Remote Management Challenges & Best Practices
Remote management has become an essential part of today’s business. In fact, according to Gartner, remote workers now outnumber traditional office employees. The rise of the gig economy means that people are working outside their normal hours and even across different countries.
While there are many benefits to remote work, it does come with its own set of challenges. One of the biggest challenges is managing employees remotely. How do you ensure that your team members are performing at their peak level while working from home?
In this article, we’ll cover some of the common issues associated with managing a remote workforce and offer some suggestions on how to overcome these challenges.
Staying up to date with the progress on multiple tasks when managing remote teams and projects can quickly become a nightmare without clear processes in place.
On the one hand, checking in with everyone too often can easily turn into micromanagement and become time-consuming for both the manager and the employees. On the other hand, taking a too hands-off approach to remote management can result in unaligned expectations and inaccurate status reports, creating room for confusion, disconnectedness, and potentially, even conflict.
As a manager, it is your responsibility to address these issues proactively and ensure you can stay on top and up-to-date.
Using the Right Tools
The importance of everyone using the same apps and tools to get work done cannot be overstated. Consult your team members to come up with the optimal set of tools you are going to use for tasks, communication, reporting, and project management. Not only will this help everyone stay on track, but it will also foster an environment where employees feel their input is valued, improving collaboration.
Including your team in the process of defining workflows and tools to be used will make tracking progress much easier and help everyone stay on the same page.
Defining Specific Tasks and Goals
No matter how big or small, each task you set before your team needs to be well-defined. They should have an idea of what success looks like and what will happen if you don’t meet this goal. Failing to define tasks properly, you risk team members misunderstanding what you expect from them and how it fits into the bigger picture.
And if they can’t figure out what they’re doing and why they are doing it, their productivity and efficiency are bound to see a drop.
You can use something as simple as a spreadsheet to ensure employees have an overview of their tasks with deadlines, instructions, and goals, or a dedicated app for remote management for more complex situations. Planning ahead and organizing your team’s time in this way will help them meet your expectations and deliverables, and keep you informed on their progress at all times.
Communicating through emails, messaging apps, and even video calls can’t really replace face-to-face talks and meetings. Especially in dynamic work environments. Hence, establishing clear communication channels and putting in some extra effort to convey thoughts, inputs, and feedback becomes crucial for avoiding ambiguities.
Establishing Trust and Transparency
Becoming overly involved in the tasks and responsibilities of individual employees is both time-consuming and detrimental to employee engagement, ultimately leading to micromanagement in most cases.
Showing team members that you trust them to get the task done with positive results and nurturing a culture of trust and transparency can do wonders in terms of inter-company communication.
Taking a more open and hands-off approach to remote management will both show your employees that they are trusted and welcome to communicate ideas and concerns. Communication built on these solid foundations will always be more fruitful than wasting your meetings on micromanaging tasks.
Staying in Touch
That being said, it’s also crucial to get regular feedback and initiate discussions regarding the progress of the project. Planning ahead is a big part of this, but you cannot rely on everything going according to the initial agreement.
A good practice is to establish regular meetings with all team members present where you can exchange information and keep everyone in the loop. This will help you identify potential problems before they occur and take measures accordingly. In addition, it will also ensure that everyone is pulling in the same direction with the same big picture in mind.
Understanding the Processes
Making effective decisions and steering the ship in the right direction requires any manager to have a deep understanding of the processes behind the team’s results. This becomes even more challenging in the case of remote management. Getting a clear picture of how employees get work done, the resources they spend, and what their workday looks like is a lot harder when you’re not sharing an office with them.
Leveraging software that helps you understand how team members operate, what tools they use, and how much time they need for certain tasks can give you all the insight you need to make data-driven decisions and improve your efficiency. Focos analytics offers just that – all the data and insight you need to make decision-making in remote management a lot easier.
Delegating tasks is the art of management, remote or otherwise. If done correctly, both performance and employee satisfaction rise. On the other hand, doing it without understanding can have the opposite effect. Once you have a firm grasp of the workflows within your team and have a good idea of how work gets done in practice, you can improve your delegation and decision-making process.
Closely related to understanding processes and delegating accordingly, setting achievable goals is the foundation of a team with a winner’s mentality. Nurturing team spirit when coworkers hardly ever see each other is a challenge of remote management that often gets overlooked.
A team that meets expectations consistently and pushes towards common goals is always going to have better chemistry and commitment. It’s up to the management to guide teams towards these values by setting realistic expectations and motivating employees to exceed them.
However, as pointed out, finding the right balance in this sense requires both data and a good comprehension of the processes behind individual tasks.
Focos – The Remote Manager’s Sidekick
Focos offers a dedicated workspace optimized for productivity and engagement. It provides employees with all the tools they need for work and communication in a distraction-free environment and allows for seamless collaboration between teams and team members.
With easy app integration, you can set up the virtual offices of entire teams in a couple of clicks, and use its unique analytics feature to analyze work processes and SaaS consumption both by teams and individuals.
If that sounds like something you could benefit from, book a free demo and learn how Focos can make your remote management job easier!