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Facing and Overcoming the Challenges of Managing Remote Teams

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When it comes to the subject of remote work, a lot of people see it differently. Some people welcome the change of pace and working in a more controlled and relaxed environment. Others see it as an inefficient way of getting things done and an absolute waste of company resources.

Paradigm Shift

Because of the pandemic, most companies have made the switch to remote work or hybrid working arrangements. While it has become a necessity, for now, understand that this shift is not temporary. Specialists and experts say that it will be the work model in a post-COVID world.

It can both be an advantage and a disadvantage, depending on how a person goes about it. This is where proper remote team management comes in. Depending on how well a manager or supervisor leads and implements the right remote work protocols and guidelines, it will either make or break the system.

When it comes to managing remote teams, challenges are always present just like they are if workers still report for work at their workplaces. You can say that these challenges are quite common in different industries. Like the challenges that an established marketing company faces are similar to those of a smaller neighborhood grocery.

But they also have specific concerns that are industry-specific. However, there are certain unique aspects to these typical workplace challenges that are more prominent in a work-from-home setup.

Top Remote Work Challenges

small business setting

Because remote work is a fairly new concept to most managers, here are some of the challenges that could give them a hard time as they remotely manage their remote teams.

Communication

Challenges in communication are nothing new in the workplace. However, the challenges are now amplified because of the present crisis. Managers don’t want to spend and waste valuable time in Zoom meetings and not get any work done. Managers should establish clear and effective lines of communication that won’t take up too much time for employees to do their actual work.

Come up with a touch-based system at the start of the shift that will allow everyone to state their accomplished tasks, their to-dos for the day, and things they need help with.

Motivation

It is easier to deal with workers when you see them in the workplace. You can easily see who’s thriving and who’s struggling thus providing the necessary coaching is quicker and more efficient. It’s not the same in a remote work setup. You won’t have an idea if one of your workers is doing okay or if something’s up.

And while managers cannot command people to be motivated and inspired, the least they can do is to provide constant supportive relationships, show them trust with their work and avoid micromanaging, give them tasks that and provide training that promotes professional and personal growth, and remind them of their purpose and value to the team.

Workload and Output

When it comes to workload and performance in a remote work setting, there are two extreme possibilities. One, achievers will work double-time to prove they are an asset to the company even if they’re working mostly unsupervised. Two, slackers will take advantage of the situation and just put out the minimum requirements.

Managers should aim for maximum productivity without ruining employees’ work-life balance. The only key here is constant communication.

Goal Setting and Decision Making

These are a lot easier to do in the workplace. It can even take place during breaks and water cooler chats. Making decisions and setting goals in a work-from-home setting need to be intentional. Managers shouldn’t just sell a decision or a goal after it has been made. Let the team be involved in the decision-making process so that they have a sense of ownership and personal stake in the company. Doing this can help boost morale and build their confidence.

Team Building

With all the restrictions set because of COVID-19, companies find it harder to conduct team-building activities. Some were able to pull it off by being creative with their online meetings. Others who were able to have outdoor in-person team-building events did so by coming up with activities and games that allow them to work as a unit but still maintain their distance from each other.

Understandably, it is a lot harder now but with a little research and creativity, you can have weekly or periodic activities that promote better relations and build greater trust as a team. Employees need it at this time as it gives them an avenue to connect and socialize with other people.

As far as remote work is concerned, collaboration and teamwork between employees and management are very important. But the way leadership works makes all the difference in the world and can be the hinge of the success of a company that utilizes a remote work setup.

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