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Leading Remote Teams Successfully: 5 Tough Scenarios and How to Address

Leading Remote Teams Successfully: 5 Tough Scenarios and How to Address
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With 56% of companies allowing some form of remote work, it makes sense for you to adjust your expectations and how you manage your team. 

After all, recruiting, managing, and building a strong remote team is completely different than interacting with peers in the same location. This means that you must prepare for challenges commonly arising when you have a team in a different location. 

Let’s go over 5 common scenarios that you will face as a remote team manager and creative ways to solve these obstacles. 

Scenario #1: Isolation Due to Lack of Social Interactions

The first and most common scenario that arises with remote teams is a feeling of isolation due to a lack of social interactions. 

While some may not realize it, the interactions that your team members have at the office help them sharpen their social skills while also bringing other benefits, like recovering from stress, promoting a better moon, and even increasing physical activity levels. 

Because of this, working from home or away from the office can give some of your team members the blues. 

How to Solve It

As a remote manager, you need to focus on motivating your team and making them feel like they have a close connection to their peers. 

One of the best ways to do this is to organize online team gatherings and give team members the chance to mingle on a weekly basis. 

A lot of companies organize a happy hour or similar event at the end of Fridays. You can set up an engagement tool like Workmates in your company to ignite your employees’ productivity and to help build team rapport. 

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Scenario #2: Lack of Task Transparency

One of the biggest differences between managing teams in-person versus remotely is the ability to monitor tasks closely. This can become a major obstacle if you’ve never managed remote teams or if your employees have just started working outside of the office. 

Simply put, you need to find a way to ensure that your team members are completing all their tasks in a timely manner. 

However, it’s also important to come up with a method that doesn’t interrupt their work or require them to invest a lot of time into sending updates. 

How to Solve It

Since you’re not in the same room on a daily basis, you need to create a system that lets you verify progress regularly and without requiring a verbal report from your team members. 

For instance, it’s a good idea to open a company account on a work management platform like Basecamp or TeamWork. 

Once you have this setup, you should create a daily workflow where your employees add a simple report at the end of each day detailing the tasks they completed and any challenges that stopped them from completing their tasks. 

If you see that they are fulfilling their tasks and doing a great job on a daily basis, you can use our recognition software Workmates and say thank you with kudos.

Scenario #3: Limited or Otherwise Poor Communication

Communication is a common issue in any workplace. 

But, unlike office settings, the biggest challenge with communication with a remote team is that sometimes it doesn’t happen as often or as clearly enough as it should. Which, in turn, can reduce productivity and even create some friction between peers. 

While email and instant messaging platforms are available in almost every workplace, you have to find a better way to promote conversations among team members and encourage these interactions. 

How to Solve It

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The first and most important thing you should do is make communication part of your company culture. This will encourage team members to interact with each other and to speak up whenever there’s an issue or challenge that needs to be addressed. 

Not only this, but you also have to adopt communication tools that help you build a better team. Large brands like Meta have released business tools like Workplace to help knit closer teams, but there are many alternatives, so it’s important to find one that suits your requirements. 

In addition to improving how your team interacts, alternative team communication tools like Workmates can also help you reduce communications-related costs, especially if you calculate long-term cost savings. 

Scenario #4: Little to No Attention to Security Best Practices

Remote team members are involved in 62% of all security breaches because these professionals don’t tend to focus on security. 

This is understandable because, in conventional office environments, the IT and management teams carry most of the burden from this perspective. 

When having a remote team, a lot of these responsibilities fall on the shoulders of each individual, but not all employees are even aware that this may be an issue. 

How to Solve It

Awareness is everything when it comes to security, so your first course of action should be to set up regular training sessions that revolve around company security. 

Take the time to explain the different ways that cyber criminals target companies and the impact that a security breach may have. 

Additionally, make sure that your team has the tools they need to work online safely, like a virtual private network (VPN). Consider purchasing a subscription during a sale like a VPN CyberMonday promotion to get an account for your whole team at a discounted price. 

Scenario #5: Poor Schedule Adherence and Availability

While office workers are not always as productive as remote team members, it’s important to note that schedule adherence and availability are not big issues with the former group. With the latter, it can become a challenge. 

In many cases, not having your team members online at the same time can result in canceled or postponed meetings and tasks. This, in turn, can delay milestones and cause other operational delays that translate into losses. 

How to Solve It

For starters, it’s important for your leaders to display their leadership skills and display exemplary behavior. 

In other words, you should encourage everyone in your company, including C-level managers, to stick to your opening hours. If your business allows for flexibility, consider establishing a schedule, sticking to it, and encouraging the rest of the team to do the same.

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Advantages of Having Remote Team Members

Higher Productivity (When Engaged!)

More than 35% of professionals feel more productive when working online, and many studies suggest similar patterns. 

However, it’s important to note that your team has to be engaged in order to show this productivity boost. Besides lowering productivity, a lack of engagement can be an early sign of isolation in your team. 

Wider Talent Pool

An undeniable result of having remote teams is that you now have access to a wider talent pool. When you choose to hire internationally, you invite experts with valuable new skills, experiences, and perspectives into your business. This diversity enriches your team for future business innovation.

From Seattle to Sydney, you can now opt to work with professionals of all levels in different time zones. This can give you fresh ideas, allow you to connect with higher-level professionals, and improve your output without increasing your expenses. 

Lower Expenses

Not only can remote team members keep costs low, they can actually help you save money. This is especially true if you’re renting a large office space.

Besides saving on rent, your company can also cut costs on IT, maintenance, and cleaning expenses if your office is not used as often or at all. 

To Wrap Up

Running a remote team will always be challenging, but modern technologies allow you to monitor and collaborate with location-independent contributors with more ease than ever before. 

The best part is that this setup can help boost productivity and attract top-level talent, but make sure to think about combating loneliness, creating a transparent environment, and overcoming other common obstacles managers face when working with a remote team.

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Author Bio:

This article is written by a marketing team member at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is a leading provider of proven HR solutions, including recruiting, onboarding, employee communications & engagement, and rewards & recognition. Our user-friendly software increases employee productivity, delivers time and cost savings, and minimizes compliance risk.

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