In the last few decades, there has been a rise in remote work. In recent years, with the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors contributing to stress on society, more government agencies and government contractors were forced to rely heavily on remote work. An emerging trend appears to be that remote work is not going away, hiring is ramping up, and demand for talented staff is increasing. So how can employers embrace remote work and effectively manage teams that are offsite?
One of the biggest challenges with managing a virtual team may lie in communication, so it’s vital to create an environment where everyone feels valued. Remote work can be difficult if not managed correctly; however, it is possible to make a successful transition from onsite to remote staff by following these ten tips:
- Plan ahead, do research about where remote work is going, and what the current trends are.
- Communicate with your team about expectations on both ends. You don’t want to leave your remote workers in the dark wondering how to complete a task without any instruction or direction.
- Be open-minded. Look for new ways to do things that might include allowing more autonomy and creativity from your team, which can be a huge boon when it comes to remote work.
- Find the right people with the right skillsets. Not everyone is cut out for remote work, so make sure you select who you want on your remote team wisely.
- Use technology to your advantage. There are many tools that can help you and your team stay connected, whether it be video conferencing, chat software, or file sharing. Utilize them!
- Respect the time difference. If you’re in a different time zone than most of your team, make sure you’re aware of what time it is in their part of the world to avoid waking people up or sending messages too late into their night.
- Make a plan for when emergencies arise. We know that sometimes there are unforeseen circumstances and things pop up at work without warning; make sure your remote workers have guidelines on how to handle emergencies in a way that doesn’t disrupt everyone’s workflow.
- Be clear with your team about when you are available to meet face to face. Sometimes it may be necessary for managers and leaders on the remote team to have video calls or do other types of meetings, so make this known ahead of time. Your employees shouldn’t have to wonder if you’re available when they need urgent help.
- Check in regularly. It’s easy for remote teams to feel isolated, so make sure your team knows that their work is appreciated and valued by checking in on them often with milestones or updates about the company at large.
- Offer rewards for great performance. This can be anything from a pat on the back to an extra day off or a bonus. Giving your team something to work towards will help keep them motivated when working remotely.
It’s vital to note that the popularity of remote work is likely here to stay, so smart executives will embrace this shift. In the end, employees should feel as though they are a part of something bigger than their own job. While there are certainly challenges that come with managing remote teams, if done correctly, remote workers can be an integral part of a company’s success. With careful planning and communication, employers can successfully make the switch to remote work by communicating expectations, leveraging technology, and creating systems and processes that increase team productivity while reducing face-to-face interaction.