Remote work from home has its pros and cons. Working remotely has many advantages, but the majority of them are personal. The freedom to set your timetable, the lack of travel, and a better work/life balance are all appealing.
Managers, on the other hand, must balance all of these perks with the negative impacts of remote working. No matter how much of an expert you are at management, there will always be challenges of remote employee monitoring that are different from when you could interact with employees in the office.
Remote work can be advantageous to both workers and organizations, resulting in higher morale and efficiency — but there are challenges to managing a team remotely.
There are plenty of potential challenges of managing a team remotely. As far as the negative impact of remote working goes, it can be frustrating, and lonely at times. Successful remote workers, as well as forward-thinking businesses, are mindful of these challenges and are actively working to solve them.
Solving the Remote Work Puzzle
Managing remote staff successfully can provide significant benefits to your business, but it takes time, practice, and patience to overcome the challenges that come from it.
Not all new systems will function right away. Rather, be proactive in recognizing current and future challenges that you and your remote team can face. Then, to find solutions that fit your specific management style, organization, and remote team, be open to trial and error and innovative problem-solving.
Remember that your team members are human beings and this comes with work from home difficulties that are usually not found in the workplace such as managing their household while working.
Here are 5 common challenges that managers face with managing remote staff:
1. Prioritizing Work
Since we don’t have anyone actively overseeing our jobs or controlling our time, remote employees must be self-motivated time management experts. Prioritization is one of the most prevalent challenges of working remotely.
Although sticking to a schedule and managing to-dos is difficult for any employee, it’s particularly difficult for remote employees who have more relaxed, free-form days, as well as managers working from different parts of the world.
It is difficult enough to do your job. Then there’s the endless urge to watch one episode of your favorite show during your lunch break, clean up the kitchen while you’re procrastinating on a job, or walk your dog because they’re begging you to. All of a sudden, it’s evening, and you’ve accomplished nothing throughout the day.
These are usual challenges that face remote workers, be it staff or managers, when they’re in the comfort of their own home. Before anything else, it’s the responsibility of all team members to prioritize their work home schedule, minimize distractions and set clear boundaries.
If the whole team is distributed, you most likely have a mechanism in place to keep everyone informed.
But what if part of the team is based in a physical location while the rest operates remotely? How do you manage staff remotely and keep them as well informed as your on-site employees?
Challenges for working remotely often stem from miscommunication. Although you may be sending out updates for the major events that everyone should be aware of, several specifics may never hit your remote team.
When it comes to keeping the whole team up to date, sporadic email alerts and periodic phone calls will not suffice. Also, partially remote teams will need communication software that they recognize as their primary source of information.
Erring on the side of overcommunication is beneficial in the remote work environment and a valid approach to solving remote teams challenges. So plan one-on-one Zoom calls regularly, ask if everyone understands what’s going on, and double-check at the end of each meeting that everyone is clear on what their next steps are.
3. Hiring New Members For Your Remote Team
Assume you’ve been managing your remote team for a while and things are going swimmingly.
You’ve managed the remote work from home pros and cons fairly well up to this point. Work is finished on time, to a high standard, and everyone is pleased with their work and having a good time.
Then you recruit a new team member, and something goes wrong. They’re having trouble collaborating with other team members, their cultural fit isn’t perfect, and they’re missing critical deadlines. What’s the matter?
A new remote team member can have a huge impact on everyone’s performance and flow if they are not hired and onboarded properly. To avoid this, you should think about whether your recruitment process is appropriate for a remote setting. Learn as much as you can, preferably with experienced managers about how to manage staff remotely.
Many organizations can assist you with this operation, but if you want to do it yourself, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First and foremost, make sure the culture fit is correct from the start. Even in the job description, make sure it’s crystal clear! Examine how the applicant has already served in remote teams and what remote working processes they are already acquainted with during the recruiting process.
4. People Aren’t Managing Their Work-life Balance Correctly
Leading remote and virtual teams means that managers need to understand the concept of basic work-life balance.
Although remote work is a fantastic way to achieve a great work-life balance, the lines between when you should be working and when you should be relaxing can often blur.
Without a clear separation between work and home, some members of your team can develop unhealthy behaviors, leading to burnout, loneliness, and even depression. Even remote work for managers can prove to be taxing. This isn’t healthy for anybody, and it can have significant health consequences.
Managers need to be aware of how to balance it out to not risk the personal and professional mental health of themselves or their team.
5. Language And Cultural Barriers
Dealing with an internationally diverse workforce can present several difficulties, including cultural and linguistic differences. These distinctions may affect how workers communicate with one another, how they assign project assignments, and what they consider a success, among other things. To fully reap the advantages of a remote global team, managers must learn to overcome these gaps.
Management problems such as favoritism should be kept in mind by virtual teams. This suggests that they choose personality types or communication styles that cater to them and avoid those that are not in line with their default preferences.
It is normal to feel a connection with someone who works similarly to you. People in remote organizations are mostly focused on reliability and getting things done, so they tend to stick to their default habits to complete tasks faster and more efficiently.
Remote Work is Here to Stay
In the end, many organizations are forced to apply remote working procedures due to the current global pandemic. We will have to learn to identify common challenges, adapt to situations, and overcome obstacles in our way in order to ensure a smoother and more efficient workflow.