We are a Husband and Wife team who have been managing a Remote of 200+ team members in Central Europe and Asia for almost ten years. Let’s look at some of the challenges you companies face when managing a remote team. This article highlights some of the challenges an organization might face and how to manage them.
Some of the Challenges listed by Harvard Business Review Article include:
I would like to add a few more challenges to this as majority of us have gone remote in the last few weeks due to COVID-19:
Some of the suggestions given by HBR article include:
Communication is the key when managing remote teams especially those off-shore and now we should include on-shore as well as everyone has gone remote. These meetings allow you to remain connected and any questions that your team might have can be answered in an open forum.
Any questions that require further discussion can be handled on a one-on-one basis.
If you are a small business there are a lot of tools such as Slack, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Viber which can keep you in touch with your team. These are difficult times for everyone so any communication that helps us stay positive and connected should be utilized.
If you are too focused on getting things done and ignoring the human aspect of the current events you might have a negative impact on your team’s productivity. You have to let the team adjust to the new reality and set policies and procedures accordingly. This is the “New Normal” and everyone will adjust to the change.
For us the key has been understanding and supporting our team who is executing our operational and strategic plans which are dynamic and evolving.
Since we don’t have the luxury to turnaround and ask a question as a Manager or a Business owner who is responsible for a remote team it becomes essential that you communicate with clarity.
If there are tasks where every team member does not need to be involved then control the communication flow as unnecessary and unproductive group emails do not add value to the tasks that need to be executed.
One rule that has worked for us very successfully is ensuring that your team members especially those in the support role can multi-task. This is the time where you need team members who can wear different hats and let the ball rolling. Specialization is good but when it comes to maximizing your team efficiency and utilization you need team members who can execute multiple tasks.
Whether you are a small business, running a remote team or planning to move your team to work remotely or thinking about outsourcing, the challenges are real but not impossible. If executed well you can run a remote team successfully.