According to a report from Statista, over half of the American workforce is currently working remotely, with 41% of the workforce fully remote and the balance working in a hybrid status. That is up significantly from the 17% of Americans that worked remotely prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic has changed working arrangements, working remotely appears likely to continue because many companies have found savings in office space and other expenses and many employees now appear to prefer remote working conditions. But there are many challenges with managing remote work including setting standards and motivating employees.
The Challenges of Managing Remote Teams
While there are benefits to using remote work, there are also some challenges including accomplishing effective remote collaboration, managing projects, tracking tasks, achieving workforce productivity, building and maintaining trust, and keeping employees engaged. There are communication challenges because things can easily get “lost in translation” when dialogue isn’t face-to-face, along with the possible lack of clarity. Thus, setting standards is critical. Social isolation is indeed a serious challenge as well as the challenge of gaining team cohesiveness.
10 Points to Focus on When You Have a Remote Team
Here are some things to focus on to excel at leading a remote team:
- Schedule frequent check-ins including video conferencing to create valuable face-to-face face connections.
- Work on clear communication, making sure that responsibilities, tasks, and desired outcomes are clearly addressed.
- Take advantage of technology to improve engagement and team participation.
- Setting standards will reinforce the rules of engagement to make remote work as efficient and satisfying as possible.
- Manage employee expectations.
- Focus more on outcomes than simply on activities and define the purposes of the outcomes.
- Provide resources that employees need and remove obstacles to achieving results.
- Encourage and facilitate remote social interactions.
- Demonstrate flexibility.
- Show empathy.
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