One of the biggest challenges facing leaders within the modern business landscape is the ability to manage remote teams. The term remote working, or teleworking, has quickly become associated with divisiveness. On one hand, certain employers are intending to return their teams to a shared workspace, often as quickly as possible. Then, on the other hand, is a push for remote working to become a permanent scenario, with many citing the benefits of increased productivity and improved workplace morale.
Whether a business intends to return to the office or not, however, they are likely to be familiar with the learning curve involved with remote working. And with more teleworking scenarios likely to occur in future, it is important for leaders and managers to understand the best way to navigate and effectively manage remote teams.
It’s About Overwork, Not Underwork
One of the biggest misconceptions regarding remote working scenarios relates to underworking. There is a pervasive fear that staff members who cannot be immediately seen or easily monitored will ultimately be less productive. Early studies, however, have shown that this is not the case. In fact, the opposite is true.
Employees who are unmonitored and work in an environment that overlaps with their living space and personal life are actually more likely to overwork themselves, picking up emails outside of work hours and finding themselves unable to separate their work life from their personal lives.
As such, a major consideration for managers and leaders should be to ensure that employees are not burning out. Ensure that working hours are not exceeded and regularly check in with employees to receive feedback regarding their workload. Often employees will be apprehensive to share that they feel overworked and, as a result, will need a non-judgemental space. To learn more about cultivating such a space, leaders can consider corporate training courses.
Much of the efficiency and effectiveness that supports remote working come from technology. As a result, businesses should ensure that, if they are to begin managing a remote team, their technology is up-to-date and suitable for the professional environment.
User-friendly cloud-based operations, as well as established communication platforms, are two examples of fundamental technologies. These will allow teams to work and communicate remotely with few inhibitions. As such, leaders should ensure that their teams not only have access to successful technologies but that each employee is familiar with how to use them.
Clearly Defined Outcomes
A new business model that is becoming popular is that which focuses on outcomes or expectations. Promising a business or its leaders clearly define expected results, it can matter little as to what they achieve. Handing over this responsibility and initiative to employees enables them to choose their working hours and location, supporting their work-life balance, while still assuring that the outcome is predetermined.
Allowing employees to navigate their own process is a form of trust that has the potential of empowering their position and improving their work ethic. Managers who are seeking to run successful remote operations should consider whether such a methodology might work for their department.