6 challenges to overcome when managing remote teams

Remote working is quickly becoming the new normal post-Covid-19, for a few good reasons. For starters, companies now appreciate that besides encouraging social distancing, it can boost employee productivity if properly managed.

However, remote working is not without challenges, especially for inexperienced businesses. In this post, we will discuss some of the potential challenges businesses face when they decide to go the remote route. But that’s not all; we’ll also show you how to overcome them.

Let’s dive straight in!

Low Productivity

Multiple studies show that remote working has led to a lot of companies recording more productivity among their workforce. Indeed, it is expected that a large percentage of the working population will make a full transition by 2025.

But not all employees are designed to work remotely, and some end up performing dismally when allowed to work from home. Due to low supervision and other factors, some members in remote teams are likely not to put in as much work and effort as they would when working in-house.

Luckily, there exists a few solutions for this. For starters, you can find ways to place your employees in work environments that are best suited for them. This applies mainly where employees are constantly being interrupted when working from home.

Additionally, in cases where the above is not possible, you can regularly formulate ways to check your remote team’s progress and offer support where needed.

Choosing the Right Tools

You must embrace technology to successfully manage a remote team. For example, you will need to invest in high-quality laptops, smartphones, and software. Managing a remote team without the necessary tools is a nightmare; communication, tracking progress, and other business tasks would be impossible to complete.

Not sure what tools to use or finding it confusing choosing the right tech tools? We recommend consulting a professional to help you get suitable ones for managing a remote workforce. Some of the most important ones include tools to track productivity, invoicing software, and CRM tools among others.

Lack of Teamwork

Working in-house as a team keeps employees motivated and gives them a chance to remain cohesive. Unfortunately, this might not be the case with remote working.

With employees working individually, some might lag and lose much-needed motivation. On the other hand, in a hybrid environment with in-house and remote teams, support and communication are oftentimes one-sided.

As the employer, you can harmonize such an environment by doing a few things. First, ensure that you maintain equality and equity, especially in the case of a hybrid workforce. A good place to start is to have both in-house and remote workers enjoying similar work benefits.

You can also use software or other means to keep all employees connected and motivated. The premise behind investing in this is to enhance teamwork even at a distance.

Managing Conflicts

As with in-house working, remote working can be prone to many conflicts and disagreements. These can arise from various spheres such as miscommunication and unfair tendencies in the workplace.

Unfortunately, it can be very difficult for remote teams to solve these conflicts since most go unnoticed. Such situations can lead to incoherence which in turn affects the overall productivity.

To avert these cases, employers should build proper communication channels while also ensuring conflicts and disagreements are solved soon enough to avoid future problems.

They can also create an environment where remote teams can voice their concerns to help deal with conflicts that may be one-sided.

Different Time Zones

One of the benefits of adopting remote work for your businesses is that you can source for and hire experts from all over the globe. However, this can prove to be problematic because you’ll be working with employees from different time zones. This makes it difficult to communicate and hold meetings, especially if you expect your employees to always be available.

The result? It can create unnecessary pressure and inconvenience on employees, resulting in high employee turnover.

To resolve this, first, take note of all the different zones involved. If a meeting is truly necessary, you can ensure those remote teams are up-to-date with it through messaging or sending them a meeting recording.

Building Trust

Building trust among remote teams is perhaps the biggest challenge businesses face when they adopt this model. Lack of trust can result from the need to always track your employees and check in with them to see what they are up to.

In extreme cases, such acts show that you have no faith in your employees. And trust is a two-way street; if you can’t trust them, they won’t trust you as well.

Lack of trust can be the downfall of your business and it needs to be avoided at all costs. Give your remote employees a chance to be themselves, to do their work and deliver.

You still need to check their progress, but it should be done in a sophisticated and professional manner that doesn’t spell distrust.

Conclusion

If you are just starting out with remote working, you can be sure that you will encounter some of the challenges we highlighted here. In particular, cases of miscommunication, conflicts, and low productivity will be common.

The good news is that you can easily overcome these problems and fully exploit remote working with the right management approach. We’d like to hear your feedback in the comments below.