Although remote work has been a thing for many years now, more companies than ever before are allowing their employees to work from home, at least part of the time. With this switch from a traditional office setting comes several challenges, some of which are the same as those with managing an in-office staff – only exacerbated.
Let’s dive into some of these challenges to help you better manage your remote team.
1. Embrace the Virtual Side of Things
If your business does not have a physical office space, virtual office services can give your company a professional appearance. Virtual offices provide a professional address, telephone number, and even secretarial services so your business always appears professional, even if you work out of your mom’s basement.
Also, consider providing a virtual water cooler (video feed) that your employees can use to socialize and interact during the workday. This gives them a chance to get to know each other on a personal level, not just a professional one.
2. Set Communication Guidelines
As a remote team, you have many options for communicating with each other, including email, instant chat, text messaging, phone calls, and video calls. Decide which way(s) work best for your team, and be sure to let new hires know the expected communication guidelines as part of their onboarding process.
Communication tends to dwindle when people work remotely, so give your staff easy tools to use, and set expectations for how and when they should collaborate. That way, everyone can stay in the loop.
3. Delegate Duties
Managing a remote team can be challenging, especially if you’re already in charge of an in-office team. Just as you delegate in the office, so too should you identify and delegate some duties to trusted remote workers.
Dividing the tasks on each day’s agenda can free up time on your calendar for monitoring your workers’ progress and addressing any issues that might arise. You’ll feel less stressed and more productive when you let others take care of some of the duties.
4. Set Clear Standards for Productivity
Many managers worry that productivity will slide if staff members are allowed to work from home. However, in many cases, the opposite is true as workers can choose when they work, which allows them to achieve a better work/life balance.
With that said, you must set clear standards for the amount of productivity you expect from your remote staff. For example, set timeframes for completion and break larger projects into smaller increments to make it easier to meet the set goals.
5. Plan Events to Bring Your Team Together
As stated earlier, socialization is important for coworkers. Getting to know one another on a personal basis helps build trust, which leads to stronger bonds in the workplace. If and when possible, bring your remote team together physically for a working lunch or dinner. Breaking bread together is a great way to promote the kind of bond that produces stellar work.
Another idea: if you hire new employees in groups, consider training them together to help them feel connected and welcome. You can even bring members of your senior staff into these training sessions to help mentor your new hires and make them feel part of the team. Telecommuting is more popular than ever, but with this switch comes specific challenges that leaders need to be aware of and address. If you manage a remote team, use the ideas above to ensure your workers stay productive and happy.