Whether you have just been hired as a remote manager, or your company made the switch to remote work, if you manage a remote team, you are bound to take on some challenges.
Remote work has been increasingly popular for many years now. The pandemic has only accelerated the process, with many companies going remote for the first time.
Workers tend to love the remote work setting for the flexibility and empowerment it grants.
Do managers love it too?
Here are the top challenges commonly faced by remote managers, and how to overcome them.
We have based this list on several reports about remote work, one of which being the State of Remote Work 2020 report by Buffer, as well as our experience as a hybrid remote team here at Timeneye. We went fully remote during the pandemic, and now we have both remote and in-house workers.
Communication is a challenge in any company, really. But in a remote setting, it’s a challenge over 9000!
Usually, the most communication issues in remote teams arise from:
What is asynchronous communication? I’ll borrow a definition from Owllabs, “Asynchronous communication is any type of communication where one person provides information, and then there is a time lag before the recipients take in the information and offer their responses.
Simply put, asynchronous communication is communication that doesn’t happen in real-time (e.g. on the phone, in-person, or during a live video conferencing meeting).”
So allow some time lag between communication and responses (within reason, of course).
Every company’s nightmare: a security breach! A database hacked! Data lost or stolen!
With a remote team, the risk of all these happening is higher than usual, because the company’s work and data are in the hands of your scattered team. Unfortunately, remote work inherently comes with security risks.
To prevent any disasters, you can make sure your team aligns with cybersecurity best practices right from the beginning.
How do you build a team if you never see each other in person?
According to the State of Remote Work 2020 by Buffer, loneliness is one of the biggest struggles of working remotely, according to the workers themselves.
It makes sense: humans are social animals. Even for the most introverted among us, the need for even a little social interaction is hardwired in our brains. The feeling of isolation and loneliness was even worsened during the pandemic due to regional lockdowns, social distancing, and quarantine rules.
All of these will help build the confidence of your team members and will create a sense of satisfaction and fullfillment in the team. People will be happier and motivated if they know their work is being recognized.
This is going to be a tough one.
So, you and your team can finally start working. How do you balance the workload of each team member (including yours)? Can you monitor the progression of the work without micromanaging them? How do you evaluate the work done, in a way that’s fair for the company but to the employees as well?
Every manager of a remote team has, at some point, struggled with each of these responsibilities. Still, they are all part of a manager’s job. And it can be difficult to do it in a remote setting, because you can’t just walk to a person’s desk to assign tasks and ask for updates.
On the one hand, work needs to be completed within a deadline, and completed well. On the other, overworking and over-monitoring the team will destroy motivation and productivity, damaging all the team-building you’ve done.
Managing a remote team will inevitably mean communication issues, security issues, as well as struggles with team engagement and performance. Invest in clear communication rules, intense team building, and the right management tools. This way, you as a remote team manager will meet each challenge.