Before the pandemic, a lot of businesses could never imagine a situation where remote working was possible. When forced into this new style of operation, they found that there were many unexpected positives and, most importantly, with new technology it was entirely possible. A recent study found that a good percentage of employees didn’t want a full return to the office, they wanted some sort of hybrid environment or a fully remote option for their jobs.
Most businesses are settling on hybrid work models –part of the week in the office and the other part at home. With this form of work comes new challenges and the tips provided here could boost your workforce’s productivity and job satisfaction, leading to higher retention rates.
Challenges in managing remote teams
Settling into the new routines of remote work doesn’t mean that team bonding can take a back seat in the order of other team priorities. Now’s the time to ramp up that communication and individualize managerial approaches even more than normal while employees contend with parenting from home, caring for loved ones, home internet issues, and the challenges of learning to live while adapting to a new way of work.
Throughout the pandemic, almost all businesses across the globe experienced remote work and remote team management. And now that this way of work has become the new normal, it becomes imperative that leadership teams effectively connect and bond with their remote teams.
Working from home isn’t the same as working at the office, and these tips are sure to help managers and leadership teams build an effective remote team:
- Rely on a good collaboration tool
- Managing teams across borders
- Facilitate transparency
- Build a strong team bond
- Extend help when in need
Tip 1: Rely on a good collaboration tool
Working from home has its growing pains. Not every organization or individual has gotten the full hang of it yet. How can operations continue in a way that’s just as good, if not better than, working in the office? As communication becomes critical by the minute, companies need to invest in the right collaboration tool to streamline communication and optimize their internal organization.
Collaboration tools have not just made working with teams possible during the pandemic, but they have also helped make the adaption of new technology and IT much easier. From helping businesses stay organized, to keeping communication clear and to even giving the occasional laugh with a filter, gif, or theme, remote collaboration tools are, and will continue to be an essential part of the novel working model.
Tip 2: Managing a team across borders
Another big challenge in managing a remote team is the poor communication that results due from long distances, different time zones, and cultural gaps between colleagues. Working with such cross-border teams makes it even more important to incorporate different work ethics, languages, traditions, and cultures into the foundation of the team in a way that doesn’t create friction or tension.
Although cross-border teams have become a norm in a global organization, many leaders still struggle to tackle such situations to create an inclusive workforce.
Here are a few tips for working with teams from varied regions:
- Use tools to help with time zone management
- Encourage flexible work hours
- Make use of common collaboration platforms
- Create an effective project management process
- Make resources available to all team members
- Address work situation bearing cultural differences in mind
Tip 3: Facilitate transparency
Transparency is critical to creating trust in an organization. Transparency is what enables employees to feel engaged and inclusive, motivates them to work harder, creates a sense of loyalty towards the business, and delivers on agreed outcomes.
To facilitate transparency, especially when working in a remote environment:
· Ensure that projects, roles, and responsibilities are clearly defined
· Encourage frequent discussions with colleagues to keep everybody accountable and up-to-date
· Maintain standard procedures to track, record, and analyze progress
· Engage in healthy feedback sessions and one-on-one meetings to ensure employees feel belonged.
Tip 4: Prioritising issues
Working remotely definitely makes it more comfortable because you’re just at home. But it also becomes difficult to manage your tasks and your team’s tasks. This is when the managers need to simplify project management by breaking down projects into smaller tasks, assigning them to employees, and setting priorities, so your whole remote team knows what they should do next. This way managers can assist remote workers to prioritize their work and limit the number of tasks every day.
Tip 5: Have regular one-on-ones
There are some deliberate strategies you need to adopt when leading remote teams. Don’t assume that your remote team knows what you are talking about. Instead, have a regular one-on-one meeting and make sure all the basic questions are being answered when you communicate with your team.
With these strategies under your belt, you can make the best out of an uncertain situation and start creating better team bonding. Focus on the bigger picture, keep everyone in the loop on expectations and meeting guidelines, and find ways to inject company culture into your new routines, and you’ll set yourself up for successful work-from-home leadership. Make sure that you practice these remote team management strategies with consistency.
Guna Gorbunova is the Talent Attraction Manager at Zalaris with a technical and functional background in SAP. Guna has 10+ years of experience in HR, talent acquisition, and recruitment, and loves to share her expertise on topics related to digital HR, employer branding, and recruitment.