Managing Remote Teams Effectively

The popularity of remote work set-up has gained popularity at an exponential rate. With lots of cities and communities still reeling from the global pandemic and millions of people are forced to shelter in place, companies look to remote work environment to keep their businesses afloat while giving their employees an opportunity to continue to work during the pandemic.

Benefits of Remote Work

Even before COVID-19 hit, a lot of companies and workers have embraced a work anywhere approach because of its many benefits. For the employer, this means not having to invest in an actual physical office — think about the tables, chairs, computers, printers and other capital expenditure a business owner needs to cough up for a brick and mortar office. Savings in terms of monthly rentals and utilities are also a huge benefit. Also, the best employees suited for the job may not necessarily be in the immediate vicinity of a local office. By going remote, employers do not necessarily have to confine their choices within a local area.

For the employees, one of the biggest advantages is the need not to commute to and from the office. Not only do employees save up on transportation cost, they also save up on time. An hour or two sitting on traffic everyday could be time well spent with the family. Remote work also appeals to a lot of people because of the flexibility to work anywhere in the world. You can be sitting on your couch or by the beach – for as long as you have a laptop and an internet connection, a lot of employees can become productive even if they are outside the confines of their homes.

Effective Management of Remote Teams

Like in the traditional in-office work set-up, working remotely has a fair amount of challenges too. Remote employees also roll up to a manager but most of the communication that happens within the team is not done face-to-face. This makes creating meaningful relationship a bit harder compared to co-located team members.

Tracking of hourly productivity can also be challenging as managers will rely mostly on the final product of an individual.

While traditionally, most people get the most out of a face to face conversation, these are some things to keep in mind to better manage remote teams.

  1. Take full advantage of video conferencing and online collaboration tools. There are a ton of free and reliable video chat and collaboration software that can bridge the gap of having face to face conversation among team members.
  2. Be overly communicative. It’s important that all team members remain aligned with the objective and the finer details of their work. Being communicative using different channels will help ensure everyone rows the boat in the same direction.
  3. Be very engaged. Having a daily huddle and a regular 1:1 between the manager and team members, albeit via video conferencing, will go a long way in establishing relationship.

Remote work is here to stay and is fast becoming the business environment of the future. The advent of technology and the internet has broken down time zones, location and geographical barriers. For present and future business owners and remote workers, investing on time and resources to manage a remote work set-up will prepare them for bigger things to come.