The future of work is gradually shifting. Before, people needed to perform their daily tasks within an office setting; today, however, several companies exist remotely. The coronavirus pandemic has forced companies to restructure their organization, seek ways to cut lease costs, maximize profit and scale regulatory hurdles. This has led to remote and virtual working as remote working becomes the new normal, and company leaders must learn how to manage their remote teams effectively.
Remote Teams and Working
In simplest terms, remote working is the practice of employees working from home or in places other than an organization’s usual place of business. Impliedly, a remote team refers to a group of people working together for a particular purpose and are geographically dispersed.
Managing Remote Teams – The Five (5) Step forward:
While several tips exist for managing remote teams, here are some essential steps/key tips for the effective management of remote teams:
Regular communication and Building communication channels:
It is very important for employees to hear from their employers and supervisors from time to time, especially if they have questions regarding their daily obligations. A gap in this communication will hinder the way tasks are performed. As a result, clear and secure communication channels must be established.
This means that employees have the right tool for communication that does not limit their operations. Thus, employers may need to subscribe to the premium communication applications if the basic plan will hinder their operations.
Flexibility and Expectation Management:
Working from home can be strenuous for the non-tech savvy, those who have to manage children, or those working in an area that is not properly equipped for home office work. This makes it important for employers to understand that working from home has its associated distractions.
It follows from this that creating flexibility and managing employees’ expectations will play a huge role in how they deliver tasks within their teams. Also, it will be helpful if employers instruct team members about the flexibility of their work hours. This can be done by informing them about the time for online meetings when work is to be delivered and the accountability standards.
As opposed to requesting these impromptu and taking advantage of the fact that employees and teams are working remotely, giving room for flexibility and adequate planning will be helpful to the individual employee, the employer, the team, and the firm’s growth.
Consider Employee Needs by playing the role of the “employing employee”:
It is very typical for employers and team leads to be authoritative. However, playing the role of the “employing employee” and showing your employee that you are their equal gives them some sense of empathy and boosts their attitude toward work. It is also important that managers/leaders/team-lead provide their employees with the adequate resources that they need to perform.
As someone said, just as a farmer needs a tractor, employees need adequate technology and network connectivity to perform their activities, especially in a remote setting. Where these are not provided, there is a higher tendency that they will be distracted when performing their daily tasks.
In a physical work setting, there is a great intention not to celebrate success. For some reason, employers believe that not celebrating success pushes employees to deliver above expectations. But this is not true. This negative trait is even more concentrated in remote settings where getting facial feedback on a project is least likely.
However, employers and managers need to learn the habit of constantly appraising remote teams, especially when people work virtually, and there is a tendency to be depressed. Celebrating success could be by giving a pay raise or a work-free day/week.
In the earlier part of this post, the need for communication was addressed. However, there is a need for emphasis on this. The entire team needs to know how each team member is faring with the work assigned. Typically, this can be done by ensuring that there is a general team/group email box that is always put in copy with respect to all emails. This enables managers to study the productivity of each team member and come in where it appears that such a team member is finding it difficult to talk.
Managing remote teams can be very difficult. The virtual workplace setting and the fact that people may be working in different locations simultaneously make it more difficult to manage. Nonetheless, if these tips are considered, they will boost the operations and efficiency of teams.