Nowadays, businesses are more than willing to hire workers from anywhere in the world, making remote work a common practice. Further, it is the manager’s job to oversee remote teams. Managing employees at a remote location present its own unique set of challenges, not the least of which is the responsibility of providing adequate nurturing, guidance, and support to your team members. It’s a how-to guide for managers who want to work from home while still maintaining a joyful office environment.
Managing remote teams is a complex task that requires dedication and commitment from both the team members and their managers. It is important to create a healthy work-life balance for remote team members and to ensure that they have the necessary tools and support to be successful. As a manager, it is important to provide guidance and encouragement to offline working employees, as well as to have regular team meetings and check-ins to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
It is also important to create a supportive remote environment that encourages collaboration and creativity and ensures that remote team members feel included and valued. With the right strategies in place, managing remote teams can be an efficient and rewarding experience for all involved.
The problem of forced workers is frequently brought up in discussions of remote work. The entire procedure requires coordinating between individuals working on a project alone and groups of people working on a project from various nations or continents. Everyone is excited to embrace the remote work environment.
It is the manager’s job to ensure that their team remains cohesive and effective whether they are located in an office or at home. Managing a collocated team is similar to managing an onsite team in many ways; however, there are subtleties in each that you may not encounter on a daily basis. It is quite evident that remote and on-site management share many similarities but there are also key differences to consider.
WHAT ARE REMOTE EMPLOYEES/TEAMS?
Our understanding of the terminology of remote teams is that they are groups of people that collaborate on a single project while being in various physical places or time zones. When people from different locations come together to accomplish a goal, they are said to be working as a “remote team.” The term “managing remote teams” refers to a manager’s capacity to organize and oversee a group that is geographically dispersed.
Simply put, this means you’re in charge of a large team of people who are spread out over a wide area, but who all belong to the same company, answer to the same higher-ups, and are responsible for the same outcomes. The best-case scenario involves a sales team that can travel easily.
Remote working should draw up a strategy that ensures encourages team members and also effectively manage remote employees via video calls and face-to-face interaction.
Due to the dispersed nature of the team members, they are able to put in long hours. It’s challenging enough to operate remotely on your own, let alone manage a remote team. It’s no longer necessary to physically be in an office during business hours because so many people are working remotely instead. When teams aren’t in the same physical location, the rhythm of their work can shift.
It’s not hard to fathom why the percentage of people who operate remotely has risen dramatically over the past five years, from 28% to more than 60%. This strategy has been shown to increase team morale, output and resilience while also providing an extra 10.5 days of vacation time.
You are familiar with the difficulties of supervising offline workers and know how to deal with issues including project management, team management, and meeting deadlines. Advantages abound in the culture of remote work and its growing popularity.
REMOTE WORK BENEFITS FOR EMPLOYEES
For some, the option to operate remotely is a luxury; for others, it can completely alter their professional and personal life. Not having to clock in and out of an office every day can free up a lot of time (including commutes).
Here are four ways in which WFH might benefit the typical employee:
Offline workers have more flexibility
A typical workweek could end far beyond dark, with no chance of an early bedtime. It’s possible that you spend up to a quarter of your 24-hour day traveling between your home and your workplace. You won’t have much time for anything because of this, let alone “free” activities. Personal activities including housework, family time, and sleep suffer as a result.
It’s possible that employees who have the choice to work remotely are more self-motivated when it comes to time management. They are more efficient with their time since they are not chained to a desk for eight hours a day.
Offline workers have more autonomy
It’s the accumulation of these minor annoyances over time that can build up to a major source of stress, even if each one seems inconsequential on its own. If you can’t focus on your work because your neighbor is having a loud conversation about lunch or because the temperature in the office is too cold, you’re out of luck.
When given the opportunity to work from home, staff members have more leeway in arranging their personal spaces. They can choose how warm or how cool to make the office where they work each day.
They can take a break and get some air by going to a nearby coffee shop, shared office space, or even a park if they so choose.
Offline workers have better health
While eight hours of desk work may not be horrible for your health, you may be picking up cold and flu germs from your ill co-workers.
According to studies done by the United Kingdom’s Office of National Statistics, commuters who spend more than half an hour in transit each way (hello, rush hour) are more likely to experience stress and anxiety than those who spend less time in transit or who do not commute at all.
If you’re able to work from home, you probably have more time to squeeze in some exercise. Instead of wasting time in transit, you may use that time to get in a workout before or after work, or even during your break or lunch.
Offline workers save money
Putting money into your career is a need. The cost of commuting to and from work by train or car, the purchase of business casual clothing and the purchase of lunches away from the office all add up to a significant portion of our monthly budget.
Those expenses are unnecessary when working from home (or at least makes them much, much lower). Instead of buying a new outfit for every day of the week and a monthly rail pass, you can put that money toward something more important: Now that you have more free time, you can devote yourself to a cause you’re passionate about, take on a part-time job, go back to school or do whatever else you want. It might not “save” you any cash right now, but it could set you up for long-term prosperity.
REMOTE WORK BENEFITS FOR COMPANIES
The unpredictability of remote labor is upsetting to many managers and business owners. Can you determine if an employee is actually working or just chilling out at their cubicle? And what if they suddenly stop answering your messages, or worse, they just stop being online altogether? How can we measure the efficacy of production?
However, studies suggest that companies gain a lot from having remote employees.
Remote workers stick around longer
We’ve already covered how seemingly minor difficulties (including long commutes, distracting co-workers, and uncomfortable office conditions) might prompt someone to hunt for a new job; yet, working remotely can solve many of these issues.
The ability to work remotely may not make everyone happy, but it can help retain your most dedicated workers. You can keep your top performers from leaving because of a move if you allow them to work remotely.
Remote work can reduce overhead costs
The overhead costs of maintaining an office can add up quickly. The basics of cost of living include but are not limited to rent, utilities, heating, and cooling. It’s easy for the total price to balloon into a considerable figure once you start to tally everything up. Companies that let their employees work from home may choose to compensate them monetarily in a number of ways. These include providing money to set up a home office, covering the cost of a coworking membership, or paying for the employee’s home internet and phone connection.
However, the savings on rent and other overhead costs will more than offset the initial outlay for these conveniences (by a lot). When collaborating with a remote workforce it is seen that you won’t have to worry about those expenses. When you don’t have an office, you also don’t have to pay for rent or utilities.
Hiring a remote team gives you access to the best employees
A corporation is dependent on the local labor force if it sets up shop permanently in a given area. Your search for a permanent place to live may be hampered by a lack of qualified individuals in their chosen field.
You can find more qualified workers if you open up your business to remote workers. I was wondering if you knew of a top-notch candidate on the other side of the world who could be interested in telecommuting. Bring them on board as employees!
The ability to work from home is becoming increasingly important, especially among younger employees. In fact, 85% of millennials say they would be interested in working remotely full-time. Providing such a perk to your staff may increase your company’s attractiveness to new hires.
Remote workers are more productive
We’ve spent some time talking about how remote workers might have greater autonomy, but it doesn’t mean they can now slack off without their boss knowing. Remote work has the potential to increase productivity for some workers.
Telecommuting workers have more leeway to create an environment that encourages concentrated work because they are responsible for their own workstations. Furthermore, they can take more fruitful breaks of shorter duration and return to their work with fresh vigor.
The flexibility of the remote team dynamic also allows employees more freedom in their interactions with one another. The in-person meetings we’re used to may not be the best option for every team.
TRAITS OF A GREAT REMOTE MANAGER
Self-aware managers will share their preferred teaching and communication styles with their subordinates.
Feel deeply hurt by being micromanaged. Especially inexperienced offline environment managers may feel obligated to “check in” on projects more frequently because they can’t watch staff working in the same location. It’s bad that you’re doing this. Instead, you should have an open discussion with your direct report about how both of you prefer to communicate and work together.
A manager’s efforts to keep a project on schedule may be regarded by an employee as oppressive micromanagement. In a productive professional relationship, it’s important to be able to voice preferences without fear of repercussions.
To succeed as a remote manager, you need people skills like empathy and a desire to help. When communicating with an employee via text or a video conference service like Zoom, it can be difficult to put oneself in the employee’s shoes. When two people are face to face, it is much simpler to interpret their nonverbal cues. Remote managers, on the other hand, should make an effort to learn more about the satisfaction levels and preferred methods of professional growth of their direct reports.
A manager who wants to build trust among their staff must be humble, aware that employees are more than the sum of their jobs, and quick on their feet. A leader who put the needs of their followers before their own is rare and essential in a small, rural community. Managers can have an extra responsibility to set a good example for workers who are adjusting to remote work for the first time.
The preferred ways of remote management will be learned in real time by a large number of reports. Managers can win over the respect of their staff by never losing sight of the fact that it is their job to ensure the success of those under them.
Managers often have excessive workloads in many companies. That you may make up for a lost time by less-than-thorough communication with your subordinates is a common but dangerous misconception. Only the best kinds of offline handling managers bother to write down their procedures.
Texting is a polite approach to sharing information like needs, updates and responses. Direct reports benefit from this since it eliminates any potential for confusion and allows them to learn at their own speed. In order to get to the bottom of any topic and obtain a thorough understanding of it, written words are preferable because they can be reviewed and rechecked.
When leading a distributed team, it is crucial to build trust among members. Consistently providing feedback is one way a trustworthy leader of remote teams may make everyone feel like they are part of something bigger.
The key to being an effective remote leader is being able to “read” your team members like a book and adapt your management style accordingly. Some team members need regular reinforcement from the boss, while others perform better with greater freedom. The ability to probe for and cater to such preferences is crucial.
An important part of being a good remote manager is striking a balance between protecting your staff and holding them to high standards of performance. Workplace success skills include open and regular communication, relationship building, and security awareness.
CHALLENGES IN MANAGING REMOTE TEAMS
As remote work becomes the norm, the challenges of managing an offline workforce will become increasingly significant.
Some of them are given below:
Lacking the right tool for communication.
Appointing the right resources.
Missing accountability program.
Respecting everyone’s time.
Lack of defined responsibilities.
Problems with keeping tabs on employees’ productivity.
The disunity amongst the team members.
The team as a whole isn’t pulling its weight.
BEST PRACTICES TO MANAGE A REMOTE TEAM
Set Boundaries with Remote Workers
Separating work and personal life is crucial for distributed groups. There is an additional difficulty for teams working across time zones in making sure that no one is interrupted at an inopportune time. Arrange one-on-one meetings with all team members to go over schedules and show that you value their time. This is a great method to build rapport with your team and reassure them that they may ask for anything without fear of being treated as irrational.
Encourage and Embrace Diversity
Managers of globally dispersed teams are inevitably going to run into linguistic and cultural hurdles. Multicultural teams can experience high levels of stress due to misunderstandings and disagreements. Leading a diverse team that must learn to cooperate in spite of their differences is a difficult task. There are a lot of straightforward approaches you may take to achieve this goal, such as identifying the people on your global team who are most receptive to suggestions, fostering an attitude of celebrating diversity, recognizing national holidays and respecting all cultural variations.
Set Expectations Early and Clearly
Whether you’re working in an office or remotely, there are still rules you must follow. If everyone in your team knows what they’re working toward, it’s a lot easier to keep everyone on the same page.
You should set clear expectations for:
Key projects and deadlines
Appointments planned in advance
Respond to email
Brush Up on Your Online Communication Skills
While working on a project, it’s not uncommon for members of a distributed team to have trouble communicating with one another. Building interdisciplinary teams that work well together will be difficult if not impossible for those who lack strong verbal and written communication skills. In addition, fluency in communicating via digital means. Keep the initial meeting brief so the teams don’t get nervous. Mastering your verbal and written communication skills is crucial to your success in a remote work setting.
Give Them Help When They Need it
Keeping up with the needs of your entire crew might be challenging if you aren’t in plain sight. Don’t forget about them, even if they’re not physically there. Problems with a task, a teammate, or the way things are done pop up frequently in any business. Try to read the signs that an employee is giving you that they need help with something or that they aren’t feeling well.
Educate yourself on the struggles of remote management
As a manager of a remote or hybrid workforce, knowing the challenges you may face will allow you to be better prepared for them and respond to them as they happen.
Finding ways to keep employees engaged and motivated is important regardless of where they may be located. If you haven’t already, you should ask yourself a few key questions.
Lack of holistic communication due to loss of non-verbal communication
There’s a good chance you think the various technology fixes you’ve implemented to boost communication are all you need. You have probably read several studies that suggest that nonverbal communication makes up the great bulk of our interactions with one another. As a result, it’s crucial that you learn to compensate for the lack of non-verbal signs in your communication.
First, just like an in-office team, a remote one needs the same tools for communication and collaboration. Every member of the team has to be able to open up to their co-workers about the challenges they’re facing and the resources they need. With the right setup, we can turn remote workers into an asset to your company by helping you save money and boost productivity.
Managing remote employees is a complex task, but with the right strategies and support in place, it can be a rewarding and successful experience for both the managers and the team members. It is important to create a supportive environment for remote employees and to ensure that they have the necessary tools and support to be successful.
As a manager, it is important to provide guidance and encouragement to remote employees, as well as to have regular team meetings and check-ins to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Additionally, it is important to create a healthy work-life balance for remote or hybrid team members and to ensure that they feel included and valued. With the right strategies in place, managing remote teams can be an efficient and rewarding experience for all involved.