Advancement in technology has made it possible for workers to work remotely and be productive without being physically present in the workplace. A significant number of companies and organizations have embraced the concept of working remotely in a bid to cut down real estate expenses and attract top brains. The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic prompted many organizations to work from home for the first time.
However, remote working isn't short of challenges as remote workers are often reported to grapple with loneliness and feelings of alienation from their co-workers and company culture. When these challenges go unaddressed, deadlines, company spirit, and overall productivity are significantly ruined.
Organizations and employees intending to realize the benefits of working from home must embrace and sustain a culture of open communication in the workplace. The success or failure of any team depends on the effectiveness of the communication between the employees. Below are the top skills managers must have when working with remote teams.
- Ultra-clear Communication
Communication is a fundamental skill that every manager should possess, no matter where they're working from.
But, remote communication is a unique case, and managers ought to be conscious of this when communicating or issuing directives in the form of writing to their work from home employees.
In such a setting, regular communication and constant check-ins are critical to the effective management of remote employees. In addition, the extensive goals of the team or vision of the organization should be explicitly expressed. This is something managers are well-versed with, so it should be a non-issue when it comes to implementing the same in a remote-work setup.
- Build Trust
Several companies are reluctant to adopt a remote workforce because they're doubtful whether the productivity rate will match that of working from the office. Actually, several studies have found that remote workers are more productive than their in-house colleagues.
To dispel this concern, come up with remote working principles that you are ok with, such as emails must be acted on within 24 hours of receipt and texting for issues that need immediate attention. These should be captured in your remote work policy. By briefing your remote team with these guidelines, you'll feel less bothered with their absence from the office since now everyone knows what is expected of them.
- Dwelling on Goals Instead of Activity
When switching from solely in-office workers to remote employees, it's necessary to keep your expectations under control and remain focused on the master plan. Instead of directing all your energies on what's being carried out at a micro-level, focus on what's being achieved.
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If your team is accomplishing the goals you've put in place, that's wonderful. If not, dig deep to find out what your team might be causing it and have it addressed quickly. In most cases, it's a communication problem that can be addressed with a candid dialogue between you and your remote team.
- Schedule Video-centered Coaching
One-on-one connection is crucial, particularly with remote workers. Failure to slate time to converse with one another in person can cause the feeling of silence to heighten, prompting the remote employees to question whether what they're doing is correct or not. Slating a periodic cadence of video calls can help strengthen the connection between you and your remote employees. In fact, video conferencing is much more effective for communication compared to complete audio setups. The advancement in video conferencing technology ensures that the virtual conversation is inclusive and sounds more natural.
- Connect Employees Goals with Yours
The world is transitioning swiftly to a workforce more focused on learning and advancing skills than stability. This is especially the case in relation to companies with a sizable percentage of hybrid or remote workers. Develop an individual interest in learning matters involving your team and use that opportunity to introduce them to the organization's goals.
By ensuring that your team feels that their work for the organization is directly connected with their personal goals, engagement and performance are bound to remain high.
- Use Technology to Build Community
Setting up and maintaining a community is vital to sustaining a fully-engaged remote team. Take advantage of the available technology to establish a space devoted to honoring special days, company achievements, and community recognition. This will help further strengthen the connection between the remote employees and the organization resulting in improved productivity and a boost in team spirit.
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- Showing and Rewarding Achievement
When you're in the workplace, it can be easy to give directives and acknowledge a particular team member's hard work. If your workforce team is dispersed all over the country or even in varied time zones, it can be pretty challenging to find a standard time when everyone is working. However, establishing a means to recognize good work is essential no matter the means used to convey the message. In most cases, remote managers typically send out a company-wide email or inform everyone on a work messaging platform. Despite working remotely, employees need to feel that their great work is recognized, as is usually the case in an in-office setup.
- Efficient Monitoring of Work
Unlike in an in-office working environment where you can frequently monitor the progress made by every employee on a particular subject, with a remote workforce, it can be pretty challenging to do the same without proper tools in place. In any workplace setting, there are deadlines on when a particular activity should be completed, and this is no exception with a remote workforce. So, how can you keep track of work progress remotely? There are a wide range of software programs that can be applied to assign duties and track the progress of the work accomplished every day. Making use of these different software tools is vital for monitoring the progress made by the off-site employees.
However, it's essential to demonstrate that you've confidence in your team. You can't monitor all that they are doing. Routine communication is vital, but so is showing you have trust in their abilities to see the work through.
As you can see, there are plenty of top skills managers need to have when working with remote teams to get the best out of the remote workforce and keep the operations of the organization running smoothly. Therefore, if you're a remote manager and are yet to acquire the aforementioned skills, you're missing out on getting the best out of your team, negatively impacting your company.About the Contributor