Whether it’s by necessity or by choice, many companies are switching from overpriced offices to remote working. It’s easy to understand why – not only do companies save a lot on office costs and equipment, but employees are also able to live happier and more productive lives. However, setting up a remote business has its fair share of challenges and one of the most important to tackle is how to properly manage remote teams. To do this, it’s essential that managers have all the necessary tools in place. Fortunately, we live in an age where there’s a piece of software for everything, and you can run your business from the comfort of your home the same way you would at your office desk.
The Challenges of Remote Working
Although remote working offers many benefits, these are only achievable if you’re able to overcome its challenges. From ensuring good team coordination to tracking project progression and employee productivity, there’s a lot of work to be done. Fortunately, remote working solutions offer even more benefits than working in an office.
When you’re working as a team in an office, miscommunication is commonplace. Imagine a few coworkers discussing a project and making decisions while having lunch together. Soon you have the rest of the team completely out of the loop, which can set the project back. However, when you have a remote team management platform in place that allows for easy group communication and is backed up with the correct workplace policies, everyone will always be on the same page.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is employee motivation. Indeed, remote working offers a better work-life balance, but only if people know how to switch off at the end of the day. Unfortunately, many remote workers fall into the trap of working overtime, which can quickly lead to burnout. Simultaneously, you also need to be aware that working from home can be lonely for some, especially those living alone. So, it’s vital that you have strict policies regarding workload management and remote team building.
Recommended Remote Team Management Software
Managing a remote team is hard but having the right software for the job helps tremendously. Here are the main platforms you should consider for a smooth remote working experience:
Team Communication: Microsoft Teams
Work Management: Podio
Digital Payroll: Zenefits
Team Password Security: Keeper Security for Business
Internal Communication: RingCentral
Onboarding and Training: Trainual
Imagine being able to direct a new remote hire to an app where they would find everything they needed to know about their new role. From the company’s communication guidelines policy to the story of the company itself, Trainual helps you build a clean and user-friendly company manual. The software is set up so that everyone in the company documents their expertise and responsibilities by writing and recording ‘Steps’ via useful templates, which even come with instructions. But the help doesn’t end there, as Trainual provides numerous tutorials, webinars, and FAQ sections to help you wrap your head around its terminology and organization. Additionally, admins can assign regular readthroughs and tests to check all team members have understood and assimilated all the information. Although Trainual requires a significant time investment at the beginning, your new company playbook will provide your remote team with everything they need at their fingertips. Read our Trainual Review.
International Recruitment: Oyster
Tips for Managing Remote Workers
Many of the challenges remote teams face can be solved with one solution: effective communication. Team management software will help you track project development, as it automatically updates everyone involved in a specific project about task completion and any feedback given.
Although a tracking solution can help managers make sure employees are working their set number of hours, it's better to focus more on outcomes than activity. A good thing about working remotely is that employees can work when they’re most productive, regardless of whether they’re a morning person or a night owl. Micromanagement never leads to a productive team, but it can have even worse consequences when working in a remote setting. So, if the employee is doing a good job and meeting deadlines, you don't need to worry.
Keeping remote employees motivated isn't as simple, though. For instance, loneliness has a huge impact on how people feel and how productive they are. Consequently, encourage remote social interactions, such as organizing regular online meetings to talk about things unrelated to work or have a group chat to share silly gifs and cute pet pictures.
Additional Advice for Remote Team Management
Communication is indeed essential to effectively manage a remote team. But it isn’t enough. Going remote impacts most business processes, and you need to provide the necessary tools that allow employees to continue working at full speed. That’s why it’s necessary to have an online document sharing platform in place, strict policies regarding online security, and software to improve your team’s productivity.