Collaboration tools are crucial for managing remote teams as they help your workers communicate, manage tasks, and share project files. We’re pretty well versed in the challenges that face remote teams. Most challenges revolve around easy yet reliable communication, understanding and appreciating one another’s Managing a Remote Team work styles and setting each other up for success. Since context can often be gleaned by facial expressions, tone of voice and disposition, it’s challenging to adapt to communication that often is void of sensory context. It becomes very important to pay attention to details and ask questions often.

challenges managing a remote team

You can easily find a lot of strategies and how-tos describing ways to enhance employees’ performance and boost productivity. Learning how to manage a remote team starts with setting boundaries and work rules your employees should adhere to as they work from home. For example, someone might come in with no remote experience and try to schedule 7 meetings/week with people in 4 different timezones. The main challenge is finding the right fit, since as I mentioned before, it is not for everyone. Remote working can be very isolating, so finding people that don’t have to have the social element that work provides is important. I credit the HR department for truly understanding the types of people that thrive in remote work environments, as we have had some very successful hires (and some, not so much!).

Your Team May Feel Lonely And Isolated

In the following example, Christopher reaches out to Stella, his supervisor. He is interested in setting up more regular check-ins, in order to make sure he stays on the right track with his work. The key point here is to organize all of these activities during work hours. This way, employees can really get engaged, without feeling like this is another chore they have to do.

Some of your team members may not complain about this, but stress will reflect on their work performance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , one out of four employees complains that work is the number one stress factor they deal with. Leaders carry their followers every step instead of sending their followers to the forefront without setting the pace.

Follow our list of practical tips for managing remote employees and enhancing your business’s performance and productivity. As someone tasked with managing remote teams, you probably understand the need for breaks as working long hours can be stressful. The biggest challenges are logistical and infrastructure based, much the same as any company, I’d imagine! Unique to us as a distributed company are the specific hurdles with having team members in multiple states. We have to meet all the regulatory requirements, be registered for taxes for each of those states, and each one has a different application process and requirements. Likewise, for anything that you need to support employees, such as healthcare and workers compensation, it has been frustrating to find that our options are very limited.

  • Implementing the following 12 tips can help you with managing remote workers and reap the benefits of remote work.
  • When someone feels they’re part of a team that cares about them, they’re more likely to work together towards common goals.
  • You can also implement an employee recognition program where peers anonymously vote for each other.
  • While it may seem awkward for the first time, socializing with your virtual team allows you to feel closer and build a better rapport.
  • Similarly, use only one video conferencing app, one spend management app, and one cloud storage or collaboration tool.
  • This is why several remote teams choose to have physical get-togethers every year or so.

HBR reports that developing employee strengths is far more useful to boost both sales and overall job performance than trying to improve weaknesses. When your team feels empowered, confident in their ability to perform, and supported in their roles, their engagement levels will remain buoyant, even as they face adversity. The first line of defence in keeping remote employees engaged is to prevent the problem from arising in the first place. As much as possible, ensure you are hiring individuals who are enterprising, driven, and able to work independently. While any role will require these characteristics to a degree, the amount of independent work required by a remote employee makes possessing these traits significantly more valuable.

Disadvantages & Challenges Of Remote Work

At ActivTrak, we believe that data is the key to unlocking the potential of remote teams. By gaining insight into the ways your employees work, you can take steps to help them work wiser and ensure they are supported no matter their chosen work environment. A project management tool makes it easy to break down projects into smaller, measurable chunks and assign them to individual team members. You can attach all necessary assets to the project brief inside your tool, add a deadline, and even discuss the project in the platform — perfect for remote performance management.

challenges managing a remote team

Take the time to mention when team members upsell, close a sale, or hit their targets. For those who thrive off recognition, these simple acknowledgements lead to higher rates of employee engagement. The best leaders recognise that they are working with an array of personality types. Employees who have high needs for recognition may struggle more as remote workers. This is because they may feel they have to do more work to get recognised. For individuals with high needs for recognition, a lack of acknowledgement can make them feel invisible.

To make this more fun, ask them to share their favorite part of the day and their most frustrating task. This will give you a better sense of what’s working, what isn’t, and how you can help. Aside from sharing your company goals for your entire team to rally around, remember to establish KPIs and milestones for each team member. Every employee should know what’s expected of him/her at the individual level so s/he can gauge and monitor personal performance. If you want to keep your remote workers engaged and productive, they need to understand how their work fits into the overall business plan.

Remote Work Disadvantages & Challenges

One of the most reliable ways to delegate a task is by sending a message with all the necessary information and a deadline. Many team collaboration tools have this option, so you can include a short description of how your employee should complete this particular task in the email. It’s essential to give your employees access to recorded meetings so they can watch them whenever they have time. In addition, recordings can help people refresh the information on the topic that was discussed at the conference and prepare them for the next one. Fortunately, there are many tools that can help you become better at leading your remote workers. Check our tips to make the workflow of your team more efficient and comfortable.

One of our team members worked for us right out of college on a student work visa and we attempted to sponsor him for a visa once that expired. We were told that it would be nearly impossible for us to succeed with this because we didn’t have an actual office. As we began remotely and scaled to over 600 employees, we have grown with the business. As technology has evolved, we have also moved forward – further adapting options such as Google Apps and Asana, as two examples. The biggest challenge has been hiring; primarily making the false assumption at the start that any talented employee would make a great remote employee. It’s simply not true, and remote work is a skill that you need to look for when you hire.

Its Practically Impossible To Transition To An Office

Each country brings a different culture, customs and employment laws that all have to be considered with each new employee. Coordinating complex projects across multiple functions or teams. It seems natural to think of the person in physical proximity first. We have identified this as a challenge and work to expand where we look for talent and how we organize projects to better facilitate working anywhere. Switching to an office-based team would mean either a) moving everyone to one place, or b) laying off the team and starting over. Outside of our weekly call, our team primarily uses Slack to talk, as it keeps everything in one place and saves chat messages for when a user gets back online.

This comes as the result of distance, different time zones, different schedules, and not having a unified channel of communication. When managing a remote office, it’s essential to use your common sense and keep in mind the fact that managing a remote team can be a challenge. Besides, you have to take into account cultural differences, time zones, etc. When managing a remote team, it’s essential to make sure your employees are motivated and comfortable in their workplace and that they have access to all the necessary information.

challenges managing a remote team

The Donut app is a plugin for Slack that automatically pairs team members together and prompts one-on-one conversations in order to build camaraderie across your team. Let’s say your U.S.-based copywriter wraps up the copy for your latest promo at 11 p.m. Your Singapore-based designer can then work on it during their day and get it back to you the morning of the 18th. You can use tools likeWorld Time Buddy to help everyone keep their hours straight. Using a company-wide shared messaging tool like Slack can open communication by housing all conversations in one place. Whether meetings are scheduled or impromptu, all necessary members should be dialed in.

Improve Your Team Communication With Chanty

Without that trust as a foundation, everything else related to building a good company becomes infinitely more difficult. It’s not always easy to collaborate on projects when working remotely. Collaboration is different when you can just stop by someone’s desk.

Then, exercise flexibility in task supervision while managing remote teams. While managing remote teams, ensure you find that delicate balance between continually pinging employees and delegating workflow by setting up automation. Culture is always there, but in a remote company, it simply is a lot harder to create a strong culture. On the other hand, remote companies seem to be aware of this and actually do a lot to ensure they build some sort of a culture.

Alice, a web-news editor, notices that the journalists under her supervision have been making complaints about resource hoarding. Several employees felt that other colleagues have been keeping important leads to themselves, and they think this is unfair. Upon assessing the situation, Alice decides to organize a short seminar on the importance of information sharing, and how everyone ultimately benefits from it. All of these can help give a more concrete shape to daily tasks, expectations, and future company goals. A team messaging app is a well-rounded, centralized solution for communicating with coworkers. Ivan Widjaya is the Owner of, as well as several other business blogs/online magazines.

According to the previously cited Microsoft research on the effect of remote work on team collaboration, teams are in dire straits when it comes to the free flow of information. The communication tools we listed here are designed to make communication more streamlined, quick, and simple, and thus more efficient. Read up on best team practices when working across time zones, to get quick ideas you can use within your work processes.

Software For Recording Meetings And Webinars

Set up one-on-one weekly or monthly meetings with each virtual team member you manage. Jumping on Zoom calls with your employees for career talks is a great way to manage remote teams. As common as remote working is nowadays, team managers still face challenges when managing remote teams. One of the more challenging parts of building Goodway Group’s remote workforce is maintaining company culture as we continue to grow. This is often something that traditional companies struggle with as well. Building such a large remote workforce in such a short period of time is never an easy process and does require tweaking and adjustments.

The Good: Pros Of Running A Remote Team

In addition, it improves time management while managing remote teams. The number one tip to help you manage remote teams, is to use efficient communication tools. Statistics show that up to 32% of employees cite a lack of communication as the reason behind burnout, and you need top-of-the-line tools to help overcome this issue.

We had some early hires—very talented people—not work out, only because they had never worked remotely before and we were unsuccessful at helping them develop that skill. Every dollar we save on rent is a dollar we can reinvest in the growth of the business and our employees. When we learned of the issue, we didn’t have to waste time waiting for our team to assemble at the office. But not spending two hours per day commuting, and having the flexibility to work when you prefer sure does make it easier.

Global workplaces are increasingly common, so the issue of harmonizing schedules across time zones comes up more and more. In Moscow, so there’s little room for real-time communication to happen. Research different ways you can help your remote team feel more connected, and try to implement them in your workspace.

Probably the biggest challenge is having to deal with multiple time zones. In our case this is as worse as it gets because we have people all over the globe, from California to Tokyo. You need to iron out many processes to avoid unnecessary delays due to timezone mismatch. Simple discussions can otherwise take days because of back and forth communication between people that miss each other over multiple time zones.

Don’t postpone celebrations until you have achieved your big, long-term goals. If your employees strive to deliver good results and don’t get to celebrate the impact their efforts create, they might feel discouraged about their performance. This virtual face-to-face assessment could be the perfect time to ask for project management feedback and suggestions on how to move forward. With several businesses online, equipping your employees with these resources will set them up for success and increase productivity. According to Global Workplace Analytics, the number of people who work from home has grown by more than 173% since 2005. As the company grows the challenge of maintaining relationships grows as well.

Managers will need to set a few ground rules for effective collaboration. Understanding different communication styles can help enhance our interpersonal skills, build trust and get more done. A remote team across continents will certainly be a melting pot of cultures and languages! Workplace expectations and cultural norms can differ greatly in these countries.