If given the option, most employees would prefer to work from home. And for a good reason: remote work allows employees to manage their schedules better, avoid the daily grind of commuting, and focus on their job without the usual office distractions.
However, the advent of remote work has brought with it a slew of issues, most of which can be avoided. Here are seven crucial pitfalls to avoid if you’re in charge of managing remote teams.
1. Failure To Make Employees Familiar With Technology
Without the necessary tools, maintaining open lines of communication is difficult, so make sure you’re proactively setting up remote team members with the tech stack they need to get their jobs done and be productive.
To begin, we’ll look at software. Discuss your remote team members’ preferred work schedules, communication styles, and processes, and work with them to set up software that allows you to communicate live and asynchronously.
Use apps like Slack for live instant messaging, Google Drive and Dropbox for sharing and sending files, and Zoom for video communication to get started. To keep track of the progress of remote workers’ projects, you can utilize a frequent email exchange, a shared document, or other solutions. To keep track of time, use time tracking software. Click here to know more.
Set up hardware for distant team members next. If your in-office team requires more monitors, a standing desk, or other equipment to be effective, send them to your remote workers’ home offices as well.
You can ensure that your remote team members are productive and connected when they need to be, no matter where they are working, by proactively offering technological solutions before they get tripped up by distance or time zones.
2. Failure To Align Team Members
The truth is that no matter how effectively your employees can individually perform, if they can’t work cooperatively with the rest of the team to help you achieve your project and company goals, then all your efforts will be for naught.
As a result, managers must always guarantee that their virtual teams are on the same page. They should all be aware of the project’s general objectives and have access to all the work data and remote working tools required to complete their tasks efficiently.
More importantly, in order to communicate and work together effectively, all employees need to be well aligned with the rest of the team.
3. Failure To Create A Culture Of Trust
Trust is essential to make remote teams work. The only way to see tangible gains from virtual teams is to give employees the autonomy they need to manage their work without continually checking in on them or calling them.
However, remote employees can get demotivated if a trusting work culture is not established. Managers must believe that their employees are working hard to achieve their goals, even if they can’t see them working right in front of them, in order to create a culture of trust.
Managers should avoid constant check-ins since they can reflect a lack of trust. Instead, you should foster project and task ownership to increase the virtual team’s autonomy.
4. Failure To Schedule Meetings At Appropriate Time
Your 9-to-5 work hours cannot work in every country, so consider all of your team members’ time zones when scheduling a meeting or sending an email. Try to schedule all-hands team meetings within a time frame that is within the 9-5 range throughout all the different time zones where people work, to the extent that it is possible.
Make attendance optional for some members of your team who work more than eight hours apart, and email them a meeting tape later. Alternatively, as team manager, you may travel to a site where you can host two all-hands meetings, allowing all team members to meet and participate.
When it comes to sending emails, make sure to communicate your expectations for sending and reacting to messages with both remote and in-office team members. Some people find it necessary to respond to messages during “off” hours.
However, as long as your team knows whether they’re expected to respond immediately or if they can wait until the next business day, you can ensure that no team messages are delivered when the employees are not working.
You want your staff to be able to communicate successfully, but you also want them to be able to balance their professional and personal lives.
5. Failure To Create A Good Communication Environment
Your day is packed with opportunities for impromptu interaction when you share a physical workstation with your team. You can ask about someone’s weekend at their cubicle, pop into a team member’s office for clarity on a project issue, or catch up on your day over lunch.
These off-the-cuff exchanges may appear negligible, yet they are an essential component of bringing your company closer. Unfortunately, remote or distributed teams don’t have as many opportunities for spontaneous, casual chats (it’s not like you can walk into someone’s office when they’re thousands of miles away).
However, just because those talks don’t happen as effortlessly in remote teams doesn’t mean they’re any less necessary—and providing space for those dialogues is a crucial element of effectively leading remote teams.
As a manager, it is your responsibility to create an environment that encourages communication with and among your remote employees.
At the start of each one-on-one meeting, check in with your remote team members and inquire about their personal and professional lives. Plan a “virtual happy hour” at the end of the week where the only agenda item is to catch up with your team through video.
There will always be a learning curve when developing remote teams, no matter how long you’ve been in business. But now that you’re aware of some of the most typical blunders managers make when it comes to forming productive and effective remote teams, you can avoid them and reach your goal of success faster, easier, and more efficiently.