Managing remote employees and the virtual team is an uphill battle for companies that are new to this practice.
Today’s workspace is highly dynamic, and companies choose a hybrid workplace model that features both remote and in-office teams.
The latter one is conventional and manageable with ease, but the former one is much more challenging, to say the least.
This article will discuss 10 tips for managing remote employees and virtual teams most appropriately.
These tips will help manage hybrid workspaces, keep the information flow streamlined, and shoot productivity upward companywide.
Challenges of Managing Remote Employees & Virtual Teams
The practice of affording a virtual team through remote work is now at an all-time high. Companies that keep their eyes on minimizing costs and giving employees proper work-life balance intend to bring the practice of remote work into their previously exercised work culture.
However, challenges in managing these teams are at their supreme too, because a lack of expertise and experience can deter managers from putting the plug in the right hole, and smart employees can outplay their managing counterparts to exploit the systems.
Some of the challenges that managing remote employees and virtual teams are as follows:
a. Clear & Efficient Communication: Managing remote employees requires seamless communication, which can be deterred due to internet connectivity and technical difficulties.
b. Performance Management: Employee productivity management is the biggest challenge when running a remote team. Without sophisticated remote employee monitoring software, it is impossible to stick to the expectation that you set before deploying the remote team.
c. Low Employee Engagement: The engagement between the management and employees and the engagement among employees would hit the lowest level when working remotely without online tools that could have improved the situation.
d. Security Threats: There might be security hazards when employees use their own devices or networks that can be unsafe. Coordinating and implementing strong security measures in many locations can be challenging too.
e. Building a solid company culture: Employees will be isolated from the workspace and interconnectivity will be extremely low, and employers will face unprecedented challenges in building a company culture that sustains the long run.
Though remote work culture brings incredible flexibility in the workspaces, these are the common issues companies worldwide face, making remote work employee monitoring ridiculously tough.
10 Tips for Managing Remote Employees and Virtual Teams
If the previous section of the article aligns with the challenges you’re facing (or worse), then you are probably reconsidering modifying your strategies and wondering if that works!
Here, we present the 10 best tips and tricks to help you crack the code of managing remote employees and virtual teams.
1. Set a clear Expectation, not an Exaggerated one
Ensure that all team members comprehend their roles and responsibilities as a crucial first step in remote management. Articulate your workload, deadline, and performance metrics expectations.
Remember that ambiguity fosters confusion.
Again, don’t set too exaggerated expectations that dispirit the workforce at the very beginning. Therefore, supplying clarity and direction is crucial in remote work situations that are sensible and logical.
2. Maintain Frequent Communication
Maintaining regular communication with your remote workforce is the single biggest weapon to fight the challenges of remote working environments.
We are surrounded by a plethora of communication tools that can help us stay updated about the team’s performance.
These might be as simple as emails or as complex as video conferencing, chat apps, and project management software.
Frequent encounters keep everyone in sync with one another and help prevent feelings of isolation, which can develop due to geographical distances.
3. Delegate Responsibilities Carefully
While managing a hybrid workspace that comprises both on-premises and remote workers, delegating responsibilities according to the caliber of the employees is an art.
You must break down the work into small tasks, set goals for all of them, and identify the employees best suited to carry them out.
Moreover, it would be best to keep an eye on the resources available to remote workers.
While delegating the responsibilities to this class of people, you need to ensure they are not facing difficulties, at least in the technological aspect. Monitor the progress, see analytics, and incentivize the employees to give 100%.
4. Choose the Tools Prudently
Most companies take this tip as an overrated one and end up needing to improve in this aspect.
We live in an age full of tools that make our life easier, and we face decision fatigue while choosing them correctly.
So, while making the purchase, you must categorize them first and then select suitable tools for your business.
The categories may encompass time-tracking tools, employee collaboration tools, task management software, etc.
5. Trust the Remote Employees
In a remote work setting, as a manager, you should fight the temptation to micromanage. Instead, consider delegating authority to your workers, giving them the responsibility of managing their own time and emphasizing the output and results of their work.
So, building trust can be an excellent way to kickstart the building of the remote work team process.
6. Make the Hybrid Workplace Lively
Interaction is essential, and we can’t emphasize it more. If you are running a hybrid workforce, we can’t keep the teams separate from each other.
They may gain their purposes separately, but that won’t help you make a sustainable culture in the workplace that the next generation of employees will be willing to follow.
So, bring life into the teams, hold sessions outside office work, arrange parties, and celebrate the little to great achievements both the teams achieve.
These little efforts will help you change the gear of your work for good.
7. Work-Life Balance is still the Priority
Maintaining a healthy balance between work and personal life is critical while working remotely.
Encourage your team members to unplug from work after hours, take frequent breaks, and maintain a healthy balance between their personal and professional life.
A remote work environment has already brought significant flexibility to the workspace. Maintaining that every day is a challenge that can be tackled by being empathetic to the employees without degrading the
effort for the goal you want to achieve.
8. Emotional Support is a Key
Not all the people in your organization are good with emotion management. Not all of them have the same level of emotional intelligence.
Combating loneliness and isolation for a particular group of people is more challenging than for those who manage their emotions well.
In #6, we already discussed how interaction could play a crucial role, so don’t hesitate to arrange various online team-building sessions to help the loners get into the group.
This will also help them express themselves fully and unleash their potential.
9. Create a Feedback Loop
A feedback loop is a process in which the outputs of a system are circled back and used as inputs. Encouraging constructive feedback allows you to address concerns, and identify opportunities for growth.
This feedback loop ensures that remote employees feel supported, connected, and motivated, leading to a stronger virtual team dynamic.
By providing timely feedback and guidance, you can help remote employees improve their skills. This can lead to the self-regulation of the system.
10. Refurbish the Performance while Necessary
From time to time, you will need to check on employee performance and find what is not working smoothly. Brush them up as necessary.
Performance evaluation and retraining will be essential to enhance remote employees’ performance and ultimately drive success for the entire virtual team.
Offering training opportunities, and fostering open communication channels can lead to improvement of your virtual team performance.
Effectively managing remote employees and virtual teams requires a thoughtful and proactive approach.
From establishing clear expectations to creating a feedback loop and refurbishing performance, these 10 tips can help you build strong remote teams to thrive in the virtual environment.
Be sure to follow these strategies to overcome challenges and manage remote employees more effectively.
Author: Hasan Abir is working as a Growth Marketer at Apploye. He would love to work out of his comfort zone, and his passion is for digital marketing.