Companies worldwide are increasingly adopting a remote or hybrid mode of work for their employees. And this has been found to be beneficial for both the employer and the employee – studies have revealed that employees working from home tend to be more productive as well as happier when compared to those working from an office.
But, that doesn’t mean remote working doesn’t have any downsides. From ensuring effective collaboration to remote employee monitoring – there are several challenges companies face when handling remote teams. And, overcoming these is key to ensuring that your company stays on schedule with every task, without overburdening employees with more work and stress.
Fortunately, there are some effective strategies out there that you can use to easily solve these issues. Read on to know more about some common challenges of remote work and how to successfully overcome them.
The Main Challenges Of Remote Work
Tracking Team Productivity
Remote teams can be made up of employees working in different parts of the country, or even the world. And while it is difficult enough to eliminate distractions and ensure uninterrupted focus on your own tasks, it’s far more challenging to keep track of the work done by other members of your team.
Tracking team productivity is way easier when you are working in an office. But when everyone is working from the comfort of their homes, it may be difficult to maintain the same level of productivity. This is especially a challenge when multiple people are working in collaboration to complete a project. Project managers thus have to put in much more effort to effectively measure the performance of the team members.
Communication is easier when all team members are working in the office – in case one employee has a doubt, they can directly ask for clarification from their colleague or manager.
But, working remotely can restrict effective communication among teams.
There are many reasons for this. Firstly, employees working in a remote setting, especially if they are new, may not be too familiar with their colleagues whom they have never met in person. So, they may hesitate to reach out when in doubt, instead relying on their own interpretation for a task – and this isn’t the right approach when working collaboratively.
Again, if employees belong to different time zones, not everyone will be working at the same time. Therefore, there is no way to maintain effective communication at all times.
Another common reason for the lack of effective communication is technical failures or network issues. Your internet connection may fluctuate at times, preventing you from sending a file or message to another team member. Or your smartphone or laptop may suddenly stop working, leaving you with no means to communicate with your team unless you get it repaired or replaced.
While these were just a few examples, it’s enough to understand how challenging it is to maintain effective communication among remote teams.
If you are a project manager handling a remote team, managing and monitoring the tasks across the different stages of the project is sure to be challenging. Dividing the tasks according to priority and assigning them to different employees isn’t much of a hassle even when working remotely. But the real difficulty lies in ensuring that the employees finish all the tasks efficiently while sticking to the deadline.
The lack of supervision combined with distracting elements abundantly present in the house may cause employees to lose focus, which in turn may delay the closure of the project. And managing all tasks through remote employee monitoring may not be easy for project managers, especially when they are dealing with larger teams working on complex projects.
How To Overcome These Challenges?
The first step you can take as a project manager to improve team efficiency is to monitor the productivity of your employees. And for that, you need to set clear performance expectations for all your employees. When employees are aware of the goal or outcome they are expected to attain, they are more inclined to put in effort towards it.
At the same time, encourage your employees to deliver progress reports at regular intervals to give you a fair idea of their performance. You can also review their ongoing work and provide them with guidance or feedback to improve themselves. There are several online tools that you can use to monitor employee productivity efficiently.
Invest In Remote Team-Building Activities
Investing in remote team building activities is an effective way of forming connections between team members working remotely from different parts of the world. Such activities can help improve interactions between employees, enabling them to get to know everyone on their team. This in turn can improve communication between them and thereby boost teamwork.
You don’t need to plan anything too elaborate. Simple activities like holding virtual events or making it a rule to have friendly team meetups online at least once a week can work wonders in improving relations between team members. You can also organize remote workshops for your team where they get to interact with each other and learn new skills at the same time.
Use Remote Employee Monitoring Tools
Monitoring employee performance is crucial for a project manager. Unless they understand the strengths and weaknesses of different employees, they won’t be able to effectively assign tasks in a way that ensures optimum productivity. And this is when remote employee monitoring tools come in handy.
These online tools come with numerous features including time tracking, activity monitoring, attendance tracking, and so on. These can help project managers effectively manage their remote workforce and monitor their performance on a daily basis.
Handling remote teams can be a hassle. But, as long as you are well aware of the challenges you face in working remotely and actively take steps to address them, it won’t be too difficult. Try following the tips mentioned above to overcome team management issues and ensure better productivity even when working remotely.