How to Manage Remote Teams Effectively

Remote work has its advantages—flexibility,
low or no overhead costs, and a greater pipeline of applicants from which to
hire. It also has its disadvantages—less face to face interaction, managers are
worried about how to tell if their employees are staying on task and communication
challenges. How can companies maximize the advantages and minimize the
disadvantages?

Some workforces are hybrids of in-office and remote
workers, and some workforces comprise only remote team members. These dispersed
employees may work in different cities, states, countries and time zones, and
all rely heavily on technology to communicate. Determining the best strategy to
manage remote teams depends on a variety of factors: the company’s business
model, culture and values and the employees’ needs and attributes.

The Value of Starting and Keeping up
Communication

A well-designed onboarding process is an
effective way to familiarize new remote employees with the people, processes
and tools that they need to succeed. Videoconferencing technology can help.

Continue that collaboration by setting up
regularly scheduled team meetings to keep remote workers from feeling alienated
and disconnected from the group.

How to See the Unseen

Remote employees and their managers both
struggle with feeling invisible. While managers may want some proof (or
reassurance) that employees are actually working, virtual employees worry that
“out of sight is out of mind.”

“Some leaders worry about being effective
in a virtual environment, because if they can’t physically oversee what is
happening, how will they know that work is being done?” said Giselle
Kovary, co-founder of Toronto-based n-gen People Performance. “You need
someone with a progressive leadership style who is not a
micromanager." 

Kovary recommends setting up performance
management processes with SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Actionable,
Relevant, Timely) and clearly defined competencies that make it possible for
leaders to accurately assess the performance of various team members.

Managers can then evaluate employees by their
accomplishments, rather than the number of hours they spend in the office.

Regardless of where they’re located, all team
members should be treated consistently.

Recruit the Right Traits

It takes a unique temperament and skillset to
work remotely with aplomb. When GrooveHQ first began hiring new remote
employees, the company targeted people with previous startup experience. After
some early hires didn’t work out, it expanded its requirements to include
people—such as freelancers–with prior remote experience.

Successfully working from home is a skill. It
takes time and commitment. The remote employees have to have the organization,
focus, and motivation to be productive while working remotely.

Mix Up the Generations

Many virtual teams are made up of multiple
generations. TeamSnap, a distributed Colorado company that develops apps for
team sports, promotes itself as a fun place to work where everyone is respected
and treated with dignity. The company gives its employees lots of flexibility
to get their work done on their own time, as long as they are available when needed.

Not surprisingly, the culture appeals to
younger employees. It is also a haven for working parents who, according to
Chief Creative Officer Andrew Berkowitz, are valued and highly productive
members of their remote team. Both groups prize the autonomy, flexibility and
work/life balance that is considered a hallmark of the TeamSnap culture.

Kovary, a generational expert, encourages
managers to recognize generational differences in three key areas: performance,
leadership and communication.

Experiment with the Possibilities

As you help your leadership team think through
their remote options, you will find that there is no one-size-fits-all
solution. Decisions may be based on an amalgam of considerations. Remote
employment can enable companies to recruit from a wider talent pool, reduce
overhead expenses, and deliver timelier customer service. It can also increase
employee productivity and engagement as well as reduce attrition.

Employee
relations are a key part of businesses. If you struggle with managing your
employees, they won’t be able to function as a team. Having remote employees in
the mix can create more problems if not handled correctly. Having a well-developed
onboarding process and recruiting the right talent are two paths to an
effective management process. Converge HR Solutions offers onboarding as well
as recruitment services. With the help of our experts, your business will be a
balanced, effective team. Visit our website for more information https://convergehrsolutions.com/. Contact us directly at info@convergehrsolutions.com or 610-296-8550.

Article source: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/how-to-manage-remote-teams-effectively.aspx

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