Nowadays, remote working seems to be the norm across many industries. The pandemic has brought about unprecedented changes in the way that businesses and offices operate. At first, it may have been a change that no worker expected at all. But after enjoying the benefits of remote working, it’s not surprising how many businesses and their respective employees now choose to go for this type of working arrangement.
As advantageous as remote working may seem, however, it’s also not one that’s free of any challenges. Remote working doesn’t have to be a less effective way of work when managed effectively. Learning never stops, so surely, managers can learn a thing or two to improve their overall remote workforce management abilities.
With that said, keep reading below for some of the most common challenges that even the most experienced managers of remote teams face.
1. Managing Projects
One of the biggest and most apparent problems faced by managers with remote working is managing projects. It’s easier to manage work that has to be done for the day or week when your team is in the same location. When your team is spread out across multiple locations, however, the situation may be a bit different.
Even when your team is working from different locations with different time zones, managers have to be certain that deadlines are met. Targets should be achieved, too. Otherwise, your team’s effectiveness and productivity are going to suffer.
This challenge is brought about by the difficulty of tracking individual projects and progress when you aren’t physically together to check on the team. Fortunately, technology has made it possible with software and apps like the Egress Systems workforce management solutions that make it easier to assign tasks and keep track of progress. It’s up to your team to ensure you’re using the right software for your needs.
When managing a team, one of the key essentials to success is good communication. However, this can be more challenging when you’re managing a remote team. Like the difficulty in managing projects as discussed above, this obstacle is brought about by the difference in time zones and lack of physical presence of your team.
When working with remote teams, it’s not always easy to foster open communication across the entire team. To overcome this, managers can use a dedicated software or place for communication by the entire team. Meetings can also be held and scheduled regularly on time slots that are doable by everyone.
When workers are in a physical setting, collaboration is easy. In a remote working arrangement, this may be a bit more difficult. Why? Traditionally, in the office, files can easily be shared across different employees, and discussions are made openly. Should there be any problem that needs to be solved, those are addressed as soon as possible.
In a remote working arrangement, collaboration can be hampered by physical distance. Like the first two problems above, managers can solve this problem by using the right communication software and platform that fosters good collaboration.
The best software are those that allow file sharing in real-time. Documents, images, whatever the file is—those can easily be sent. Should there be any changes that need to be made, those changes and revisions can also be done and edited right away. In this case, email doesn’t just cut it. You need something more flexible, instant, and responsive.
4. Managing Time And Schedule
Depending on the time and schedule arrangement you have with your team, it can also be quite overwhelming to ensure that everyone in your team is reporting to work. If they’re on a freelance working schedule, then that shouldn’t be much of a problem. However, if you’re working on a full-time schedule, you need to have a time-in and time-out mechanism to ensure that employees are working during office hours.
To solve this, time-tracking apps and software is the answer. This enables you to have some structure with your team. It ensures members are still reporting to work in the same manner as they would in a physical office.
When you’re in the position of managing a workforce, the newfound preference for remote working arrangements may have opened you up to unforeseen challenges. Given that there seems to be no escaping the remote work lifestyle, managers have to step up and keep up. There’s no stopping learning, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that managing a remote workforce can be closely similar to managing a physical one. The challenges are only going to be there, until such time that you get used to this new normal in the workplace.