Working remotely is becoming more popular, but keeping processes running smoothly can still be tricky.
- A remote workforce is an excellent way to reduce costs and streamline processes
- Remote teams come with their own set of challenges that can hinder or derail business processes
- Tracking/monitoring tools and regular check-ins can help manage remote teams efficiently
- Implementing remote data security protocols is essential
- Foster team spirit and a sense of community to help remote employees feel connected to the company
- Provide ongoing training, support, and mentorship to help remote teams stay productive
Many businesses leveraging a remote workforce enjoy cost savings, increased productivity, and greater employee engagement. However, remote team management comes with its own set of challenges.
Unlike a physical setup where you would easily monitor and manage personnel, remote teams bring the added complexity of managing geographical distances, tech limitations, communication gaps, and cultural norms.
But remote work is here to stay. Upwork’s Future Workforce Pulse Report shows that 28% of the American workforce (40.7 million people) will be remote by 2025. Employers must establish a streamlined and effective process to ensure smooth operations for remote teams.
Poorly managed remote teams can lead to confusion, missed deadlines, and reduced productivity. Here are seven effective strategies on how to manage process online and ensure remote teams are kept up to speed.
Challenges of managing a remote workforce
Understanding the challenges of remote work is the first step to successfully managing remote teams. While remote work offers greater flexibility, better work/life balance, and increased productivity, there are some unique challenges you must be aware of. These include:
- Communication: Remote teams lack the immediacy of face-to-face interactions that traditional work enables. This disconnect can lead to misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and delays.
- Technology: The remote workforce relies heavily on technology, which adds complexities such as compatibility issues, system downtimes, and other technical glitches. If employees aren’t tech-savvy, they may find remote work difficult or overwhelming.
- Security: Sensitive data, remote access security breaches, and data privacy are potential remote work risks. To keep remote work secure, you must have the proper remote access control and data security protocols.
- Cultural differences: When remote teams span different countries, the team members come from different cultural backgrounds and value systems. This can lead to clashes in communication, decision-making process, and deadlines.
- Geographical distances: Offshore remote teams may have different working hours, time zones, and holidays. Project collaboration, communication, and targeting deadlines become more challenging as remote teams are often geographically dispersed.
- Motivation: Without the team dynamics a physical office helps provide, remote employees may find it harder to stay motivated. They may feel isolated or disconnected from the team, leading to absenteeism, procrastination, and reduced productivity.
Working remotely, whether from home or offshore, requires leaders to understand remote team dynamics and be mindful of the challenges remote work brings. Businesses must also invest in the right remote work tools, practices, and strategies. This can help ensure remote teams are productive, engaged, and motivated. So, how can you manage remote teams and keep remote processes flowing?
Effective tips for managing a remote team for efficient online operations
A remote workforce is particularly vulnerable to process breakdowns, which can delay projects, reduce customer satisfaction, and hamper productivity. Here are seven tips to help remote teams stay on track:
1. Set clear expectations for everyone
Remote team members must understand the remote work protocols and how it differs from a traditional office. Establish remote working policies and ensure everyone in the team follows them.
Set expectations on work hours, remote access protocols, data security, information sharing, and team collaboration. Outline specific roles and responsibilities, detail milestones, track progress, and set deadlines.
2. Have regular check-ins and meetings
Since remote teams lack the immediacy of face-to-face interactions, you need to arrange regular check-ins and meetings. This will help remote teams stay on top of deadlines and assignments, discuss project plans and feedback, and maintain team dynamics.
You can leverage video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet to connect remote teams. You can also plan site visits to engage one-on-one with the team members, build trust, and motivate employees.
3. Invest in project tracking and monitoring tools
Monitor your team’s performance with remote tracking and monitoring tools. Online collaboration tools like Asana, Trello, Slack, and Monday provide a centralized platform to manage workflows, track team activities and progress, and communicate with remote teams.
Real-time monitoring tools like Time Doctor, Hubstaff, and Teramind allow remote leaders to track employee productivity and performance. This way, you can easily collaborate, manage remote tasks, and troubleshoot workflow issues that can delay, disrupt, or derail remote processes.
4. Encourage open and honest communication
Open two-way communication is critical for success. Encourage remote employees to share their ideas, ask questions, provide feedback, and raise concerns they may have. An open-door policy with remote teams helps promote transparency, trust, and collaboration.
Employees who feel valued and empowered to voice their opinions are more likely to stay motivated, engaged, and productive. Develop communication protocols and guidelines to ensure teams communicate effectively, efficiently, and on time.
5. Implement remote data security protocols
Handling sensitive data remotely requires extra security protocols and procedures. Invest in remote data security solutions, such as multi-factor authentication, encryption, secure remote access systems, and data backup systems.
This will help protect sensitive information, maintain customer privacy, and comply with data privacy laws, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Assign data security compliance roles to trusted team members and conduct regular audits to ensure data security protocols are in place.
6. Foster team spirit and a sense of community
Though remote teams are geographically separated, you can foster team spirit and build a sense of community by recognizing achievements, celebrating milestones, and organizing virtual team-building events.
Give remote employees access to the same benefits and perks as the office team. This will help them feel more connected to the company, improve their morale, and motivate them to work better. Investing in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives can also help remote teams feel included, respected, and appreciated.
7. Provide ongoing training, support, and mentorship
Remote employees need ongoing training, support, and guidance like in-office teams. Offer regular feedback, performance reviews, and learning opportunities to help them stay up to date with industry trends and new technologies.
Encourage collaboration between virtual teams to help them learn from each other and gain valuable insights into different perspectives and processes. And provide mentorship to help remote employees with career development goals. When employees feel supported, it increases their job satisfaction and performance.
Give your remote team the right tools and support they need to work efficiently, and you’ll be sure to keep processes flowing seamlessly. Efficient communication and team collaboration will help keep everyone on the same page and motivate them to stay productive.
Manage your remote workforce efficiently with DOXA
Managing remote employees can be challenging, especially when you must keep processes flowing smoothly amidst daily operations. DOXA is a leading virtual staffing provider, allowing businesses to create agile, remote teams to help manage their workloads.
With DOXA, you’ll get access to a global talent pool of remote employees, from developers and designers to customer support reps and virtual assistants. We will help find, screen, and hire the best remote talent for your business so you can stay productive and keep processes flowing. Get in touch today and let DOXA help you manage your remote workforce.