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Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

In response to the uncertainties posed by Covid-19, several businesses and universities have asked their employees to work remotely. But Right now, remote working—or, working from home—has been more than a phenomenon. It's now a standard for companies all over the globe. As a result, there are thousands of team leaders and managers who find themselves unexpectedly leading a totally remote team. Honestly, it can be intimidating, especially if it's the first time you've ever had to do so and didn't have a lot of opportunities to train.

Luckily, managing remote teams is not as difficult as it seems, there are specific, research-based steps that managers can take without much difficulty to boost the engagement and effectiveness of remote workers, particularly when there is no time to plan. Sure, leading a remote staff will have huge advantages. But to actually benefit from all of these advantages, you need to handle the remote team efficiently.

But how do you go about managing remote teams?


Common challenges faced when managing a remote team.

To start, managers need to consider factors that can make remote work particularly challenging.

Otherwise, high-performing workers can experience declines in job motivation and performance when they begin working remotely, particularly in the absence of preparation and training

That said, the majority of many well-intentioned companies are made up of already consciously or unconsciously disengaged employees. So, imagine how working remotely impacts their level of commitment, results, and connection to the mission? Here are the most common challenges.


Need of face-to-face supervision: 

Both directors and their workers frequently express concerns around the need for face-to-face interaction. Administrators stress that representatives will not work as hard or as effectively. Numerous workers, on the other hand, battle with decreased access to administrative support and communication. In a few cases, employees feel that further supervisors are out of touch with their needs, and in this manner are not one or the other steady nor supportive in getting their work done.

Lack of access to information: 

Newly remote workers are often surprised by the added time and effort needed to take information from coworkers. Even having answers to what seem like easy questions may seem like a huge challenge to an employee working at home.

Social isolation:

 Loneliness is one of the most common complaints about remote work, with employees not having the informal social interaction of an office environment. Extroverts are believed to suffer more from isolation in the short term, particularly if they do not have the opportunity to make connections with others in their remote work environment. However, over a longer period of time, isolation can cause any employees to feel less "belonging" to their company and can also lead to a greater intention to leave the company. 

 


Home Distractions: 

We often see photos of remote work, portraying a person sitting on a sofa or in the living room. In fact, this is a terrible display of effective virtual work. Typically we encourage employers to ensure that their remote workers have a dedicated work area before they can work remotely. However, with a sudden transition to virtual work, there is a much greater chance that employees will struggle with a sub-optimal workspace. Even under normal circumstances, family and domestic needs can affect remote work.

 


Here's how managers can better lead remote teams 

While working remotely can be challenging, there are also relatively quick and effective steps managers can take to ease the transition.

1. Daily Check-Ins

This might seem overkill, it is essential for managers and teams new to remote employment, it is important to be on the same page as the remote workers, by doing daily one-on-one check-ins with your team, you can do this. Establish these check-ins as opportunities for the workers to address any obstacles or problems they face.

Be open about considering what your remote employees have to say and offer whatever advice or assistance you can.

2. Over-communicate, and use a variety of tools

It certainly goes without thinking that you should be in touch with your colleagues on a daily basis. For managing remote teams, the use of effective communication and teamwork resources is important. There is no way to talk to remote workers in person after all, right?

And you are restricting the efficiency of your virtual staff without using a range of tools.

You may use video conferencing apps, which is increasingly common with many remote teams. Instant messaging software, too, and often, for a fast confirmation or explanation, you do not need to set up a whole video call. They allow you, anytime and anywhere, to get in contact with your teammates immediately.

3.Set down ground rules for communication

The foundation of any successful cooperation is effective communication, and ground rules are indispensable for that. Because you do not have the same geographic location, ground rules for contact will help the remote team keep up-to-date and provide the communication structure with the definition and consistency the team needs.

You need to determine how the team stays in contact, what team members should be contacted, and how much they need to connect.

4. Set expectations early and often. 

Just as in the workplace, supervisors should keep subordinates up-to-date with changes in policies and staffing. They can also model behaviors around the hours employees work, such as setting guidelines for responding to some e-mail and messages after-hours work.

5.Outcome, not activity:

Any part of the work undertaken by a remote team can not be controlled. 

It's nearly impossible to control every single aspect of the job done by a remote team, for what it's worth, do not attempt to attempt to handle any part of the work of any team, but particularly when the team is dispersed around different areas.

Focus on the performance instead of concentrating on tasks or hours performed, and assess the team accordingly.

6. Keep your team resourced 

To get the job done, make sure the team has the technology it requires. That means there is a strong possibility they need equipment like laptops, softwares, mobile devices, or even a high-speed internet network if you suddenly have a team of remote staff. It is not rational to believe that everybody has all these things, and as a boss, it is your job to ensure that they do.

7.Be Flexible

Understand that your team has a lot going on, it is not an excuse not to do anything, but it is a justification to question what efficiency actually means. You are out punching a clock for eight hours. For certain persons, normal work hours are potentially out as well. Instead, support the staff and allow them the independence and versatility to get the most productive work done on the timetable that helps them. Anyway, it is beneficial for your team in the long run.

8. Listen to your employees and support them.

Listening is one of the best soft skills that you can improve as a team leader, especially if you lead remote teams, since you do not work in a mutual workplace, it is harder to determine how employees feel.

Be sure that their concerns or worries are the main focus of the discussion, not yours. You can effectively boost teamwork by dealing with these obstacles, while also developing a healthier and more positive work climate.

You will find it easy to enjoy work on other activities once you start trusting your team. Furthermore, expressing trust within the colleagues further validates their work and motivates them to do better.

9. Celebrate success

Just a lot more intimate than an e-mail, it seems. managers can also create chances to celebrate career achievements as they would in a workplace.  If you get creative, there is no reason to lose connections

 

While it may at first seem overwhelming to lead remote teams, it does not have to be. Time, focus, and continuity are required for each of these tips. With them, the company will benefit, and your team will thank you, and you will see that your employees can be just as successful, if not better.