How to Overcome The Challenges of Managing Remote Teams

Today’s article is written by Vaishali Badgujar. Vaishali is a digital marketer at Time Doctor, a SaaS time tracking & productivity tool for companies & freelancers. She is an inbound marketing expert & specializes in SEO.

If you have ever worked remotely or managed a remote team, I am sure you must have faced one or all of these challenges.

  • Managing time zones across team members
  • Keeping remote employees motivated
  • Measuring the performance of team members
Managing Remote Teams

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In this article, you’ll learn how to overcome these challenges. You’ll also learn about the tools you can use to manage your remote team effectively.

Why Is Remote Work Popular?

Remote work is popular among employees as they get the freedom to work at convenient places and times. This allows them to enjoy a greater work-life balance.

Employers also prefer remote employees, as it allows them to hire the best talent from across the world. It also saves them money spent on infrastructure and other employee facilities.

Common Remote Team Challenges

However, remote teams have to face challenges. Here are the most common:

  • Managing team members across time zones
  • Keeping remote employees motivated
  • Measuring the performance and effectiveness of remote team members

Let’s look at each of these challenges and how to solve them using various online collaboration tools.

Managing Team Members Across Time Zones

Often remote team members need to collaborate with each other. This becomes difficult when their work hours don’t match.

In such situations, following ideas can be used to collaborate between employees across time zones.

  • Remote team meetings: Team meetings can be held remotely at a mutually agreed time on a weekly basis. It is important to ask each team member about his/her preferred time. Google hangouts and Skype can be used to conduct remote team meetings.
  • Status meetings: Quick daily status meetings can be held between employees and managers to resolve work dependencies and discuss common tasks. Status meetings are best conducted using Google Hangouts or Skype
  • Asynchronous communication: Often, some communication to the team will be at a time when not all team members are available. Establishing a common asynchronous communication channel helps. Slack or email groups can be used for asynchronous communication.

Keeping Remote Employees Motivated

Remote employees often feel isolated or ignored due to lack of communication.

When team members do not know what is expected of them, they feel lost. This leads to serious work performance issues.

This is among the top factors affecting remote employee retention.

Here are some ideas to keep remote employees motivated.

  • Project management: It helps when remote team members know the exact project schedule and their tasks. It keeps them involved and gives them a sense of ownership. Tools like Trello make project management a breeze.
  • Social Interaction: Remote team members can be involved in fun activities either one-on-one or as a group. Periodic fun meetings can be held using Google Hangouts or Skype. Social channels can also improve engagement within remote team members. For example, they can share a board on Pinterest or like an art and craft page on FaceBook.
  • In-person meetings: Nothing beats a physical in-person meeting when it comes to building a strong team. Have in-person co-working meetings at least once a year.

Measuring The Performance And Effectiveness Of Remote Team Members

Evaluating your remote team’s performance gives you a measure of its effectiveness.

However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before you put together a performance measurement framework.

  • Project collaboration: It is important to provide all project related information to all remote team members so that they can work effectively. Tools like Basecamp help keep and share all the project information together.
  • Time management: Distractions are easy when working remotely. It is critical that you give your remote team, time management tools like Time Doctor to keep the schedule on track. With Time Doctor, you can also easily track how your employees are spending time.
  • Self-evaluation: Encourage employees to evaluate their own productivity. This helps them improve their performance and get things done faster. Time Doctor also provides a detailed analysis of time spent on various tasks which employees can use for self-evaluation.

Conclusion

While remote work can be rewarding to both, employers and employees, it is fraught with remote team management challenges.

Tools like Google Hangouts, Slack, Trello, Basecamp and Time Doctor can help you manage your remote team effectively and overcome these challenges.

Question: What else you would do to overcome the challenges of managing remote teams? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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