Dealing with perks and downsides of having remote employees working for you has been an ongoing topic for a while now, which is why Jacob Daniels, Web Content Coordinator at Movers Development tackles the main difficulties of managing an out-of-office team and explains the best ways to handle them.
So 2020 is the year of remote working? Although it may sound like remote work has only recently become a topic to consider, the pioneers of this type of business management are already able to share some useful insight and efficient pieces of advice for all those who are trying to test the waters of managing a remote team.
Rest assured that having remote team members working for you has just as many obstacles and challenges as it undoubtedly has perks and advantages. Let us take a closer look at the most noteworthy stumbling blocks of managing a remote team and, consequently, the most effective ways of overcoming them.
The top 3 remote team management challenges
Clearly, there are issues you can solve as you go along, but there are three important challenges to managing a remote team that are sure to arise sooner rather than later - which is why you’ll find it handy to consider some solutions before they actually become a problem.
Whether your employees work from home or are on the go as occasional international commuters, you’ll find yourself trying to battle one or all of these obstacles on a daily basis:
- Communication - the most obvious issue to address when team members never meet face-to-face.
- Tracking - workflow can get fairly difficult to keep track of when you have a remote team to manage.
- Team-building - the greatest challenge for every remote team manager: how to make your employees feel like they are a part of the team if they are scattered around the country or around the world?
Communication challenges and how to tackle them
There’s really no need to emphasize the importance of efficient communication flow among members of a team: both efficiency and overall team spirit rely on good communication. But how do you improve it?
Tools & encouragement
- Make sure you find the most suitable communication tools for your employees. Take all factors into consideration and set up some ground rules of sharing information among all of the team members. Whether you’re considering chatting, video conferencing, or scheduling, there is a wide scope of apps and tools to choose from, including Slack, Trello, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Calendly, etc.
- Motivate and incentivize your employees to stay connected and communicate effectively. As a leader and a manager, you should be the one to lead the way: communicate with your teamsters regularly and urge them to do the same among themselves.
Tracking – how do you prove productivity?
Tracking productivity becomes an important issue to address when you have employees from around the world working on the same project. Being in the same office makes it easier to keep track of your team’s productivity, but it’s also easier for them to understand the priorities and realize how and when to handle new tasks and responsibilities as they come along. So, how do you overcome this particular problem?
Setting goals & monitoring
- Be clear about your expectations. Every team member should be aware of the goals of their work and the timeframe they are expected to complete it in. You may want to opt for using productivity metrics to keep track of and evaluate your remote team’s performance. Just remember to apply the same criteria you use for your in-office workers.
- Keeping track of your remote team’s work rate becomes much simpler once you choose to turn to employee productivity software. Not only does this type of software provide indispensable data – but using it will also encourage workers to remain engaged and active throughout their working hours. Do not shy away from reaping the benefits of technology. Just as moving businesses invest in CRM and other tools to remain in tune with their customers’ needs, staying informed about your team’s productivity will make your own job much easier.
Great job, team! How to keep the team spirit going
When compared to other, more work-related aspects of managing a remote team, maintaining company culture and keeping the team spirit alive may seem insignificant at times. There are, however, numerous ways in which working on team spirit can be beneficial to productivity. What can you do to make your team feel like a real team, even though they are scattered around several time zones, sometimes never meeting each other in person?
Regular virtual meet-ups & employee engagement
- Do your best to come up with a regular meet-up schedule. You may not be able to spend time chatting by the water cooler, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t maintain contact at all.
- Make sure you do your best to keep your team members engaged in communication with one another. As a manager of a remote team, it is your job to keep the team spirit alive. Try not to let the amount of work and other obligations make you stray away from making every remote worker always feel like a part of a proper team.
Play the long game – remote working and the future
The current pandemic may have forced companies to dive straight into remote working. But as global mobility and international commuting become more present in today’s world of business, remote teams are something many employers need to think about anyway. And while remote working may have been thrust upon you, getting it right will take time and patience. Nevertheless, it will most definitely provide ample benefits to both your team and your company. Be creative during the problem-solving process and the lack of the brick and mortar aspect of your company never needs to affect neither your employees nor their productivity