The pandemic has forced many companies to change the way they work. Knowing how to manage remote teams is key to the future of the global job market, so doing it effectively should be paramount for those organizations that implement it. Read on to learn about the challenges and keys to managing remote teams.
The pandemic has expanded remote job openings. Organizations, teams and individuals are experimenting more with virtual work to stay active, while at the same time benefiting from expanded work reach.
So far there is nothing to say that this new work format will be permanently adopted, but it will be part of the new organizational models.
The preparation of individuals and companies must be greater in knowledge and skills due to the challenges faced and the competition in the market. However, it is the leaders of the latter who are responsible for the effective management of the team, promoting integral development in order to contribute positively to the members and the community.
Recruiting and retaining talent is paramount for modern organizations, finding the right worker and hiring him/her is the recruiter’s job, and today, there are agencies and platforms dedicated to finding the global worker for a company’s vacancy with specific requirements.
Change is forcing organizations to open up to new international paradigms that break down physical and time boundaries.
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Challenges of working with a remote team
Any organization that faces remote work usually has to overcome several challenges that can have a great impact on the company.
To this must be added factors such as mental health, work-life balance and the motivation of individual employees.
In order to overcome these challenges and provide excellent management or support to your team, it is important to first identify the challenges your employees are likely to face:
- Little interaction. When working remotely, lack of personal interaction with managers and among team members can lead to a sense of isolation and lack of contact, even misunderstandings.
- Difficulty in accessing information. The complexities of the Internet, especially in underdeveloped countries, can make it difficult to access information. In addition, remote communication can make employees feel lost or unfamiliar with the tasks to be performed.
- Isolation or feelings of loneliness. Employees may feel isolated or lonely working remotely because they lack the social or informal interaction that working in an office provides.
- Time zone differences. Not all remote teams are in the same geographic area. This can make it difficult to schedule meetings or communicate immediately about a specific task or general project updates.
- Distractions at home. When at home, children, pets, television or cell phones are distractions that can negatively impact the productivity of a remote worker.
- Overwork and fatigue. On the other hand, employees who work from home tend to lengthen their workday and skip necessary breaks due to the aforementioned distractions, which, at the same time, can cause a lot of fatigue in the person.
- Security. Even if the employees follow the company’s security guidelines, since it is not regulated from a central office and by professionals in the area, there may be information leaks or data unprotection, either by the IP, the Internet or carelessness of a worker who leaves the interface open from his computer.
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Keys to lead remote teams
Despite all the obvious challenges of managing teams that work remotely, here are some tips to help you keep your team members connected and motivated and to efficiently manage information:
1. Maintain daily communication with your team
During remote work, good communication among the team is essential to maintain motivation and obtain the desired results. This factor applies to each of the employees or leaders that are part of the organization.
Daily communication can save a lot of time and hassle. Working remotely does not mean that business meetings should no longer be organized.
Find a time each day to have a brief team teleconference, delegate a team member to collect the discussion points, set a time that benefits everyone, whether it’s a group or individual meeting, and discuss what was accomplished and what was left to be done.
This will help to keep the entire team informed and will lead to informal conversations that bring the team together.
2. Unifies communications
Today there are millions of ways to communicate with your team, but not all of them are efficient for everything. Consider the best way to communicate with them. Try to unify communications through one tool or try to use as few as possible. It is advisable to choose communication channels that allow you to communicate in an organized and efficient way.
Make sure these communication tools work efficiently and that everyone knows how to use them.
Establish communication rules so that professional and personal messages are not mixed, so that respect is always maintained and misunderstandings are avoided.
3. Set realistic goals and expectations in advance.
Setting goals that will grow the company can be a challenge when working remotely.
Employees waste time when they have to set their own responsibilities. Be sure to communicate your expectations and the organization’s objectives. Don’t make assumptions, not everyone understands or is aligned to the same objectives, so make it clear what you want to achieve.
Set smart, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals.
Communicate and don’t let your remote members feel isolated from the rest of the team or wait around and do nothing. Talking ahead of time will empower the team and they will know what they need to do before tasks are even assigned.
4. Include your team in decision making
Despite the distance, encourage your team to share their opinion, to propose ideas and to take on the management of a task or project.
When you include employees in decision-making, they feel important and taken into account, which increases motivation. This is excellent for exchanging views on ongoing or future projects.
Listening to your employees is essential for their professional development and for them to feel part of your company. In addition, these points of view, opinions and contributions can be positive and beneficial to the organization.
5. Plans collaborative projects and encourages participation
Create projects where different teams collaborate to further integrate them into the organization. It also encourages the participation of all members, regardless of their rank.
Make sure team members know how their work fits into the big picture of the company.
6. It offers facilities and flexibility to workers
A key aspect of remote work is flexibility, which relieves pressure from workers. Providing facilities and flexibility stimulates an increase in their performance.
Offering freedom of working hours or providing some incentive, in many cases financial, increases both participation and work motivation.
7. Acknowledges efforts publicly and demonstrates their importance
For an excellent workflow, it is important that you take an interest in the state of mind of your employees. Don’t restrict communication to professional topics only. Show that you care about them, cultivate this relationship and let them get to know you too by sharing things about you.
At holiday times, try to do more than just send a greeting. When workers don’t see recognition for their efforts, they begin to look for other avenues.
Also show gratitude for their excellent work, even if it is minimal, this can have a positive impact.
Remote teams often do not receive verbal encouragement that is quite significant in the long run.
Regularly acknowledging their contribution publicly, such as in a team meeting or team email, helps them feel that their efforts are valued. You don’t need to go out of your way, but you do need to offer the gesture.
8. Focus on results and not on activities
Do not manage working hours as a metric to measure productivity. This figure does not count all the work. Instead, focus more on results. Define what you want your team to achieve and give them ownership of their work.
9. Become a mentor
The best managers provide mentoring by helping their teams gain more knowledge. Helping employees and their skills prepares them for more responsibility, increases engagement and retention.
Plans individual team development and provides constructive feedback to improve their tasks.
10. Train the team
94% of employees say they are willing to stay longer with companies that invest in their learning. They invest in training or other tangible resources to help them bridge gaps.
A remote work team must have sufficient knowledge to deal with an environment full of distractions such as the home as well as those more specific ones that allow them to perform their activities efficiently.
If your company uses specific niche or advanced tools, provide related training.
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Important tools for working with remote equipment
When working remotely, companies have an obligation to make work easier for their employees. Thus, there are many tools on the market that have a great impact on the organization’s operations and workflow.
As mentioned above, it is important to unify communications, a tool will improve communication efficiency and information transfer. Some offer the possibility of creating groups and making video calls, others only offer chat and save important messages for easier search. The idea is to find one that suits your needs and the style of your team.
Cloud storage is also the most important investment for organizations offering remote work as this is where employees will access information and upload work.
Other tools such as time management or task assignment are also often present in companies that work remotely, although these are not as significant as the previous two.
Companies have had to change the way they work due to the pandemic. This represents a big challenge for managers and those companies that are not familiar with digital transformation.
Learn how to manage remote teams as this will continue to impact the world of work for years to come. For tools to improve your remote work processes, count on Gestion Direct. Call us now at +34 937 37 75 25 or email us at email@example.com and ask for our plans and services.