Teams are being hired and managed remotely, but organizations everywhere don’t quite seem to have got used to the new setup. As we enter the last quarter of the year and look forward to 2020, it is time for organizations to get their act together and avoid making mistakes while hiring and managing a team of people working from remote locations. Here are mistakes that organizations must steer clear of while managing remote teams in 2020.
- Keep checking on your team regularly: Since you are managing a team remotely and not interacting with or meeting each member on an everyday basis, it can very well become a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. In a remote work environment, forgetting the names of resources is a distinct possibility. Staying connected with them regularly to keep a check over proceedings is advisable. Even those working independently need a supervisor to ensure that deadlines for all assignments are met. Drop-in regularly for a ‘Hello’. Keep scheduling formal meetings on set dates and time slots.
- Do not be obsessed with Micromanagement: This is one of the biggest remote team management mistakes made by most organizations staffing remotely. You do not have to micromanage each individual working for you remotely. When you hire a remote employee, the last thing you have to do is hound that person. Constantly checking for updates only frustrates remote workers. As long as your workers are self-reliant, maintain constant communication with you and seldom create issues, you should not be tracking them that frequently. Remember one thing. We all need our space. Your remote workers are no different. Do not get on their nerves by pestering them with inquiries on work status all the time.
- Varying time-zones matter: Just because 4 in the evening works for you does not mean it works for somebody on the other side of the planet as well. Managing remote teams has its pros and cons. While you get to hire talent from anywhere across the globe, the downside is that you have to be mindful of time zones. Although you might still be working, someone working remotely for you in a different time zone might have left for the day or could be asleep. Schedule meetings accordingly so that you and your remote employee are both available to connect in a time slot convenient to both.
- Build camaraderie within the team. Always be ready to help: Managing remote teams means building team camaraderie. Remote employees, if not communicated with regularly and not kept in the loop, can often feel isolated. This is categorically applicable for those among them who are introverts. You, being the leader, must make them feel home by initiating conversations that help break the ice. Perhaps, the best way to do so is by celebrating birthdays, work anniversaries and major milestones. It so happens that these lighter moments shared at work eventually become the reason behind some strong team bonding that keeps both you and your remote workers in touch over long periods.
- Exchanging too many emails can be detrimental: Excessive email communication must be avoided. If you barely get to see or hear your remote workers, perhaps a change in strategy is necessary. Start using voice and video chats to communicate. Sensing the tone and emotional state they are in during chats will always remind you that your remote workers are humans too. While email interactions are fine, chats are better. Too many emails breed a sense of disconnect and a flurry of them may cause your remote worker to start losing interest in work. Emails being shot to-and-fro may also result in boredom or a kind of disillusionment from what you are doing. You must take time out to talk to these individuals if you are to maintain a strong connection with them and ensure that they give their best.
- Practice what you preach: At the end of the day, somebody is working remotely for you. You must realize that. You clock in at 9 in the morning and clock out at 5 in the evening. Your remote staffers too will begin to follow that schedule, defeating the whole purpose behind remote working. They must enjoy the freedom that comes with working remotely, which is to finish the task at hand and clocking in the requisite number of hours, even if it happens to be a bit late. They must enjoy flexibility in their schedules in order to enjoy a healthy work-life balance. So, if yours is a remote staffing company, you must accordingly conduct yourself professionally and give your remote worker that liberty.
- Try connecting with your remote workers personally: This is necessary. The conversations must not always be about work and deadlines. While people may not always be open and willing to discuss life outside the office, it is not a bad idea, at times, to try to find out whether all is well with them personally. It helps. Employees always want to be liked by their bosses. Find out something about their interests and passions. Perhaps, you might find something common in there. This way, your workers too will feel looked after and won’t feel as if office life is all about work, meeting deadlines and taking client calls. Such gestures of concern keep their interest alive at work. Each time you hire a remote employee, you must make sure you connect with him/her personally at some level once all work-related obligations are dealt with.
- Keep them updated about everything going on: When you run a company, events unfold all of a sudden. This includes employees who have been hired recently, some corporate acquisitions that have been made, results that were achieved in the second quarter, etc. The catch here is that you have remote workers working for you from all over the world and they must be kept updated about all the latest developments. Not doing so might make them feel disconnected from the organization, even inconsequential to its growth. This may lead to attrition. When you have people working for you remotely, it makes the utmost sense to keep them informed so that they feel strongly connected with the organization.
These mistakes must be avoided at all costs in case you are managing teams remotely. This will keep your business flourishing.