Managing remote teams is rewarding in many ways. However, it also comes with challenges. When you don’t see your employees face-to-face, you’ll have to be creative on how to keep them engaged. This video explains why you should change your management mindset when managing a remote team:
There are a lot of ways to help you manage your remote team right. But there are also ways to do it wrong. Below are 6 mistakes that you should avoid doing if you have a remote team to manage—and to avoid being tagged as a client from hell.
When you’re too busy, it can be easy to forget that you actually have remote employees. This is particularly a possibility when you have both office-based and home-based staff. Out of sight, out of mind becomes very relatable.
Even though your telecommuting workers are very dependable and independent, they still need to hear from you. A simple greeting in the morning can be enough. You can even tell them you’re going to be busy the entire day.
When you reach out to your staff only to give them tasks, they might feel as though you don’t care that much for them.
On the flip side, being too “present” can backfire, too. Micromanagement is a problem whether you have a remote or in-office team. It’s understandable, actually. You might think that because you’re not in the same place, they need more extensive guidance. You also probably want to make them feel that you’re “around”.
However, among the reasons why workers switch to freelancing or choose to work remotely are freedom and flexibility. If you can’t leave them be for few hours straight, it sends the message that you don’t trust them to do things well on their own.
Failing to Establish and Encourage Team-Wide Communication
Even though your remote employees have roles that are not directly related to each other, they should be connected as a team. And as the manager, you have the responsibility to establish that connection.
When your remote staff communicates to each other like a team, they will feel like they belong to a group. There’s also a sense of camaraderie. Otherwise, they might feel alone and clueless about how others in the teamwork. They will also think there’s no help available when they need it.
Devise plans for communication. Set up team chat groups where they can talk about work and talk about anything. It would help to set up a weekly or monthly team-wide conference call, too.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
Not Taking Different Time Zones Into Consideration
One of the greatest benefits of hiring remote employees is that you can work with talents from across the globe. However, the varying time zones may prove to be a challenge. But this is easily remedied by being as flexible as your remote workers.
When you hire people from the other side of the world, you need to be open about having a flexible schedule, too. Consider having your staff work in a schedule convenient for them. Just make sure there are at least one to two hours that your schedules can meet.
This is a case-to-case thing, though. You might need your workers to work in your time zone for some reason. If that’s the case, then you should find people who are willing to adjust for you.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
Being Too Lax
Having trust in your hires shouldn’t mean leaving them totally alone. And even if they’re used to the remote setup, you should still consider them as an actual member of your organization.
Remote workers are usually hired as independent contractors. Thus, you need to provide a contract. A formal agreement between both of you defines your responsibilities as employer and worker. It also helps set clear expectations.
The lack of regular and adequate feedback and coaching is already a common problem among office-based teams. And working with a remote staff is double the challenge.
When you assign tasks, make sure you provide as much info and direction as possible. Then, when the project is done, make an effort to check it thoroughly and give honest feedback. Is it good? Does it need improvement? In what aspect?
Then, set up an overall performance evaluation. This can be done quarterly or semi-annually. For bigger teams, an annual evaluation is reasonable.
Managing a remote team is full of challenges. But, it gives you an opportunity to step up your management game. When you avoid doing the mistakes above, you can surely reap the many benefits of working with remote staff!
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