Overcoming the Challenges of Working with a Remote Team
Working with a remote team is tricky.
However, by following some simple steps and using helpful tools to make communication more accessible, you can do your job more efficiently while keeping your team members happier and more productive.
Challenges of Managing a Remote Team and How to Overcome Them
Having a remote team comes with challenges you wouldn’t have if everyone were in the same building. But with some preparation, you can still manage your remote team and help them overcome obstacles so they can work as efficiently and effectively as possible.
The most valuable tool in your arsenal when working with a remote team is communication. This can be tough to maintain when everyone is spread out across the country or even the globe, but it’s possible. If there’s anything the pandemic has done, it’s to show us that communication can be done both virtually and in person.
Virtual meetings are the only way to bring your team together so make sure the meetings are productive and engaging. An online meeting should never be a group of people staring at their screens waiting for it to be over.
Use these virtual meetings as opportunities to connect and build camaraderie. This way, your team members can build friendships with one another.
Tracking work and productivity
Tracking work and productivity is one of the biggest challenges of a remote team. With everyone working in different locations, it’s sometimes hard to tell what everyone is doing—and whether they’re doing the right things at the right time.
If you can’t keep an eye on everything everyone is doing all the time, how can you be sure that your organization is getting everything it needs to get done?
Here are some of the ways we make sure our team is being productive:
- Use a time-tracking program to see who’s logged in and working efficiently. This ensures that team members are on time and makes it easy to see who’s working hard on the job.
- Utilize project management tools such as Asana or Trello to keep track of all the projects and tasks, which allows you to quickly see how long specific projects took or how many hours were spent on certain tasks.
A quick note: Don’t solely rely on hours to measure productivity. Most of the time, it’s better to track project progress instead of the number of hours worked.
If you’re working in a remote team, scheduling difficulties are bound to arise at some point. Time zone differences, travel costs, and scheduling conflicts can make it challenging to stay on track.
You’ll likely have team members who live overseas or in a different time zone than you or your coworkers. This can make scheduling meetings and conference calls difficult, limiting your ability to collaborate effectively.
You’ll also want to be aware that you and your colleagues all have unique work styles, so the way you approach your workday may differ from person to person.
To solve this, figure out a time when the majority can attend. And then record the meeting for the benefit of those who were not able to attend due to time differences.
Building Trust, Transparency, and Open Communication
It’s important to remember that trust is the foundation of any relationship, whether a one-on-one connection or a remote team. When you hire your team members, you want them to feel they are trusted and they know their contributions are appreciated.
Communicate with the team all vital information. This way, you create transparency and encourage your team to trust you.
l. If anyone has questions about why and what’s happening, make them feel questions are welcome.
Isolation and Low Morale
The morale of a remote team is more fragile than that of an in-office due to isolation. It’s harder to keep the mood up, and it fluctuates more with each project, milestone, or change in routine.
It can be frustrating not to be able to walk over to a coworker’s desk and directly address the situation.
This is why it’s essential to make sure you keep communication lines open.
It’s also better to encourage everyone to turn on their camera whenever you have a team meeting. This creates a feeling of realness in a remote team environment.
Despite the increasing prevalence of remote work arrangements, there’s a lot of anxiety about them. There are plenty of reasons for this—the lack of facetime on a daily basis and the absence of quick in-person communication are just two big ones. But they don’t have to be deal breakers. There are ways to make this type of arrangement work with the right kind of planning and communication.
Remote work doesn’t have to be a challenge, but it takes some preparation and forethought to succeed. Despite these challenges, there are ways you can overcome them and turn your remote workforce into a powerful asset for your company.