Statistics from July 2018 report that employees who work from home have grown a whopping 140% since 2005.
This doesn’t include the self-employed, reinforcing the fact that more and more businesses are opening doors to employees telecommuting.
But with this new trend comes new challenges. Specifically, how can businesses effectively handle remote management?
7 Challenges of Remote Management and How to Tackle Them
Below we tackle some of the common struggles that arise with this flexible work option, as well as some tips on how to manage them.
1. Establishing Efficient Communication
The key to any good project is effective communication. Yet this is the most common challenge remote teams face as they try to work together from remote locations.
Unlike an office setting where you can call a quick meeting or knock on someone’s office door, remote teams face the challenge of varying time zones and isolated workspaces. While the home setting can increase productivity, we often get used to the comfort of working solo.
As a result, we communicate less. It’s a challenge that can lead to mistakes, assumptions, and inefficient execution of regular tasks. But how do you combat this?
Thankfully, the digital age provides us with multiple forms of communication, from instant messaging programs to video conferencing. Make communication a habit by scheduling regular meetings, such as morning team alignment meetings.
By making steady communication a part of one’s daily work schedule, you ensure that everyone stays on the same page.
2. Creating a Connection Between Team Members
Another challenge that comes with remote teams is building a sense of connection. This is important in every work setting. By fostering positive relationships and connections amidst team members, you build trust and cohesion.
This not only improves communication but also morale. But how do you create this sense of unity when everyone is so far apart? There are a couple of ways, including:
- Getting together for team building activities (if everyone lives relatively close)
- Using a high-quality video conferencing tool to create a sense of coming together during meetings and collaborations
- Create a sense of company culture and unity by fostering feelings of value and trust by having meetings to improve team efficiencies together
The more inclusive you are in your everyday activities and decisive actions within the team, the more close-knit those team members will become. The “us” approach creates unity.
3. Dealing with Varying Locations and Time Zones
Not all companies hire remote employees in the same country, much less the same time zone. Outsourcing and using the web to find talent opens one’s prospects on a global scale.
But how do you work efficiently with people in different time zones? For some businesses, it can as simple as setting concrete work hours all employees have to follow, no matter their location.
This is pretty easy when the difference is an hour or two, but if part of your team is on the other side of the globe, this can prove to be a challenge. In circumstances like this, it’s best to establish team alignment meetings at a universal hour everyone is available or record meetings if certain members cannot attend.
You can also establish deadlines for specific milestones to ensure projects move forward on a set schedule.
4. Establishing and Maintaining a Productive Work-Life Balance
Working at home is a fantastic experience for many employees, but the lack of a separate office setting often blurs the lines between work life and personal life. When this happens, employees run the risk of burning out.
In order to maintain a healthy work-life balance, make sure you reinforce the work hours. Encourage your employees to stay on point with their deadlines, but to sign off when the day is done.
Don’t expect your employees to be constantly connected by checking emails and answering calls after hours. Your team will work harder if they maintain a clear line between being on the clock and off.
5. Facilitating Inclusive and Productive Collaborations
Even with regular meetings checking in on everyone’s responsibilities, maintaining a collaborative environment between remote employees is difficult. The out of sight, out of mind environment makes it all too easy for employees to isolate themselves.
Make it a point to create a team environment through engaging activities. This includes teleconference or video conference meetings that:
- Plan project execution
- Include the team and client in the same meeting so that everyone is on the same page and can share their insight
- Address concerns or challenges and work together to create a solution
- Review a project to weigh its success and discuss areas of opportunities
Inclusion is key to good collaboration, so never leave your team out of the loop. Make a conscious effort to work together throughout a project’s execution.
6. Tracking Performance
While trust is important in a work environment, an important aspect of remote management is making sure your team is being productive. Monitoring an employee’s productivity from results alone only goes so far.
In order to gauge productivity as well as see how light or heavy their workload is, use a time tracking program. Many project management systems come with this feature. Some even allow you to look at individual employee schedules to see how their daily workload appears.
Research your options to find the right features for your remote management needs. Not only will it help you manage more efficiently, but it will also help your employees gauge their own efficiency.
7. Bridging Cultural or Language Differences
One of the more unique aspects of remote teams is that it can bring together a diverse group of individuals. This is both a benefit and a challenge. While it opens doors to new perspectives and ideas, it can also create communication challenges.
Inadvertent offenses due to cultural differences and difficulty bridging language barriers are two of the most common hurdles. Start by being open and inviting to your team about sharing their background and unique cultural differences.
Also, be patient if there is a language barrier. Make the effort to be as detailed as possible with your instructions and communication. This will help avoid any misunderstandings.
You’ll find communication is the key to every challenge on this list. Master it and you set everyone up for success.
Connect Your Team with the Right Tools
Effective and efficient remote management requires clear communication. Set your team up for success by providing them with the right tools for the job. Here at Beacon Telecom we offer multiple packages to suit your company’s infrastructure and needs.
Explore our solutions online, from mobile call solutions to video conferencing and more. With custom packages, you’ll find we can tailor to your unique needs.
Contact us today for more information.