How to manage a remote team? RoveTek’s tips and cases
Managing Remote Teams: Challenges and Tips to Overcome Them
Remote work is no longer a matter of preference but a necessity. The reason behind its newfound prominence lies in the many advantages it offers both employers and employees. As such, managing remote teams has become an essential skill set employers must possess to thrive in this evolving business environment.
Leading companies were already gearing toward integrating long-term or even permanent options for remote work into their systems before Covid-19 accelerated the practice. According to a Buffers survey, approximately 97% of respondents aim for remote work opportunities throughout their career paths, attesting that embracing this paradigm shift is imperative.
That said, communication is one of the biggest obstacles to face when managing remote teams. The distance between team members often results in varying interpretations of information shared, translating into unwarranted delays or differing opinions among colleagues. Productivity tracking represents another issue, given that managers struggle with determining work progress and adherence to set timelines without physical observation of their staff’s activities.
To succeed in running efficient operations remotely, mastering management skills from afar becomes paramount – something in which RoveTek is an expert. Here is a series of helpful tips on best practices for achieving productivity and efficiency in remote work that RoveTek’s team of experienced professionals believe can guide you toward success in the sector.
4 Remote Work Benefits for Employees
It’s no secret that remote work has surged in popularity in recent times, and rightfully so. Working from home has several perks, including a few key benefits for employees:
1. Control over Work Schedules
Offering employees access to remote work gives them greater freedom to allocate time dedicated to completing assigned tasks. As per this research on remote work, professionals who carry out duties remotely experience an elevated level of workforce satisfaction, surpassing office-going staff by as much as 24%.
Much of this divergence stems from the increased flexibility of managing one’s schedule while engaged in a remote arrangement within a given organization. Engaged workers operating remotely can choose when they want to work and have optimal productivity periods for specific projects rather than being confined within traditional office settings. This freedom creates a healthier work-life balance, reduces job stress, and improves overall mental well-being.
2. Custom Workspace and Autonomy
Remote working enables individuals to tailor their workspace according to their preferences and needs for optimal productivity. Individuals can work from any location worldwide at will, unlike traditional offices where one has limited control over environmental factors, such as lighting, sanitation, or seating arrangement.
Remote workers may customize every aspect of their workspace — the type of desk, chair, and lighting, which significantly determines workflow efficacy.
The positive psychological effects of a pleasant workspace on employee well-being cannot be overemphasized. Comfortable surroundings translate into heightened job satisfaction levels and better work performance. Everyone benefits, as working remotely affords individuals unparalleled autonomy, allowing them to switch up the scenery whenever needed.
3. Health Improvement
Undoubtedly, remote work can positively influence an employee’s physical and mental state. Remote work does away with the need for daily commutes, which can cause concerns about high-stress levels, insufficient exercise opportunities, and even exposure to pollution.
Working remotely allows team members the flexibility to avoid all these challenges altogether. Besides, they can utilize extra time usually spent commuting on self-care-based activities such as exercising and supporting their mental health through meditation.
4. Cutting on Commuting Costs and Additional Expenses
Remote workers enjoy financial benefits that rarely come by with traditional office jobs. For starters, they don’t have to spend any cash traveling since there’s no need for it! No parking fees or gasoline bills either. Moreover, unlike traditional office-based workers who feel pressured into buying expensive suits or formal wear — remote workers don’t have those expenses either!
In response to the challenges posed by COVID-19, companies have had to pivot towards more flexible working arrangements, including remote work options designed with a focus on workers’ safety and well-being. The success of these measures has been demonstrated through key indicators like increased productivity levels, decreased costs, and improved employee morale.
Technological advancements have also played a significant role in enabling effective remote work operations. Technology makes it easier than ever before for employees to stay connected with their colleagues while working from wherever they are. Many employees have personally experienced the benefits of working remotely, with an increasing preference towards a long-term transition.
7 Main Challenges of Remote Work
Remote work has become a viable option for professionals seeking an alternative approach to traditional office-based roles. As such, here are the most significant challenges caused by the widespread adoption of remote working and the recommendations on how best they can be addressed proactively.
1. Gradual Decrease in Productivity
As remote working becomes more commonplace, one significant hurdle organizations face is decreasing productivity among their team members. This is due to some at-home responsibilities like childcare or family-oriented activities that interfere with accomplishing tasks assigned by managers or colleagues.
Furthermore, although technology has helped overcome physical distance — through video conferencing or email communication methods — it cannot synchronize personal connections between team members. This results in feelings of loneliness, ultimately affecting an individual’s productivity output.
Clear expectations & guidelines need to be established for those unaccustomed to home-based working structures. Workers should also be provided with helpful tools such as project management software or virtual task boards, ensuring effective feedback & support opportunities.
2. Lack of Engagement
Remote work isn’t always smooth sailing. It has its own set of challenges that can impact employee engagement levels negatively. This is especially true when co-workers feel detached from the organization’s identity or team rapport due to physical distance factors at play between them or technical issues such as a poor internet connection or lack thereof. To mitigate these setbacks, an employer must emphasize effective communication channels that enable seamless collaborations between different divisions within the organization.
Setting up regular meetings where progress updates occur periodically via video conferences helps bolster camaraderie and boost morale. Also, including virtual events like icebreakers or trivia quizzes themed per department goes a long way in motivating and uniting remote staff.
3. Bad Communication
Working remotely can be great for flexible schedules and less time commuting, but it’s not always easy for employees regarding communication. For example, having a solid working relationship or getting quick answers to questions is difficult without regular face-to-face chats with coworkers. Some even miss important details if co-workers forget to add them in emails or other communication tools.
Managers can create clear policies on when people should be available online (and what channels they prefer) and could arrange virtual meetings using video conferencing tools. Companies can thrive with some assistance from training sessions focusing on how best to interact in remote work.
4. No Team Building Activities
The secret to creating a thriving work environment includes excellent teamwork skills within the workspace. Carrying out such an activity remotely proves problematic since there needs to be direct human contact among coworkers. This might hinder the development of confidence and companionship between one another while at work.
Organizations may look into prioritizing engagements through online platforms where employees could have such opportunities. These include engaging in fun-filled gaming sessions and group video chat rooms. Such activities facilitate bonding experiences while working from home.
5. Social Isolation
Remote work presents one fundamental challenge — social isolation. Remote employees may feel disconnected from their colleagues & corporate environment causing loneliness or feelings of isolation. This sense of disconnection leads them down an unhealthy path, affecting their physical & emotional well-being and decreasing productivity & job satisfaction.
Employers must prioritize connecting their remote employees through regular check-ins, virtual team-building activities, and encouraging informal communication. The balance between work & life also plays a vital role in supporting mental wellness by preventing burnout.
6. Insufficient Access to Information
Employees may struggle with obtaining crucial information or resources to perform their duties effectively when working remotely. Instead of having quick face-to-face interactions with coworkers or easy access to shared files, remote workers face potential barriers that lead to excessive delays and growing frustration.
Employers must give remote staff members access to tools and other necessary resources for efficient collaboration.
7. Different Schedules and Timezones
Managing different time zones can be a nightmare when you’re part of a globally dispersed team that needs frequent communication. For example, imagine that your team members are based in New York, London, and Sydney. At 9:00 AM in New York, it’s already noon for your colleagues based in London, while those in Sydney are already in bed since it’s almost midnight.
Such conflicting schedules can disrupt effective communication, leading to decision-making delays. Moreover, having no one available from the opposite side of the globe during your workday could cause unwanted lags that ultimately impact productivity.
Extended periods spent working outside normal hours could lead to stress and burnout exacerbated by the demands of dealing with various time zones. For remote teams to operate successfully, precise communication protocols must be established when collaborating across different time zones. Integrating project management tools that facilitate immediate collaboration is vital in keeping the workflow consistent and efficient. A shared calendar displaying each teammate’s availability (per their local timezone) can also contribute towards avoiding scheduling conflicts.
6 Tips to Manage a Remote Team Like a Pro
RoveTek has significant experience managing remote teams and has gathered essential tips to help you efficiently manage a remote team. Here are 6 tips to help you create an effective remote team that achieves your goals with the right approach.
1. Arrange Regular Trainings and Zoom Conferences on Remote Work Specifics
Lack of knowledge and training on remote work specifics can cause significant difficulties for remote teams. To ensure your team members possess the skills and knowledge necessary to work remotely, scheduling regular training and Zoom conferences is crucial. The training should cover the tools and platforms you use for communication and collaboration and guidelines for remote work.
At RoveTek, we provide our team members with plenty of guidance on how we plan to work remotely while discussing the tools to use for management purposes.
2. Provide Efficient Communication Channels
When managing remote teams successfully, open communication ensures everyone stays on the same page. The right technology is essential for efficient communication channels and collaboration among team members. Popular options include Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet.
Another helpful strategy is conducting daily stand-ups since they encourage accountability by demanding employees showcase daily results. Still, it’s wise to stay moderate with monitoring since too much surveillance can reduce productivity when working remotely.
3. Don’t Neglect Remote Bonding
Remote working can often lead to feelings of disconnection, which is why cultivating a shared sense of purpose within your team is vital. To achieve this objective, employers should consider implementing remote bonding activities such as online Christmas celebrations or organizing pizza parties for their staff living far away.
Small gestures like sending thoughtful presents also go a long way towards fostering community regardless of the distance. These gestures create an atmosphere that inspires greater collaboration.
4. Leverage the Best Technology Tools
Managing a remote team is no cakewalk on its own, but thankfully, technological advancements have made this process less cumbersome. Project management tools like Trello, Asana, and Jira help with task allocation and progress tracking.
The best part? Development-related projects also have suitable tools, such as Kunban, offering an organized approach to handling them effortlessly. At RoveTek, we adopt the Scrum methodology, dividing projects into “sprints” lasting for a week or two. These sprints are then managed through our efficient management system, allowing easy progress tracking.
By integrating technology tools into your team management process, you’ll see a visible boost in productivity and output quality — making work effortless!
5. Set Rules for Reporting
Successful management of remote teams relies heavily on maintaining consistent communication channels. Establishing clear protocols for regular reporting can strengthen accountability among team members while promoting transparency throughout the project cycle.
Setting up routine daily reports and periodic weekly summaries is also vital. It ensures individuals remain engaged in their responsibilities while offering insight into larger-scale advancements the entire remote team network makes.
6. Have 1-on-1 Video Calls with Employees
Creating a strong sense of cohesion within remote teams depends significantly on establishing routine feedback exchanges between managers and personnel. Engaging in periodic private video calls provides valuable opportunities to assess performance and provide guidance on areas that require improvement.
Demonstrating empathy by being receptive to any issues or ideas shared can go a long way toward nurturing positive relationships with staff members.
Competent Remote Team Management for Your Development Teams
Effective team management strategies have become important as we move inexorably towards a future where remote work is increasingly common. Remote teams can maintain high productivity levels and achieve corporate objectives while being physically dispersed across different geographic locations and time zones.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote workers are seeing a new era of promise. Businesses have discovered positive benefits to working remotely, which opens up more opportunities for employees who enjoy this arrangement. As such, you can anticipate an increase in full-time and freelance roles entirely online.
To make this shift successful, businesses must adapt by investing resources into communication tools and developing new processes to ensure everything runs smoothly. Employees will need help with training to understand how best practices apply when working from home. The company culture needs shifting, too, if they hope to embrace the possibilities offered by flexible working hours. Clearly, if all these elements come together correctly, then the future of remote work holds much promise.