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‘Remote working’ probably tops the list of the most popular business terms of the decade. Remote working is not a temporary shift. A paradigm shift is taking place. The change may seem like the perfect solution for the working masses affected by this pandemic. However, managers working with remote teams will likely disagree.
Handling a remote team is no walk in the park. It requires more effort, practicality, and purposefulness in your management practices. Besides, impromptu decisions and practices do not work successfully for remote team management. Hence businesses are facing certain challenges.
Since remote working is here to stay, we analyze the most common challenges and offer solutions to overcome them.
Remote Team Management: The Challenges & Solutions
Challenges in Team interaction
Despite being geographically displaced, employees need to connect and communicate. It is critical to gather input from each employee about the day’s tasks. In this scenario, traditional emails and phone calls are rudimentary and won’t elicit a quick response.
One-on-one team meetings and employee interaction are replaced by Zoom, Discord, Skype, and other digital platforms. These tech tools foster two-way communication with clear rhythms and routines. Remote employees can be trained or encouraged to be precise and concise with their discussions. This eliminates unnecessary banter. Your employees will be clear about the day’s tasks. Managers can also track accountability and identify workflow that needs help.
Challenges in Employee Monitoring
How do you know when your employees report for work from the comfort of their homes? How can you assess what your remote team accomplishes? How can you make sure they are focusing only on office-related work? Are you sure productivity is not affected? The answers to these questions are unclear for many managers. Remote managers must establish ways to track their employees.
The magic bullet here is to invest in employee monitoring software and implement the practice for your remote team. The software comes with many incredible features that allow you to track time, performance, and productivity. Managers can track each employee’s online activities to ensure they do not give in to distractions. Monitoring is not intrusive. Rather, it keeps your entire remote team focused and efficient.
Challenges in Morale & Motivation
Managers particularly find it challenging to ascertain the mindset of remote team members in this pandemic. Employees need mental and emotional support with so many different challenges concerning health, finance, and job security. It is this support that will keep their morale high and motivated.
Managers can keep their teams motivated by helping them develop their careers and improve their skills. This is a perfect opportunity to show that you trust your team. Delegate meaningful tasks to your staff so they will be able to complete them without your interference. They gain confidence and a sense of achievement from such experiences.
Challenges in Company culture
Instilling company culture is a time-consuming process. It is a concentrated effort that involves hiring the right employees and fostering healthy communication. All this can be done effortlessly in an office. But, how can you cultivate and shape community culture within your remote staff?
Initiate a plan that allows healthy interaction between the remote workers, including those at the top executive positions. Managers can try scheduling virtual get-togethers or hosting a virtual movie night. However, all these efforts to instill company culture will achieve results only if managers adopt an open communication policy.
Challenges in Office schedules
For most managers, scheduling a virtual phone call or a meeting is one of the biggest challenges with a remote team. It is further complicated due to the different time zones and the inconsistent working schedules of independent contractors. Getting an entire team ready for a video conference is easier said than done.
Digital tools offer managers a wide variety of options for scheduling virtual meetings. A few tools allow employees to choose from a variety of dates and times. Participants can also confirm availability through calendar apps, websites, and free platforms. You may also encourage Freelancers and other vendors to use the same digital tools for seamless scheduling.
Challenges in Direct meetings
Getting to know colleagues personally is one of the best aspects of working in a team. However, with lockdowns, a raging pandemic, and more than three-fourths of the members living in various places, it is quite impossible.
If possible, try to plan a proper get-together at least once a year. Your own office space can be used as a common ground for colleagues to meet everyone in person. A well-planned trip, an unofficial convention, or a conference are great ideas to bring your team together.
Challenges in Building trust
The lack of regular face-to-face interactions can lead to trust issues between the team manager and the employees. Managers worry if employees are completing work and ensuring productivity. On the other hand, employees harbor a range of concerns regarding timely payment and other issues.
Honest and open communication is crucial to building and nurturing trust between managers and team members. Transparency about working hours, payment, project expectations, and project status can help foster trust with a remote team. Additionally, team-building games, along with trust exercises, will also help to a good extent.
Key Takeaways With Remote Team Management
Before we wrap up, we offer a quick look at how you can effortlessly manage your remote team and ensure success and productivity.
- Make an effort to know your employees. A few minutes of casual talk will build a good rapport.
- Create proper communication channels and keep them open, honest, and transparent.
- Never fail to appreciate and recognize achievements at work. Use your communication platform to announce such achievements to your entire workforce.
- Establish clear metrics, timelines, and schedules for your remote team to adhere to.
Done right, remote team management can be a win-win situation for everyone!