As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, remote work is becoming more common. However, managing remote teams is likely to prove challenging even for companies with only a few remote employees.
Challenges of Managing Remote Teams
There are many benefits to having remote teams, but there are also some challenges to managing them:
Managers may worry that remote employees won’t work as hard or efficiently as they should, while employees may need help contacting management for support and communication. Employees who work remotely may feel that their managers don’t understand their needs and are, therefore, unsupportive of their efforts to complete their tasks.
Working remotely may present a different set of responsibilities than those at work. Remote teams may need more guidance and clear instructions to accomplish objectives, respond to communications, or attend virtual meetings.
Most remote workers report being more productive when they work from home, but some employees aren’t comfortable working from home. It may be difficult for those employees to work without in-person supervision. They may need additional support or innovative ways to track time and progress to stay on track.
When teams work remotely, communication can be challenging. Staying up to date is more straightforward when employees come to the office every morning, whether before meetings or around the water cooler. Face-to-face engagement isn’t possible in remote work environments. Engagement and communication must be intentional.
Due to the time zone difference, scheduling a call or a video meeting is a big challenge working remotely. In addition, independent contractors whose work schedules are inconsistent can make scheduling difficult. Knowing where your participants live and their schedules are crucial to finding a convenient time for everyone.
Regular human interaction is easy to take for granted when workers don’t have an office full of people to interact with daily. Unfortunately, one of the most common complaints of remote workers is loneliness. A sense of isolation from others can negatively impact people’s mental and physical well-being and sense of belonging to the organization. Anxiety and depression, unproductive work performance, and even a desire to leave the company may result from social isolation.
Solutions for Managing Remote Teams
Here are some best practices that may help with managing remote teams:
- Create project milestones with precise deadlines and hold regular check-ins to discuss progress and potential obstacles.
- Establish clear priorities and performance goals early and create well-documented procedures. Additionally, setting realistic expectations for attending meetings and responding to work emails and texts after hours is smart.
- Track remote employee productivity. Setting up metrics for how much work should be done daily is one way to do this.
- Communicate clear responsibilities. Productivity in any workplace depends on predictability and structure. Create that structure by defining clear roles and responsibilities, setting clear timetables, and keeping everyone advised on who is doing what.
- Establish regular communication. Share your calendar, so remote workers know when you’re available for short sessions. Team communication tools like Slack can facilitate communication across a variety of channels.
- Build and maintain social connections. Maintain a sense of normalcy by organizing remote interactions, opening a fun chat channel, or simply having coffee together virtually. While you’re together, be sure to listen and offer encouragement and emotional support.
Cloud-based Collaboration Tools and Training
Cloud-based collaboration platforms, such as Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom, can help you overcome the challenges of managing remote teams.
Your team can work remotely without interruption and more efficiently with cloud-based platforms.
However, collaboration tools won’t help if your employees don’t utilize them. You lose opportunities, time, and money by not maximizing the tools available to your team.
Technology may be marketed as user-friendly, but employees still need training. Many people need help adjusting to new technology. Training also helps prevent first-time users from making common mistakes.
Meet Me In The Cloud can help you with training. We have delivered more than a quarter-million classes worldwide since 2012. We aim to ensure everyone is comfortable and enthusiastic about your new collaboration suite, regardless of experience level or technical expertise.
Meet Me In The Cloud can turn your digital collaboration tools into productivity engines. At any point in your collaboration journey, we partner with you to fully adopt your preferred technology tools. To get started, contact our experts today. 1-866-221-3221