Managing remote teams poses complex challenges with viable solutions. Hybrid teams, a combination of remote workers and the ones that are present at the workplace could help a business enhance productivity, lower operational costs and become more agile in terms of diversity. But with IT support for remote workers a lot of challenges can be overcome who have been trained with the traditional parameters at the workplace.
Managing remote teams has become a critical feature in the work environment. During the pandemic many people have left their organization and the talent is not returning. Remote teams with their benefits and challenges are here to stay big time. Once companies go on to assess their current and future working environment, a form of remote or hybrid workforce is likely to be an option. For the leaders, remote teams could turn out to be a permanent reality.
However, a point to consider is managing remote teams is not an easy task. According to figures 70 % of employees found it difficult to adapt after lockdown as a way of doing business. The main challenge was how to deal with a remote workforce. Still, a few of the challenges do exist.
The challenges of remote working and how to deal with them
Remote working is considerably different from the traditional module of working. Working from home means that the workers and the employees are separated from each other. While it has compelling benefits there are a few challenges that need to be overcome too.
Lack of face-to-face communication
Managers work that their employees are not putting in the hard yards when it comes to work. Employees may struggle when it comes to tools necessary for official communication and support. When their needs and support are not their remote workers truly feel like remote managers as nothing is in their control.
IT support for remote workers means establishing a structure for daily or weekly check-ins. Project milestones need to be set with specific guidelines and the free time should be used to discuss potential obstacles and progress.
No clear-cut expectations
Just because employees were clear about their work expectations at the office, it is not expected to be the case in a remote environment. There have to be precise guidelines and directives on how to accomplish an objective, how to respond to communications and the manner of attending virtual meetings.
It is better if you set expectations early on more so when it comes to priorities, performance goals and milestones. Have well-documented policies and it is smart to establish boundaries and realistic expectations that should be set around meetings and respond to after work works and meetings.
Remote employees may indicate that they have reported an increase in productivity levels at home, but a few of them were not created for the same. These are employees who may find it difficult to work without any supervision. They will require additional ways or innovative tools to track and progress so that they are able to stay on track.
Productivity in the workplace is dependent on structure and predictability. IT support for remote workers suggests that you need to create a structure in place with recurring support. A clear timetable should be set and everyone needs to be on track.
Lack of communication
When employees report to work daily, they are known to engage in friendly banter. A lot of suggestions emerge that are not possible in a remote working environment. Any interaction and communication have to be planned and intentional.
The best practices should mean that you need to do your best so that communication happens regularly. For remote employees, you need to block certain times of the day when you are available. You need to show them the calendar that will indicate when the employees are free.
Lack of team cohesiveness
In the hybrid work environment of today, some managers may feel that they are managing a group of employees on-site, and remote employees at the same time. In such cases, one group may end up availing more benefits than the other.
The solution is to make everything as clear as possible. An example is if you are providing lunch to on-site workers ensure that it extends to the remote teams. If you want the remote teams to have flexible working hours, you need to find a way where the benefits extend to on–site employees. Make a conscious effort to eliminate any form of bias by ensuring remote employees are treated in the same manner as in an office.
Social interaction is a common feature when you have employees coming to the office. For this reason, loneliness is one of the common complaints of remote employees. When you are isolated from others it is going to have an impact on your mental and physical well-being.
You need to build social connections in whichever possible way you can. Plan social interactions and find out ways where you can meet and interact. Indulge in every possible activity that ensures a sense of belonging.
To conclude managing hybrid teams may be a difficult task. Though still a few of the main principles are applicable. Good communication has been vital when it comes to IT support for remote workers. The only difference with hybrid teams is that communication has taken the online route. Make sure that you interact with the teams about the challenges they encounter, optimize operations and systems when necessary and when it comes to leading set an example.