Running a business and being a manager of a remote team can be really challenging. While managing an office team requires time for coaching and supervising, managing remote teams often requires leaders to act as facilitators more than supervisors.
Fortunately, there are many tools that can help you become better at leading your remote workers. Check our tips to make the workflow of your team more efficient and comfortable.
Challenges of the Remote Team Management
Before moving on to team management tips, let’s see what the main problems managers of remote offices face are. There are many possible issues team leads need to be aware of when hiring and managing remote employees.
The Feeling of Isolation
This is probably the most common problem remote workers face. The sense of isolation can affect your employees’ productivity and mood; it can significantly demoralize them. So, it is vital to think about regular meetings, both business and informal ones.
Different Work Hours
It can be not so easy for people who work remotely to be sure about what time it is in the office. This makes managing a remote team more difficult because you have to be up all the time and closely monitor your employees’ work time.
The Lack of Visual Contact
It’s more difficult for remote workers to understand what is going on in the office when they can’t see each other or at least hear each other working. Therefore, when managing a remote team, you have to make sure all of your team members know about every event that may require their participation.
Remote workers are much more difficult to control as there is a higher risk that they can be distracted. However, this can be fixed by managing work time and introducing a system of rewards for reliable employees who don’t let distractions interfere with their work.
These are the main challenges that may need a solution. Of course, the list is not complete. However, many teams might have their unique difficulties, while these are common for most remote collectives.
How to Improve the Remote Team Workflow
When managing a remote team, it’s essential to make sure your employees are motivated and comfortable in their workplace and that they have access to all the necessary information. It is even more critical when you have to deal with managing geographically distant employees who don’t see each other very often.
So here are some useful tools that can improve your team workflow.
Cloud storage is a reliable way to make sure you have all the necessary information at your reach wherever you are. For example, you can easily share documents with your employees or provide them access to some of your business files.
The most significant advantage of cloud storage is that it eliminates the need to use emails when you want to send a file.
It’s vital to keep in touch with your employees and provide them with feedback, even if they’re located on different continents. Online conferencing tools can help you do that easily and frequently by organizing webinars and video conferences.
Software for Recording Meetings and Webinars
It’s essential to give your employees access to recorded meetings so they can watch them whenever they have time. In addition, recordings can help people refresh the information on the topic that was discussed at the conference and prepare them for the next one. So, using a screen video recorder can be an excellent idea.
Team Collaboration Tools
As we have already mentioned, communication and collaboration are vital for a team of remote workers. These are multiple messengers, apps for managing calendars, managing tasks, etc. that can work for you. The primary purpose of these tools is to simplify managing a remote team by making all the communications available for you and your employees.
Remote Team Management Tips
When managing a remote office, it’s essential to use your common sense and keep in mind the fact that managing a remote team can be a challenge. Besides, you have to take into account cultural differences, time zones, etc.
Planning Your Business Day
It’s crucial to plan your workday in advance so you can organize it according to your employees’ time zones. This simple trick can make managing a team of remote workers much easier as you won’t have to wake up your employees in the middle of the night or try calling them when they are at lunchtime.
Delegating Tasks Effectively
Remote teams have certain advantages, but it’s harder to manage them because there is a limited number of ways to communicate with each other.
One of the most reliable ways to delegate a task is by sending a message with all the necessary information and a deadline. Many team collaboration tools have this option, so you can include a short description of how your employee should complete this particular task in the email.
A useful tip for managing remote teams is to have scheduled meetings as often as possible. This way, you can make sure all your employees are informed about what’s going on and don’t feel like they are isolated from the main office.
There is a higher risk of conflicts in managing remote teams as people might not be able to see each other face-to-face and thus misunderstand each other more often.
One tip for managing a remote team is to use online meetings to your advantage. This is one more point where recording a meeting can work for you, as these records can be helpful when you have to handle the conflict in question.
Also, you should give your employees some space. For example, employees working in the same office might have a chance to go out for coffee or have an informal chat during breaks. This way, they can reduce the tension between each other and get along successfully. However, there is no such an opportunity for remote employees.
Thus, you should consider organizing team buildings or one-to-one meetings to make your team more cohesive.
Managing a remote team has its benefits, but it can be complicated at first due to time differences, the lack of communication, etc. However, there are many ways to make managing a remote team easier. All you have to do is to choose the right tools for interacting with your employees and get rid of all possible distracting elements.