The Challenges of Remote Teams(and How to Overcome Them): Part 2

Last week, we started a conversation with you about the challenges of remote teams, starting first with poor communication. This week, we’re diving a little deeper into a more personal impact, lack of accountability.

When you allow your team to work remotely, you are instilling a level of trust that they will work independently to get things done. No one is there to look over your employees’ shoulders to make sure things are happening as efficiently as possible. So, it isn’t surprising when a team member or two is unable to keep up to expectations. What do you do then?

Lack of Accountability

It is important to recognize that a lack of accountability isn’t a major problem that all businesses with remote workers see, or if it is, it doesn’t necessarily reflect all remote workers. However, when workers are not in-house, it can be difficult to tell when they are working and whether they are meeting the needs of the broader team.

Input vs. Output

Some employees might take advantage of working from home or in a remote workspace, not having a supervisor close at hand to check in. Some may try to cut work time which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as the work gets completed. Monitoring the inputs of your remote team (the hours being logged) is not nearly as important as keeping track of the outputs (goals achieved).

We often see companies who are struggling with accountability attempt to monitor hours worked with attendance software that requires employees to clock in and out or record time spent on tasks throughout the workday. In our experience, monitoring input doesn’t engender trust.

A People First mindset, on the other hand, is to identify clear and measurable goals and milestones. What gets measured gets done, and when goals are met and milestones are reached, your team has a tangible achievement to celebrate, enhancing the pride of quality that you should be looking for in talent. Speaking of which, when hiring, make sure that working independently and being self-motivated are key competencies. This will give you peace of mind that you can trust your team to work the hours needed to get the job done.

Find the Right Tools

Successful remote teams commit to processes and technologies that make collaboration, communication, and accountability easier. Most commonly, organizations running on a task-completion/result-driven model are relying on project management software to gain visibility on priorities, dependencies and progress. These platforms require training, support and full team compliance to be effective.

We understand that if you are instituting these tools and processes as a new initiative, some employees may feel like suddenly “big brother is watching.” Let People First help you navigate these conversations and shed light on why these systems work. It isn’t about monitoring your employees’ work, but about seeing the common goals of the organization and putting practices into place that allow your team to work together to reach them.

The final instalment of our Challenges of Remote Teams series is up next. Check in next week as we explore the challenges of unclear roles and limited advancement within remote teams.