The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the modern business world in many ways, and even though you might be dreading what the future may have in store, one thing is for certain – remote work is here to stay. Now, you can consider managing a remote workforce to be an insurmountable challenge, or you can look at it as the lucrative opportunity it is that can transform your business and help it reach new heights of success. Of course, that doesn’t mean that making remote work a part of your business plan is easy, but it does mean that you have a chance to capitalize on it if you do it right.
Specifically, remote teams are now facing some unique challenges, especially if the employees and managers are not used to working remotely. Leaders might find themselves unprepared to handle the requirements of remote workers, while the employees themselves might be confused as to their duties and how to communicate efficiently and effectively. So, let’s put all of this into perspective to show you how to overcome the challenges that your remote teams are facing.
It all starts with your leadership style
In order for remote teams to maintain productivity, the leaders in your company need to be up to the task. After all, their task is to guide their colleagues, make their lives easier, and streamline workflow for maximum efficiency, all of which can be a challenge when you’re not together in the same office. If you’re the sole leader of your remote teams, then you will feel this pressure on your shoulders as well, so you need to work on your leadership skills and style.
Firstly, consider becoming more lenient instead of strict. It might sound counterintuitive, but now is the time to show your human side and give your employees the leeway they need to settle into their new roles and working environments. Push some deadlines, be forgiving, and work on guiding your team members instead of reprimanding them if something goes wrong. They will thank you and you will be able to build more trusting bonds with your employees.
Building a comprehensive communication hierarchy
The next challenge we need to address is when remote workers find themselves not knowing whom to communicate with or whom they should report to on a daily basis. The horizontal and vertical lines of communication in your company should be clear to all team members so as to avoid communication bottlenecks, dispel the noise, and maintain efficiency and productivity. To achieve this, you need to build a comprehensive communication hierarchy.
You can do this easily by tending to the following:
- Identify all communication lanes in your organization.
- List the teams and their leaders.
- Figure out which teams need to communicate on a daily basis.
- Outline the pathways all information should take.
- Know whom every team member should report to, in order to avoid getting spammed with emails that don’t concern you.
- Put all of this into a communication hierarchy and forward it to all managers and remote employees.
- Make sure that everyone is onboard and address any issues and concerns they might have.
Bringing conferencing technology into the mix
Having a communication strategy and hierarchy is important, but it won’t do you much good if you don’t have the communication tech to support it. When adopting remote work, it is imperative to focus on digital transformation and integrate the communication tools your teams need to collaborate seamlessly on a daily basis.
This means that you should research the best communication systems and choose the right virtual conference platform that has all the features and tools you need to organize meetings and host internal company events without wasting money or other resources. Make sure that the platform allows you to stream live events, host meetings with numerous participants, share recorded content, and create an interactive and engaging experience for your teams.
Nurturing a positive workplace culture
One of the first things to take a hit when switching to remote work is your company culture. Now that your employees are no longer working under the same roof and have zero face-to-face interaction, it can be difficult to maintain the culture you’ve worked so hard to build. And the effects are felt almost immediately.
This is one of the reasons why businesses fail when working in the digital realm nowadays, and why you should focus on preserving your culture as much as possible. Be sure to keep in touch with all employees and schedule one-on-one meetings to check up on them and how they’re doing. You can also organize virtual team building events and digital game nights to keep the team’s spirit alive and inspire your employees to socialize.
Introducing a cloud-based PM tool
Lastly, it can be difficult for remote teams to collaborate via email or Google Docs. In fact, it can be impossible nowadays, so you need to implement a project management tool that has plenty of functional features your employees can use to collaborate in real time. Some of the perks you should look for include project and task visualization, an intuitive interface, time tracking and file sharing functions, analytics and reporting, and easy workflow management for all teams.
Remote work is definitely not easy, not for you or your employees. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t overcome these challenges and push your company forward in the post-COVID-19 world. Use these tips to manage your remote teams successfully and retain a satisfied workforce.