The sudden outbreak of coronavirus turned the world upside down. While many things remain unchanged, the way we work has undergone a major transformation. COVID-19 forced organizations to operate remotely. This wasn’t even an option a few years ago, but today, it has become the new normal.
It isn’t only the small businesses who have embraced the work-from-home model, but even industry giants seem to agree with the remote model. Last year, Yelp’s CEO, Jeremy Stoppleman, announced that the company would go completely remote in a few months.
A few other big names that are embracing remote work models are Spotify, Airbnb, and Lyft. Remote work comes with many perks, including increased employee productivity and reduced company costs. But it poses unique challenges for managers.
In this article, we’ll discuss a few challenges you’ll face while managing your remote workforce and how you can overcome them. Let’s check them out, then!
#1 Employees Working Across Time Zones
When employers build a remote workforce, it gives them access to a diverse pool of talent, allowing them to engage with professionals across the world. Recruiting top professionals from the global talent pool means they live in different time zones, which is, sometimes, a good thing.
Organizations with international remote workforces reported an increase in productivity. Around 72 percent of organizations with a global remote workforce agreed that they noticed an increase in their team’s productivity since the adoption of a distributed model.
As in-country team members call it a day, they can hand off unfinished business to colleagues who are starting their day in another country.
But organizing training, conducting meetings, and other collective activities are challenging with a global workforce. You cannot expect professionals in different time zones to attend meetings in the wee hours of the night or morning just because that is convenient for you. Spontaneous interactions are also difficult with a remote workforce.
The good news is that you can work cohesively with your remote team, despite living in different parts of the world. From chat and communication tools to note and task productivity tools, you can leverage plenty of productivity tools to ensure a smooth workflow across the team.
Managing a global remote team isn’t easy, but creating helpful resources and sharing them with every employee will simplify the task. In your absence, team members can refer to them if they feel stuck while working on something. Make the resources rich and comprehensive and update them regularly, so employees can find direction whenever they feel lost.
#2 Coordinating Tasks and Projects
Coordinating tasks and projects become more challenging when dealing with diverse schedules and time zones, adding an extra layer of complexity. Making sure all your client’s needs are met can be challenging unless you’ve adopted a system for managing projects.
Shared project management software can be a lifesaver for businesses, allowing leaders to record instructions and progress in a central location. Such software allows leaders to create project milestones with precise deadlines. You can also gauge team members’ progress to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
Mango Practice Management reveals that automating project planning is the biggest benefit of project management software. By automating a series of mundane tasks, your employees will be able to focus better on important pieces of work.
#3 Making Sure Not to Micromanage
Some managers are concerned about productivity and accountability when it comes to managing a remote workforce. Will professionals slack off or succumb to distraction if they work from home rather than the office? Definitely not. These fears are unfounded.
Upwork’s Economist Report revealed that hiring managers noticed a significant uptick in employees’ productivity in the remote model. The reason? Lack of commuting, a flexible work schedule, and a reduction in non-essential meetings are a few reasons that have resulted in increased productivity while working from a remote setting.
Micromanagement is a big no-no because it affects productivity. Strong team members thrive with autonomy, whereas pesky intrusions suffocate them. Nonetheless, just like your in-house staff, you’ll need to strike a balance between smothering scrutiny and effective oversight.
Defining deliverables and deadlines clearly is one way to achieve the balance. In case delays happen, ask professionals to communicate about them upfront.
Also, remember that nothing drains loyalty and morale more than incomplete or missed payments. Hence, make sure to compensate your employees fairly and on time.
The Key Takeaway
Managing a remote or hybrid workforce with half of your team working internationally is daunting. As a manager, you’ll be faced with numerous challenges, which you will have to overcome yourself.
Remember, communication is the key to successful management. Make sure you communicate with your team members clearly and ask them to do the same. Also, do not forget to empathize with your employees. Follow them up regularly to find out what personal or professional challenges they are facing. If possible, reduce their workload.
Finally, leading by example is the best way to guide others, so leave no stone unturned to be an excellent role model for employees.