With remote work options becoming a key factor in job satisfaction and employee retention, more and more companies are turning toward reducing their costs and improving productivity through introducing remote teams. This change, however, can quickly turn into a nightmare without proper management.
Here are the five most important challenges to plan for when looking to onboard a remote team.
Traditional Recruitment Approach
When it comes to a remote workforce, the necessary competencies and characteristics for a successful hire are much different from those required for on-site employees.
To begin with, keep in mind that your employees will be working much more independently. Therefore, it is best to seek potential hires with an entrepreneurial mindset, capable of managing their own time and staying focused without physical oversight and a push from an in-office team.
The old “out of sight, out of mind” adage can often be deadly for managing a remote team. Without the unofficial support network of a shared workspace, employees can often feel disconnected from the company’s core values, mission, and vision.
To avoid this, you need to dedicate time to re-creating personal interactions in a virtual environment, and make sure that remote employees are aware of their role within the company’s big picture. Fostering a team environment when your employees are thousands of miles from each other is a challenging but necessary component of managing a successful remote team.
With employees checking in from different parts of the world and different time zones, communication channels can get fuzzy very easily.
By relying on different tools available online, you can build a sound communication infrastructure that will prevent this from happening. For instance, instead of using email to exchange deliverables, you can implement a sharing platform like Dropbox or Google Drive. Similarly, there is a myriad of group messaging platforms that you can introduce to keep all your team’s communication in one place.
In a physical office, judging whether an employee has understood what they need to be doing is as simple as taking a peek at their screen. This is not the case in remote teams, which is why defining accountability, deliverables and expectations beforehand is a crucial aspect of remote team management.
The “what, how, and when” of each task need to be clear to every team member before they start working, to avoid waste of time for the employee and waste of resources for the company. Using project management tools like Trello can be of immense help in keeping the employees up to date about what’s expected of them.
Even if you overcome all of the challenges mentioned above, the harsh reality of hiring remote employees is that you can have no idea whether what they are billing you is an accurate representation of how much work they actually put in.
Opting for a time-tracking software such as Time Doctor allows you to stay on top of your employees’ work process and compensate for the lack of oversight that you naturally have with an in-office team.
Managing a remote team is not easy. But, when done right, it can bring enormous benefits to the company, ranging from a happier workforce to dramatic cost savings. Stay aware of these potential obstacles and you will manage your high-performing, cost-reducing remote team all the way to the top.