Managing Remote Teams Effectively: Tips for Navigating the Evolving Work Landscape
What do you mean by remote teams?
Remote teams mean a cohort of employees working from various locations around countries, cities and even continents. The concept of remote teams has come into being with the increased digitisation of tools and applications. Today, remote teams are an important part of the global workforce (Larson et al. 2020). With the adoption of cloud-based technology and agile systems, organisations can quickly adapt to remote work structures. For instance, when giving opportunities to people working from remote locations, the corporations that take the lead are Twitter and Shopify.
Many benefits are brought for both employees and enterprises through remote teams. However, if digitisation is still nascent, managers managing remote teams will likely encounter challenges.
Handing remote teams appears to be very challenging initially; however, when followed the proper way, it can be done effectively. It is thus necessary to streamline remote team communication as it helps develop effectiveness. The behaviour of the team members is influenced when the team communication is streamlined. Another factor that is considered while managing remote teams is ensuring productivity. In this regard, it is necessary to streamline the work processes (Cook, 2019). Also, implementing an organised workflow helps to deliver the outputs effectively. Employee engagement is an important aspect of remote work settings. It is necessary to engage remote teams by ensuring that all employees follow the same roadmap. The engaged employees shall be invested in their roles and contribute to the development of the organisation. Furthermore, it is necessary to heighten transparency (Cook, 2019). This enables the company to communicate its mission and values so that the remote team can understand the purpose of the work.
Advantages of having remote teams
Remote teams are advantageous in a wide variety of ways. It helps in attracting the top talents from across the world. It also saves time and money for the organisation. The turnover cost is also saved. The employees can easily remove distractions as they have the potential to create the office environment and concentrate on their tasks. According to their wish, they can also take breaks and get back to their work whenever they feel refreshed. The advantage of a remote team is that they can collaborate while enjoying more freedom. Team messaging facilitates easy communication that helps in connecting all the team members (Cook, 2019). The overhead cost, which comprises the heating, rent, cooling and electricity, can be reduced. Other expenses related to employment law can also be allayed when workers are hired remotely. Some organisations offer financial incentives for employees who work in a remote mode and reimbursement for the internet and phone. Most millennials agree that remote work is most advantageous because of the flexibility they provide.
Challenges of Managing Remote Employees
- Remote work does not follow interpersonal communication; asynchronous communication has become the heart. As email is mostly used for both internal and external communication, there needs to be more face-to-face communication. Sometimes this may give rise to disputes and conflicts, which affect the performance.
- Sometimes employees working from remote locations need help to meet deadlines and work expectations (Cook, 2019). This may happen under managers’ need for more close guidance or supervision. At the same time, the managers must decipher every employee’s work and assess their performance. This can give rise to uneven distribution of work.
- A manager may take hours to conduct meetings and keep all employees engaged. As the manager indulges in meetings for hours, he might suffer from burnout; as a result, they might need to give more time to train the employee and supervise their work in remote areas.
- Remote employees suffer isolation. Some of them lacked the motivation to work, while others were shrouded in loneliness. In the absence of interpersonal communication, the employees felt isolated. And this results in employee turnout as they do not get any opportunities.
Tips for managing remote teams effectively
- The manager needs to determine the responsibilities within a dynamic environment. He needs to set boundaries for remote workers (Rysavy and Michalak, 2020). This is because remote workers need boundaries to outline their personal and professional life. Discussing schedules with the team members and respecting their time let them know that their time is valued.
- Managers also need to encourage and embrace diversity. This is effective when maintaining a multicultural remote team (Rysavy and Michalak, 2020). The issue with multicultural teams comprises misunderstandings that might often divide the teams. Thus it is necessary to promote diversity while managing multicultural teams. This can be done by respecting every remote worker’s culture.
- Every organisation has expectations, whether they are working virtually or remotely. This will help the employees to stay focussed and enable them to achieve organisational goals (Rysavy and Michalak, 2020). Managers shall set expectations for the remote workers regarding working hours, communication system, availability, timely meetings, meeting project deadlines, scheduled meetings, and responding to emails.
- Managers also need to brush up on their communication skills. This is because many remote-working teams encounter setbacks while working on projects. Hence, proper communication makes connecting with the teams in various areas easier.
- Managers also need to help remote workers whenever they need help. This is because many unexpected problems related to the projects may arise (Rysavy and Michalak, 2020). If remote workers do t receive assistance, they will keep repeating the mistakes that will affect the outcome.
- Managers need to invest in the correct remote project management. For project management software, managers shall community within the dispersed team while keeping track of the evolution of the project (Rysavy and Michalak, 2020). In addition to this, it will also help them to track productivity while maintaining the timesheets. Discussions and managing the tasks on the task list are also regarded as significant. Interacting with employees across remote teams in various locations is also regarded as important.
- Managers shall also use technology such as Google Hangouts, Zoom and Microsoft Teams to match the remote workforce. This will help support the engagement strategies (Rysavy and Michalak, 2020). In addition, rules of engagement can be established, making remote work more effective. This comprises video conferences for meetings and daily check-ins.
- Encouraging social interaction also plays a major role in managing remote people effectively. The manager in charge of the remote team shall ensure that no team members shall suffer isolation (Rysavy and Michalak, 2020). This can be done by the adoption of effective technologies that help in the creation of engagement among employees. The manager can create forums and platforms all remote employees can share their concerns and ideas. Besides this, employee groups can be created, which helps build community, thereby helping create more inclusive and equitable workplaces.
- Managers shall always look for an opportunity of collaborating with remote employees. Instead of assigning one employee for a project, a manager can assign one project to a group of employees, which helps accomplish the project in less time. Not only this, but it also helps in promoting team collaboration and engagement. The manager needs to invest in remote collaboration software to make collaboration easier.
- Besides conducting online meetings, managers also need to arrange physical meetings. There is a certain significance of physical meetings that an online meeting cannot provide. This can be done by organising summits in different locations where employees of respective regions can attend. In addition, remote team-building activities can also be created where ideas can be shared among the team members.
- Managers shall allow remote workers to share their ideas. Organisations such as Amazon allow employees to put forward their ideas involved in the decision-making process. Correct communication channels can be followed to keep the team productive and engaged. The managers can adopt various tools such as messaging apps, email and video chat. Some of the most advantageous communication channels are chart tools, project management tools, video conferencing tools, content collaboration tools and file-sharing tools.
- Managers are required to stay attentive to the work hours and time zones. The remote working team comprises a large pool of talent. Managers shall not interrupt any of the employees after the time is over, as it will impact their personal life and lead to burnout. In this regard, the managers must address their needs and evaluate their performance during working hours. For instance, if the manager is a Mac user, he can get access to the extensions for managing the time zones. One of the simplistic Mac tools is Menu World Time which is effective for managers. Another handy app is the globe tool. Remote managers are enabled by teamwork for setting custom languages and the working house of the employees who work remotely.
- The manager shall resort to daily check-ins to inspire communication among remote employees. This helps in recreating the daily communication among people. In addition, the instant catch-up meetings offer an advantageous opportunity for everyone to develop an idea about what the other team members are working on. One of the significant responsibilities of the manager is to ensure that all members connect during the daily check-ins.
- Larson, B.Z., Vroman, S.R. and Makarius, E.E., 2020. A guide to managing your (newly) remote workers. Harvard Business Review, 18(2), pp.27-35.
- Cook, S., 2019. Making a success of managing and working remotely. IT Governance Ltd.
- Rysavy, M.D. and Michalak, R., 2020. Working from home: How we managed our team remotely with technology. Journal of Library Administration, 60(5), pp.532-542.
Ans: Remote workers are those hired by a company but in the absence of a conventional working environment. This working mode is based on the notion that work can be done from any particular space except within the confines of the office. Employees working remotely have the flexibility to work; hence they can balance their professional and personal life.
Ans: Remote workers experience more autonomy and increased flexibility. As a result, they can contribute to higher productivity. Workers save the commutation cost by working from the comfort of their homes.
Ans: Mangers encounter challenges while managing remote employees. There may be a need for more communication and scope to collaborate with the employees. In addition to this, managers have to deal with burnout and employee isolation. Focussing on retention and meeting attendance poses challenges for the managers.
Ans: Creating better connections with the remote teams to facilitate interaction during meetings. For assessing situations, staff meetings and daily check-ins shall be briefed. Following up with remote employees is also regarded are essential, as it keeps them motivated and engaged.
Ans: Amazon supports remote employees. Besides this, the organisation also support a hybrid working mode that provides flexibility to the employees.
Author Bio: Meet Mark Edmonds, a devoted Academic Assignments professional who conveys first rate management assignment help. With a sharp comprehension of compelling remote team management, Mark’s bits of knowledge resound in “Managing Remote Teams Effectively: Tips for Navigating the Evolving Work Landscape.” His obligation to improving work elements through extensive systems highlights his part in molding fruitful team management practices for the future.