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Challenges and best practices of leading a remote team

Remote work is here now, and workers want it to stay. Thanks to technology, more talents work from their homes, favorite spots in the city, or even in different countries. People avoid the morning commute and have a say in the location where they will work. It’s becoming the new norm and brings new challenges.

Leading a remote team means organizing important tasks with people that you may never see in person. You may need to collaborate with people who might be working overseas.

We will address some of the challenges with remote team management and introduce you to some potential solutions.

Before we address some of these challenges, let’s talk about why you’re probably here in the first place. Covid lockdowns changed work habits irrevocably, creating the current ground for remote work. While some thought that once things returned to some sense of normalcy, people would return to the office but this hasn’t been the case.

So, what is remote work? It is essentially a work arrangement where workers do not have to commute to a work-specific site like an office. This has allowed workers to take advantage of working from home or any other preferred destination, making it extremely popular.

So, you and your teams will have to adapt, but that’s fine because remote work seems to be a win-win for everyone. Plenty of surveys suggests that workers are more satisfied with the arrangement but are also more productive.

Remote work statistics by Flexjobs provide multifaceted reasons why remote work can be a good development. These include;

  • workers prefer working from home
  • increased satisfaction
  • greater productivity
  • avoid some of the drawbacks of traditional office work like commutes

There are a number of adaptations that you can make to accommodate the change in work habits. You can manage a hybrid system that includes both remote work and using office spaces. You should find ways to communicate efficiently.

How to lead a remote team better

Although we briefly managed some steps you can take to improve your operations; here we’ll look at specific ways to improve your remote team-building skills. In this section, you’ll find actionable suggestions that you can take to improve your remote work processes immediately.

Schedule daily check-ins

This seems like a no-brainer at first, but is essential for establishing clear communication. Daily check-ins ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding their responsibilities and the status of crucial things. It also gives you chances to nip any issues that can affect productivity in a bud. Check-ins allow all these things and more, so be sure to schedule them in ways that make sense for your team.

Take advantage of technology

Remote work wouldn’t be possible without technology, so why not use it to make managing remote work more accessible. There is software available that helps improve productivity by giving your team collaboration space. These include platforms such as Miro, which functions as a digital whiteboard that allows teams to collaborate using multiple devices in real-time to help execute and plan out projects.

There’s software that can track the time your team spends on tasks. There’s software with which you can reorganize your workflows. Be sure to detect your needs and the software programs that meet those needs. Some examples of time tracking tools would include:

  • Toggle
  • Buddy Punch
  • ATracker

If you’re looking for a smart financing solution that can ease your operations, Ruul offers features that make hiring and managing remote talents painless. With Ruul, you can recruit digital solo talents compliantly through tax-deductible invoices and manage cross-currency payouts to your external sources located anywhere easily.

Establish rules of engagement

Keeping your team engaged is an important part of being a remote team leader. While it’s easy to promote the benefits of remote work, the disconnect that teams suffer is a severe drawback. So, finding ways to keep your team engaged in the process is imperative. Doing things like having collaborative brainstorming meetings, regular check-ins, and humanizing the work environment are good places to start.

Focus on outcomes, not the activity

Activity means production, so activity is vital, right? One of the questions about remote working is “How do remote companies track employees’ work time?” One answer is software, especially software that features time tracking tools. These tools can require team members to sign on before starting a project, help make schedules, and even generate reports on the efficiency of your team’s activity.

However, focusing solely on activity is a mistake. When thinking about how to create a remote work plan, try to think long-term and focus on whether your team can accomplish its tasks. Scheduling should revolve around goals, not just sitting in front of a screen for 5 hours. It’s perfectly reasonable to have goal-oriented teams that focus on outcomes instead of clocking activity.

Encourage remote social interactions

As part of keeping your team engaged and morale high, you should encourage some form of remote social interactions. The same tech that allows you to work can be used to organize get-togethers. Airmeet delivers this by creating dynamic and interactive events that combine the benefits of virtual and in-person meetings.

While all this technology links us, feelings of isolation and disconnect have been one of the common issues associated with remote work. So, do what you can to encourage your team to connect and ensure a good environment.

Show flexibility

Flexibility is the reason why remote work is the future. Remote work came about because it was flexible enough to overcome the side effects of lockdown. So, when you face an issue, see if there is a flexible solution. Be ready to change plans on the fly or tweak the schedule. Being flexible and adapting to circumstances is how small companies work.

Mentor more than manage

When approaching your team, you shouldn’t “manage” them in the way associated with office spaces. Instead, take a light approach where you guide them with advice to solve the issue rather than heavy-handed approaches. One way to look at it is managing the project or the process, but not the people. Doing so will have your team grateful for not having to put up with being micromanaged.

Remote work is here to stay

Working remotely is here to stay because workers love it, and it proved itself more productive than traditional office work. Remote work is the reality, and organizations must adapt to it. Workers aren’t just looking at which companies allow remote work; they’re looking for places that can provide an efficient, fair, and sustainable remote environment.

Successfully leading a remote team requires getting access to the best tools for your team’s needs. It requires constant communication with them and be ready to adjust to changes in situations. The teams that make these changes will thrive and be better placed to take advantage of future opportunities. So, why not embrace these changes and look to find the best ways to take advantage of the benefits of remote work.

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Leon Cordier
An American writer curious for work trends and freelancing ecosystem.

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