend to overwork. Since they work where they live, that “start and stop” time isn’t defined. There’s always an endless amount of work and a growing to-do list, however, it’s important that employees aren’t burning themselves out.
To help manage a healthy work-life balance, try using a time tracking tool so you can be on the lookout for anyone working much longer hours.
As a manager you need to expect that people will not always come to you with everything. Take the time to check in on how your employees are feeling both physically and mentally.
The Future Of Work
There are many challenges faced while managing remote teams. It’s possible to create a healthy, happy, and driven workforce even from a distance. It’s important to establish clear communication guidelines to encourage employees to work together.
Reviewing your processes is also important so new team members can easily hop on board. With remote teams becoming more popular, this is your chance to help create a positive work experience for the entire organization.