Managing people is complicated enough on its own, but it gets even more difficult when you have to manage a remote team of employees. So, before you try to ensure that you are an excellent remote manager, make sure that you understand management basics.
Generally, this is going to include building the right kind of systems, making sure that you are supporting your people, and providing some coaching. If you have just put together your remote team, here are some amazing, Effective Remote Team Building Ideas for Your Company.
Typically, when it comes to managing a remote team, you can face the following X challenges:
The first challenge is that of visibility. When you work with people on a day-to-day basis, visibility is part of it. But, when you work remotely, much of the visibility is lost, leading to issues with trust, accountability, and empathy.
Besides, there are a lot more potential distractions in a home environment than there are in an office environment. Besides, some people will simply take advantage of the fact that nobody can tell what they are doing.
The solution is to have standards around your chat and email and specific areas that you can target, such as when you should be online and what happens if you will go away.
Everybody – who has worked from home for a while has experienced some sort of connectivity issues. It could either be on the office side, your home side, or something in between.
If the office connection is slow, it sends the message that your time as an employee or as a contributor is not valuable. This doesn’t only destroy your morale but also your productivity.
In other words, it will destroy all of those key metrics that you are potentially looking for.
We lose a lot of the connection points when we work from home. When we work in the office, we can overhear conversations by the desk, in the hallway, or at the water cooler. We can also go to lunch with people – you get the point, there are loads of opportunities to communicate.
Another thing that happens with communication is that when people are remote, they tend to text a lot more and lose the ability to communicate face-to-face. So, as a manager, you will have to be very aware of the potential impacts of this kind of loss of communication.
Another potential challenge with managing remote teams is connection. In person, we naturally get a connection with people because we see them on a daily basis. But when we work from home, we don’t see our colleagues, which can lead to challenges with our energy and with our morale.
The lack of connection can lead to lower quality, lower productivity, and other issues. So, as a manager, you will have to be very cognizant of these issues with connection when working with remote teams.
Potential Solutions to the Challenges
As a manager of remote employees, you will want to set clear objectives, and you will want to encourage ownership. One of the ways you can get people to take ownership is by helping them to set team norms.
Suppose you already have your clear goals; here are a few things where you can help your team set some norms when they are working remotely.
Set Internet Connection Standards
This is going to apply both on the office side and the home side. You may want to ask your team how much bandwidth they need and certain long things would take when they are working from home. As a manager, you can take that standard they set and run that up the chain in the organization to get some traction on improving the connectivity.
Integrate Home Office Standards
You must assess certain areas for setting up home office standards. For instance, you might want to assess whether your remote team has suitable space and equipment. Do they have the quiet time they need?
Most importantly, you must understand that the team is setting the standards – not you. So, it makes it a little bit more acceptable. People’s offices will have significant impacts on their productivity and their ability to deliver. Setting home office standards is something that the team and you as a manager must care about.