The COVID-19 outbreak has necessitated a shift to remote work, making managing remote workforces and geographically dispersed teams an essential capability for modern managers. Whether you’re new to this management style or have experience, both fall into the category of remote workers.
Regardless of your experience, it’s likely that you agree on the challenges that come with managing a remote workforce.
For any organization, sharing a physical workspace for extended periods can be a challenge. Consistently working from the same place for eight hours a day and five days a week can be distracting, lower morale, and lead to heightened tensions. Being mindful of this impact on employees is crucial.
While the current circumstances pose their fair share of obstacles, there is solace in seeing familiar faces day in and day out. It’s common for individuals to develop close friendships and form meaningful connections with those they interact with regularly.
As a result, employees may find it more difficult to form connections when working remotely. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic may require them to perform their responsibilities from home — a situation that they might not be entirely prepared for.
As a manager, it’s crucial to be proactive in addressing any issues that arise when managing a geographically dispersed team. To aid you in this task, I’ve compiled a list of the top five challenges associated with this type of team structure and offered solutions on how to overcome them. My aim is to help you see the advantages of having a team spread out over a wide geographic area.
Now, let’s take a look:
Remote work can cause employees to feel lonely and lack mental and emotional support. Individuals who work from home may find it challenging to adapt to being disconnected from their colleagues and may face challenges balancing their work with their family responsibilities.
To counteract loneliness and isolation among remote employees, team-building activities can be a useful solution. To foster a sense of camaraderie within your remote team, consider incorporating fun activities such as virtual happy hours or game nights using video conferencing platforms like Zoom.
Poor audio quality can cause significant frustration for leaders and staff when working remotely. Unclear communication due to interruptions in sound often discourages individuals from engaging in conversations or making video calls.
Solution: Invest in high-quality audio-visual equipment for both you and your team members. Affordable microphones and headphones are widely available, and while the initial cost may appear substantial, clear communication is crucial for the success and longevity of your organization.
Modern workplaces are designed to enhance productivity and provide employees with a comfortable environment. Businesses are investing in ergonomic office furniture, including chairs with lumbar support and standing workstations, to promote the well-being of their employees. Unfortunately, remote workers often lack such amenities, leading to uncomfortable working conditions and often having to compromise with what they have, such as kitchen tables.
Desks and chairs are typically more expensive than audio-visual equipment, so resolving this issue may depend on your available budget. If your business experiences a successful period, you may choose to allocate some of the extra funds to purchase better computers as a reward for remote workers.
Monday morning meetings can be dreary, even in the best of times. It can be especially challenging for remote teams to gather everyone around a single desk, and staying focused during a 90-minute Zoom call can be difficult.
Solution: Starting with more frequent and shorter meetings can be helpful. It can also be advantageous to change the structure of business meetings. To keep remote employees engaged during video conferences, consider breaking them into smaller groups or scheduling individual meetings whenever possible. As for the traditional Monday morning meeting, at Works, we often use it as an opportunity to catch up on our weekends. It is an excellent way to get to know your colleagues better and encourage remote teams to work together effectively.
Difficulty Separating Work and Personal Life
A central office can enhance productivity and provide a physical boundary that aids in the separation of work from personal life. This is particularly relevant when employees work remotely, as the boundaries between work and family life can become unclear.
Remote work should be treated with the same level of professionalism as office-based work. This entails avoiding distractions like doing laundry or playing video games during working hours and completing tasks by the end of the day. To avoid burnout, it is crucial for workers not to work late and take time to relax and unwind after work. Every employee should be held accountable for their commitment and dedication to their job during working hours and their personal time for rest and recuperation outside of working hours.
The Greatest Challenge: Recruiting the Right Talent
Taking classes or reading books can offer useful insights into the difficulties of remote work. However, having the right team members is crucial for successfully tackling any challenges.
Building a team with competent individuals is crucial in achieving the desired outcome and nurturing a dependable team. Additionally, remote leaders should possess the vital trait of trustworthiness.
Solution: As someone who has managed a remote business for over ten years, I am familiar with the challenges of recruiting the right talent. If you are seeking skilled developers to expand your team, please contact us. We are an online staffing agency that has helped various companies find and onboard their ideal candidates within two weeks.