Remote work has been around for many years. However, it’s come a long way since the advent of telecommuting. Today, just about every major organization is experimenting with working remotely to some extent.
For smaller businesses, remote working is cost-effective and resource-light, making it easier for humble operations to develop into large-scale enterprises.
For bigger companies, remote teams are an agile resource, allowing for streamlined expansion into new territories. However, remote employees are only successful if they’re being managed effectively.
What is a Remote Team?
A remote team is a group of employees working together on the same project or to meet the same objectives. However, unlike office-based departments, remote teams are geographically dispersed.
Some remote workers may have once known each other and worked shoulder-to-shoulder in an office setting. Other teams may be made up of employees based in entirely different time zones.
Although remote teams are decentralized and operate in a virtual setting, they’re all working toward the same goal. While some organizations can reap the benefits of remote working, knowing how to manage remote teams is a different matter entirely.
The Benefits of Having a Successful Remote Team
Struggling to fill important roles thanks to a skills shortage in your part of the world? Remote teams could be the answer. You’ll be able to access high-skilled professionals from across the globe. In many cases, organizations can utilize rich skill sets at a fraction of the price of employing talent domestically.
An effective remote manager can also unlock significant cost-saving benefits. Provided employee retention isn’t a problem, you can dramatically reduce overheads. Remote working is also incredibly flexible.
Even employees working in a traditional office setting will appreciate the option to work from home once or twice a week.
Remote working can help employees achieve a healthier work-life balance. What’s more, without having to worry about the commute, employers don’t have to deal with late arrivals putting a dent in productivity.
The Importance of Having the Right Tools
If you’re thinking about making remote working a core part of your operation, you’ll need the right tools at your disposal. Project management software will only go so far in ensuring everyone’s on the same page.
To overcome communication challenges and encourage a culture of collaboration, you’ll need a multifaceted conferencing platform like Gloww.
With Gloww, everything from video conferencing to team-building sessions is taken care of.
You can use this browser-based solution to streamline the onboarding of new employees to your organization. Worried about knowledge gaps? With Gloww, you can take virtual training ideas to the next level as you upskill employees and turn a remote workforce into a powerful and agile asset.
Remote Team Management Best Practices
While remote working is an attractive prospect for employees, it can present management challenges for employers. Thankfully, you can iron out the kinks and make the process go more smoothly by sticking to a few best practices.
Set Clear Boundaries
While many people appreciate the nature of remote working, employers need to be clear when establishing boundaries with virtual teams. Are you managing remote workers based in many different countries and time zones? Even if those dispersed employees are working on the same projects, they’ll need to respect each other’s schedules.
Make sure everyone’s schedule is clearly mapped out and, where necessary, shared with others.
This ensures employees won’t be bothered with urgent emails outside of their usual working hours. If you’re exploring virtual working to improve staff retention and mitigate burnout, letting everyone know what’s appropriate is particularly important.
Make Sure Everyone Knows What’s Expected of Them
No matter how relaxed or inflexible your business is, make sure your remote employees know what’s expected from them, right from the off. Whether you’re switching to a remote model or starting your business from scratch, you need to underline expectations at the first opportunity.
At a minimum, everyone should understand their agreed working hours and when they’re expected to be available.
You’ll also need to introduce everyone to the communication channels you’re using. This goes beyond introducing them to platforms and software. Do you expect an email to be responded to within a set amount of time? Make this kind of information clear.
If you’re working on a particular project, deadlines should also be underscored. If this is your first time managing a remote project, you don’t want any of those all-important milestones to be missed.
Encourage Regular Check-Ins and Team Meetings
Remote working certainly has its benefits, but without regular check-ins, you’ll struggle to maintain high levels of productivity. Actively encourage remote workers to reach out if they have issues.
Managers should also be reaching out to direct reports to keep communication channels open. Ensure people are making use of the intranet that your company uses. If you’re using internal message boards, promote these so everyone’s using them effectively.
When you switch to remote working, time-consuming meetings become a thing of the past. However, virtual meetings are a must. All-hands meetings can be a monthly, if not quarterly, thing. That being said, smaller sessions with focused teams and departments should be held more frequently.
Recognize and Celebrate Achievements Remotely
Employee recognition should continue to be a staple of your business culture, even if you’ve adjusted to remote working. Spotlighting individual and department-wide achievements is a surefire way to motivate and engage your staff.
This can be as simple as mentioning achievements in an internal email or at the start of an all-hands meeting. You can also use it as a cause for celebration. Virtual parties are a great way of filling the gap left behind by office-based working, while also fostering a sense of community.
Challenges in Managing Remote Teams
If you’ve recently switched to remote or hybrid working, expect some teething trouble. Some employees can struggle to adapt to online-only workflows.
Without being able to liaise with colleagues and department managers, internal communications can also suffer. This can broaden existing knowledge gaps, leaving you in a position where upskilling remote workers becomes a major priority.
Second-rate internal comms lead to a host of problems.
Employees can miss out on crucial updates and it can also impact collaboration. This isn’t ideal if you’re depending on remote teams to work together to meet fast-approaching deadlines on business-critical projects.
How Can Gloww Help You Overcome These Challenges?
With Gloww, you don’t have to worry about the usual barriers that prevent you from managing remote teams effectively. If you’re concerned about online teams adapting to digital workflows, you can use this innovative platform for employee training purposes. Looking to host virtual corporate learning programs? No problem.
Planning a series of in-depth webinars to help with onboarding? With Gloww, you can.
Unlike other video conferencing and virtual meeting solutions, Gloww boasts a huge selection of collaboration tools that you can use to unlock the full potential of online training. Digital whiteboards can be used for online brainstorming sessions, while live polls and surveys can bring essential interactivity to your virtual get-togethers.
Worried about internal communications? With Gloww, you can keep everyone in the loop by hosting regular meetings. Keep it small by scheduling sessions with project teams and departments, or make plans for an all-hands meeting for the entire company.
Managing Remote Teams FAQs
How to create an office culture with remote teams?
Office culture doesn’t need to suffer just because your teams are working online. One of the easiest ways to foster a culture of cooperation and togetherness is to onboard remote employees as quickly as possible. This introduces them to your core corporate values, opens communication channels, and ensures they’re prepped and ready to fulfill their remit immediately.
Just because your employees work remotely, doesn’t mean they should miss out on professional development. Embrace online training and consider gamifying learning to upskill your talent. These interactive sessions also encourage disparate teams to engage with each other, further improving internal communication.
Why should I build a remote team?
Remote teams tend to be far more productive than their office-based counterparts. Without the distractions of a traditional co-working space, teams benefit from improved concentration and can deliver far more during their contracted hours.
Remote teams are also far more agile, being able to operate across multiple time zones. If your company needs to spin many plates and deliver around the clock, an international remote team is the way forward.
What are mistakes to avoid when managing a remote team?
Has your company embraced a hybrid model? Many organizations make the mistake of prioritizing in-office employees. This includes everything from cutting corners when it comes to enabling employees with the right technology and tools, to limiting skill-building and professional development opportunities for remote workers.
When managing remote teams, it’s also crucial that you keep clear lines of communication open. However, this goes beyond simple email exchanges.
To engage remote team members, make sure to include a face-to-face element. Whether it’s regular video conferencing or virtual team-building activities, adding some social interaction breaks down barriers and avoids your remote teams from feeling isolated.
Unlock the Potential of Remote Teams with Gloww
If you’re not embracing the potential of remote teams, you’re shutting the door on endless business development and growth opportunities. However, not every company finds it easy to adapt to the unique challenges of managing remote teams.
With Gloww, you have a user-friendly platform for bringing together virtual teams, wherever they’re based in the world. From weekly meetings and virtual social events to extensive corporate learning programs, this powerful browser-based platform is on hand to help.
Get started on planning your sessions for remote teams today. Alternatively, explore our pricing plans if you’re interested in our premium solutions. Want to learn about how Gloww can help you? Drop us a message via the online contact form.