The Challenges of Remote Teams(and How to Overcome Them): Part 1

Modern workplaces are constantly changing to adapt to workspace constraints, evolving employee needs, and attempts to improve employee attraction and retention. As such, many organizations are beginning to shift where work happens, allowing employees to work remotely.

Letting your team work remotely has several benefits. If you are looking to hire top talent, the possibility of reporting to work from a remote office allows you to attract more candidates by opening the job search outside of your specific geographic location. And, the option to work remotely is a low-cost solution to improve employee happiness and retention.

That said, employing a remote work environment also comes with its challenges. If you don’t have proper measures in place, it can be difficult to communicate, set up times to meet, and maintain accountability across teams.

However, when managed efficiently, remote teams can result in an effective, productive, and engaged staff. In this series, we’re going to tackle the top three challenges remote teams face and help you find ways to overcome them.

Poor Communication

One of the top challenges of working with any team is open communication. On remote teams, it’s even more challenging. When your employees aren’t in the same place, they have limited visibility into what their co-workers are doing. It becomes easy to make an error in how one shares information. For example, if you are working with in-house and remote employees, team members may remember to share with the team they see every day, but forget those who are out of office.

When managing a remote team, it is essential to provide the proper tools to communicate amongst team members. Whether it be email communication, instant messaging tools, phone calls, or video conferencing software, develop a system for communication and make it policy. Build in opportunities for the team to get together in person as much as is practical.

And, as a manager, you must lead by example, keeping in touch with each remote worker individually and collectively. Gather frequent feedback to ensure they feel supported and have everything they need to be successful. We recommend setting up a weekly check-in call or video conference to monitor how things are going. Be sure to ask if there are any communication issues, productivity problems, or other stressors that may be holding them back. Ask for opinions on how to improve. Don’t forget to listen to their responses.

Stay tuned for more tips on how to manage a successful and efficient remote team. Next week, lack of accountability…