Working from home and hybrid work models are no longer temporary, and this work model has signified a paradigm shift. Unfortunately, while remote and hybrid work models have several benefits, most employers and managers lack the necessary training and experience to manage remote teams.
Unlike physical workspaces, running a remote team requires managers and team leaders to be deliberate and purposeful with their management practices. Remote managers face the following challenges when handling remote teams:
Clear communication is at the center of the success of remote teams. Remote work models make it difficult for managers to gather employee input on various work-related engagements. Communicating remotely also makes it challenging to foster open discussions, primarily if you rely on traditional emails, which are overly formal and don’t facilitate quick conversations.
Remote managers can overcome communication challenges by creating dedicated communication platforms. They should ensure that departmental employees, team leaders, and freelancers working on the same projects communicate effectively at all times.
Internal communication tools such as Slack are useful for solving this challenge. Regardless of the communication tool of choice, ensure that it fosters effective two-way communication and remote teams don’t feel isolated.
Tracking employee productivity in a physical workspace is simple, but knowing what your remote team has accomplished is a whole other endeavor.
Remote managers should find ways of managing their remote teams’ productivity without breaching privacy or micromanaging employees. Determining if your remote employees are being underutilized or overworked might prove challenging. Fortunately, with the best management tool, remote leaders can track employee productivity in different ways.
For instance, you can set metrics outlining the tasks that employees should complete every day or week. Productivity tools make it easy to monitor employee productivity and prevent burnout resulting from diminished work-life balance.
Building the right company culture takes time and requires hiring suitable candidates. In physical offices, company culture often takes shape without much influence from managers. However, this can’t work with remote teams. You will need a focused and intentional effort to develop company culture with remote teams.
Like other business initiatives, creating a company culture with remote teams requires a well-laid out plan that starts from the top. For instance, if you want a culture that embraces open communication, introduce a “virtual open door” policy, allowing remote teams to communicate openly with everyone, including CEOs. For a fun company culture, schedule outdoor events or virtual movie nights.
In the current remote and hybrid models, managers may be working with on-site and remote employees simultaneously. In such situations, one group might be benefiting more than the other. The best solution is for managers to ensure that they handle both teams fairly.
For instance, on-site teams enjoy meals during weekly meetings, and find ways of extending the same to remote teams. Similarly, if remote teams enjoy flexible working schedules, make sure your on-site team also enjoys some flexibility.
Cyber security risks, lack of motivation, and lengthy decision-making processes are other main challenges facing remote work. Since resuming business as usual might be impossible, businesses should be flexible and make these changes in the work environment a new norm.