Managing a remote team effectively
With a lot of leading organizations like Yahoo, IBM, Dell and Accenture wooing the best talent in the industry by giving them the option of working from home the number of people working remotely has increased steadily over the years. A study by Global Workplace Analytics shows that 79 % of people want to work from home and 36 % would choose that as a job perk over a pay raise.
However, there are two sides to every coin. What are the pros and cons of remote teams?
Firstly working in remote teams provides immense flexibility to employees to work on their own terms. They can manage their work around their children’s schedules and other home commitments without worrying about leaving early or coming in late to work.
Secondly, if you are willing to work with remote teams you can hire the best talent in the industry without worrying about their location and time zones, thus increasing the chances of finding your dream candidate. Lastly, remote employees have higher chances of retention as they spend no time commuting to office increasing their engagement levels and work life balance by giving them the comfort of their own homes.
While there are positives there are also negatives of having remote teams. It’s one thing to work from the same building 40 hours a week and totally another to interact over mail, chat and telephone without actually meeting your coworkers face to face. No online tool can ever replace the effect of social connectivity. It may be very difficult for the manager to judge the engagement levels of the team without meeting them face to face. Thus, putting them at a higher risk of social isolation. Remote employees may also be based out of different time zones making it difficult to arrange urgent meetings.
Are you currently managing a remote team or are expected to in the future? Then read on….
Leverage technology tools –There are various online tools like Slack, skype, chat etc. which can be leveraged effectively for keeping in touch on a daily basis. You can also choose to have a check in time each day wherein the tasks of the day and other updates can be discussed with the team.
- Do not micro manage – Remote teams are based on the pillars of trust. As a manager you need to avoid micro management and trust the team to complete their tasks with autonomy and commitment.
- Continuous feedbacks – A regular feedback mechanism needs to be developed wherein two-way feedback is taken. Regular feedback discussions will make the employees feel cared for and connected.
- Set clear expectations – Chances of slacking are really high in remote team members since they do not work in the conventional 9-5 setting. Setting goals and expectations clearly right from the start will ensure compliance and goal alignment.
- Encourage collaboration – As a manager you do not need to make all meetings transactional. You can keep aside a few minutes on video calls to encourage the team to share their nonprofessional lives.
Remote teams are the future of work with a huge chunk of the workforce choosing work life balance and flexibility as an imperative while choosing a job opportunity. While it may not be successful in all types of job profiles, as managers and organizations, we need to be prepared to work in this setting sooner than later.