Top Challenges & Solutions When Managing Remote Employees

If there are certain hours they cannot be disturbed (doctor’s appointments, parent-teacher conferences, etc.), make sure they block it out on their calendar or tell you ahead of time. Susan R. Vroman is a lecturer of management at Bentley University. Her research interests include the impact leadership enactment has on organizational culture and employee engagement, with specific focus on supporting flexible work arrangements. Prior to her academic career, Dr. Vroman worked for over 20 years as an organizational effectiveness and strategic human resource management executive and advisor. Barbara Z. Larson is executive professor of management and director of partnerships at Northeastern’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business. Prior to her academic career, Professor Larson worked for 15 years in international finance and operations leadership, most recently as Director of International Finance at R.R.

Trello helps remote teams easily track project plans, tasks and progress so that each remote worker’s backlog is visible to everyone. Using different boards and workflows – which can be as simple as the classic “To-Do”, “Doing” and “Done” – team members can check-in on their workload with agile boards. You can add customized tags to mark task priority so no-one misses a deadline. And have a think about some of the unique remote team challenges, such as time zone difficulties, that may arise from hiring people across the world before putting your team together.

It can be difficult enough to track office-based performance, but in a remote or hybrid makes it that bit harder to stay in touch. It can become extremely difficult to keep work visible—knowing what specific people are working on, how long tasks are taking them, what they’re prioritizing and how engaged they feel. Following these best practices and leveraging workforce data effectively can make the process easier. This is an important workplace challenge to consider initially, before you begin the hiring process for your remote team. With that in mind, the best way to manage remote employees is to trust them.

How To Manage A Virtual Team And Overcome Its Challenges

By gaining insight into the ways your employees work, you can take steps to help them work wiser and ensure they are supported no matter their chosen work environment. If you are employing staff internationally and thus managing global teams you’ll need to consider the time zones in which people operate. There are tools for everything from remote team management to tracking employee goals and happiness. At The Remote Company, we believe managing remote teams is less about strict procedures and all about setting up each individual for success. Connecteam is your tool to manage employee engagement, development, and relationship. Recognize the employees you see in-house then your remote workers, or so you think.

Managing a remote team will be extremely challenging if you don’t have a set of guidelines or values that everyone understands and respects. Managing any team, remote or traditional, starts with setting clear expectations. While each person might have individual responsibilities based on their role, the entire team needs a set of guidelines that help them stay on the same page. If you’re looking for a full guide on how to manage a remote team then our insightful blog can shed even more light, just click here to get started. Create a system to evaluate your remote employee’s work so that if you are unhappy with a completed task, you can pinpoint as to why.

Each month, employees are asked questions, like what accomplishments they’re proud of, where they’re struggling and what can be improved. This is the place where our team leads listen and act when someone indicates they need a happy-hormone boost. The best way to get the most from each person is to give them a goal, allow them to freely work in their own style, show gratitude and make everyone feel cared for. We don’t subject our colleagues to productivity trackers or timers.

challenges managing a remote team

When managing virtual employees, some employers worry that the morale of their staff will be reduced when they are outside of the office. This isn’t necessarily true; in fact, many employees feel a sense of gratitude when being able to work remotely and are more inclined to work harder, but some employees will definitely struggle with motivation. We document all company-related information on Notion, so people can learn about our company.

Remote meetings may seem strange at first, but they are actually rather easy to execute. First, you’ll need to make sure that you have the right technology for remote meetings. The best device to use is an interactive whiteboard, which can be connected to people’s personal devices. Every chance he gets, he’ll spotlight his support champs—whether on Slack, in presentations, social media or other workspaces. Our support team is our most engaged team because the people in this team feel especially connected.

Top Solutions When Managing Remote Employees

From navigating long-distance collaboration and staying focused in a home office to effectively onboarding new hires without the benefit of face-to-face interaction, managing remote teams can be difficult. Luckily, following the best practices laid out below will help you solve these challenges and more. With ActivTrak, managers can access a bird’s eye view of employee activity as well as granular insights into workflows and key productivity metrics including work hours, focus time, and app usage. That kind of data helps managers better understand how their distributed teams work, pinpoint what they need to succeed, and improve productivity overall.

challenges managing a remote team

To gauge a candidate’s desire to work for us, we developed a unique way of applying. Most applicants will create a newsletter and complete an assignment. For developers, it could also entail spending a week actually working with the development team. Whatever the reason, a weak link can negatively affect the entire team.

Conducting performance reviews is good for all your employees, especially remote employees. The reviews can help you better gauge who is most worthy of advancement. You can tell employees about their projected career paths to give them direction. Reviews are also a time when you can give feedback to help employees further advance. Managing remote teams is easier with time and attendance software. Employees must clock in and clock out or record their total time worked each workday.

Every month, we organize video calls where we all talk about a topic or discuss previously announced questions. We break up our big team into different groups and informally chat in breakout rooms for about an hour. We also have quarterly creative days, where people unplug, explore and share their findings with the team. Most people choose to visit a museum, which unintentionally turned our #creative_day channel into a virtual tour of art exhibitions worldwide.

Be sure that trust is a key component of your company culture, as is your ability to really be there for your employees, no matter the location. Rescue Time to help your employees focus on tasks and stay on point. Remote employees may not realize how much time they’re wasting scrolling on social media or what tasks they’re behind on – using such apps can help shine a light on where they can boost productivity. This phenomenon extends beyond task-related work to interpersonal challenges that can emerge among remote coworkers. Research has found that a lack of “mutual knowledge” among remote workers translates to a lower willingness to give coworkers the benefit of the doubt in difficult situations.

Trust Them

This will help make things clear for the employee and it will help get them up to speed about what they’re expected to do much quicker. Should a customer approach you and say that a remote employee isn’t meeting deadlines or expectations, you need to be able to take care of this quickly and efficiently. Scheduling software, like Connecteam, to create shifts for all your employees and get updates if they haven’t clocked in or forgot to clock out. With updates, your employees can “check-in”, “complete” or “reject” a shift so you always know where everyone stands.

Team communication itself has to change, with everyone needing to follow set processes to keep information accessible and clear. Simple tasks like keeping on top of project updates or working on a document together can be tricky when you work remotely. Unlike a central office team, where you can brief someone in-person and quickly tackle misunderstandings, assigning ownership and synching schedules can often get lost in translation. However, if you do need meetings on a regular basis, you’ll have to consider the geographical locations of your staff, as well as their willingness to have meetings outside of office hours. If you’re based in New York, having staff from all over the Americas won’t be a problem, and London could be done at a push – but you’d struggle to have meetings with people based in Australia and Asia.

Read on to learn how to effectively manage remote teams and explore how user activity data can help transform your remote environment, increase employee productivity, and empower your organization as a whole. If you make your staff aware from the beginning that virtual team communication is key, and be sure to check in regularly, you’ll easily create an open workspace where employees can express themselves. Make sure that your staff members know that you care and are available for them to voice any concerns or difficulties, and always approach conversations optimistically. More and more people are wanting to work from home, and employers are recognising the amazing benefits of hiring remote workers.

Remote leaders shouldn’t be left guessing how their team is getting on. IDoneThis is a lightweight, agile task management tool where workers submit daily check-ins, which are later compiled into digestible reports. Managing a Remote Team You can also send out a morning recap of all the happenings in your inbox and set personal achievements for each worker. Generally, remote workers are expected to provide their own devices to work on.

Using Data To Support Remote Employees

The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers. For example, our developers have a Slack channel where they document each bug and how it was fixed. Everything is explained in a human, not overly technical language so all team members can understand. Our multicultural team gives us a broader view of the world and how we can solve different problems together. But this would not be possible if we weren’t intentional about creating an environment where everyone’s voices are heard and respected. As of April 2021, The Remote Company is a team of 130 people from 30+ different countries.

  • That starts with investing in the right kit to serve your team long-term.
  • From here, they can join in with remote meetings by video and voice, see what is shared on the display, and contribute themselves.
  • This phenomenon extends beyond task-related work to interpersonal challenges that can emerge among remote coworkers.
  • When you have face-to-face interactions and daily communication, you automatically create trust and are able to bond better.

Everyone knows how to act and more importantly, they understand why we do the things we do. A way to avoid all of this is to be 150% clear about what your expectations are. Your employees need to know what is expected like how many hours they’re putting in or what the end product looks like. Create ground rules together so both of you are always on the same page.

Consider this, Gallup reported that 71% of remote employees are not actively engaged with their business. And 85% say the communication they receive on the job isn’t enough. A Harvard study of 1,100 employees discovered that most remote workers feel left out and shunned from their company, coworkers, and management. In response to the uncertainties presented by Covid-19, many companies and universities have asked their employees to work remotely. This can help you and employees see what tasks need to be completed.

Employee Time Clock

When workers aren’t in-house, it can be difficult to tell when they are working. Some employees might take advantage of the fact that they don’t have a boss looking over their shoulders. Without some sort of tracking system, you are left to trust that employees are being honest. Encourage open communication and create opportunities for social interaction to grow your company culture.

Our Best Insights On Keeping Your Team Tight

ActivTrak’s remote workforce management software gives you everything you need to help employees work wiser, no matter where they are. With the Covid-19 epidemic, many employees — and their managers — are finding themselves working out of the office and separated from each other for the first time. Fortunately, there are specific, research-based steps that managers can take without great effort to improve the engagement and productivity of remote employees, even when there is little time to prepare. First, it’s important to understand the common challenges, from isolation to distractions to lack of face-to-face supervision. Effective remote teams also work with their managers to tackle any obstacles that come with working from home and contribute to a culture of continuous improvement.

Managing Staff Remotely: The Complete Guide Ebook

During meetings or in company-wide updates and announcements, make sure you deliberately point out something a remote employee did that week or month. Not only are you improving productivity but you are showing your remote employees that you care and that you recognize their efforts. Through frequent feedback, you can address issues or challenges that your employees are facing and in turn, you build trust and offer flexibility to make your remote teamwork. Hold video calls to add a layer of trust because sometimes it can help to receive negative news “face-to-face” instead of in an email or phone call.

By analyzing these metrics with the help of ActivTrak’s clear reports, managers can unlock data-driven insights about how their remote teams work best without micromanaging their day-to-day. Managers should also encourage remote employees to take ownership of their performance data and to take time to look at those same metrics to understand how they approach their work. When it comes to managing remote teams, gathering data that helps you comprehensively understand remote workforce productivity levels is essential.

On Notion, people are also encouraged to write a “How to work with me manual”. These are short profile texts in which team members describe how they enjoy remote working, collaborating and being approached by colleagues. By teaming people with varying experiences, they can learn from each other. See it as cross-mentorship, except both team members offer different skills instead of one person having more knowledge in a particular area. While remote work requires each team member to manage their own projects, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create a structure and process that everyone follows. By writing down our values and requiring everyone to agree to them when they are hired, we instantly have a baseline for managing distributed teams.

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