As we’re heading into 2023, the number of people working in remote environments is steadily rising. According to estimates, there will be 36.2 million people in the US working remotely by 2025 which is a staggering 87% increase compared to the numbers in the pre-pandemic period.
With fewer commutes, the freedom to work from literally anywhere, and an international employment pool, it’s no surprise that remote work is so popular. It does, however, present a unique set of difficulties. Managing a remote team and monitoring your project’s tasks through their various stages from start to finish is very different from managing employees in a physical office.
In this article, we’ll outline some of the most common challenges for managers and the best methods for managing remote teams and streamlining task management.
The Biggest Challenges of Managing a Remote Team
At some point, every business managing a remote team may face the following challenges that are common in a remote work setting:
- Getting work done on time. To complete their work on schedule, employees require standardized, effective work methods. But implementing those methods can be challenging, especially for bigger projects when work is divided across several teams and employees.
- Tracking tasks. Managers may waste a lot of time tracking and delegating each dependent job and subtask by hand. An automated task management program can greatly streamline this procedure.
- Less insight into productivity. Updates are not as simple as a five-minute office chat when your team operates in a remote work environment. Additionally, holding endless video chats is neither effective nor sustainable. Task management can give you insight into team performance and progress, you always know where things are at.
- Communication. With no task management tool in place, communication can be difficult since each remote team member must switch between different tools to try and comprehend work-related information. In fact, 50% of employees say that job distractions including monitoring different communication channels have a significant impact on productivity.
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Best Practices for Managing a Remote Team
While you’ll likely face certain challenges inherent to managing a remote team, several foolproof remote team management tips can help you make the most out of it.
Managers should clearly define each team member’s expectations for their job responsibilities in order to avoid misunderstandings. What should be done? What types of requirements are there? When does it have to be finished?
Task management can help remote teams understand the company’s goals as well as how they could contribute to their realization. This guarantees that everyone is moving in the same direction.
Focus on Communication
Remote teams may not receive the same amount of information as co-located employees. To get around this and streamline task management, you must develop communication strategies that prioritize regular communication and ensure that the knowledge and assistance they receive are sufficient for them to produce high-quality work.
This is even more important at the start of a project when team members need numerous briefings before they can start working. Utilize every remote communication tool you can to make sure that everyone has understood your message.
And since effective communication goes both ways, always pay careful attention to what your team members have to say. This could be crucial to assisting them in finishing their work promptly and efficiently.
Any all-remote environment must have a way to monitor tasks and job progress. Managers need to make sure that team members are focusing on the most important tasks and that nobody is falling behind by keeping an eye on task progress.
With proper task management in place, you can set targets for your workers to achieve on the job, such as daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly SMART goals. This will increase employee engagement and productivity, reduce the risk of micromanagement, and allow for more freedom.
Have Daily Check-In Meetings
Having regular check-ins is the best way to provide employee feedback, give important information, and get your team back on track whenever they wander from the company’s objectives.
Schedule specific meeting times to have one-on-one virtual meetings with each individual employee. This not only helps your team members communicate effectively, but it may also keep them in the loop of the latest corporate developments. Task management software employs automation to create tasks every month or every week, depending on the demands of the remote manager, making sure everyone is informed on time.
Make Collaboration Easy
Having specific SOPs, frameworks, and guidelines in place will help ensure that virtual teams function successfully and cooperatively while meeting high standards. This can include a combination of the earlier best practices discussed, such as outlining the objectives of the business and how to express them, sharing information openly and transparently, and choosing the right technologies for team collaboration.
Moreover, platforms for task management contain collaboration-enhancing features like user mentions and in-task comments that enable teams to connect with a purpose.
Every employee needs a well-established structure to be productive. But multiple-location workers lack structure, making it easier for them to become disengaged.
To avoid this, establish team rhythm. Inform team members of one another’s activities so they may understand their roles in the process and define clear schedules for team meetings. The team members can arrange their schedules once they have a general understanding of what happens each week and how it affects their day-to-day duties.
Optimize the Employee Onboarding Process
Not everyone is naturally suited for working remotely. Establishing a well-defined hiring process for each new team member is therefore essential.
An optimized remote employee onboarding could involve guiding them through the employee manual, introducing them to the company’s internal tech stack for remote work, and pointing out potential locations for crucial information.
Enhance Your Company Culture
Building a strong feeling of business culture with remote team members is more difficult than it would be with an office team. In fact, 17% of remote workers admitted they experience loneliness as a result of their work.
With the right task management solution, you can assist in making remote workers feel a part of the organization and their coworkers.
Give Employee Recognition
You should always recognize and reward high-performing employees who preserve fundamental company values.
But, since you won’t run into the employee in the halls and give praises, leveraging task management software can help you engage with your workers and give kudos. You could also promote team members’ recognition on social media and establish a dedicated communication channel only for expressing employee gratitude.
Benefits of Task Management Tools
Task management software can streamline the creation, delegation, and completion of tasks. Remote team managers can use it to get the most from their employees. Additionally, they enable better collaboration and speedier productivity. Here are some of the main benefits task management tools offer:
- Simple task organization. A task management solution gives managers a single hub to organize all tasks and have access to their whole workspace. They can easily assign tasks, keep an eye on them, and take care of any delays or problems right away.
- Put tasks in order of importance. Every task is important. But do they all have equal weight? No. When using the right task management tool, managers and their remote teams may focus first on the most important activities before moving on to the ones with less significance.
- Enhanced collaboration. Platforms for task management offer collaboration-enhancing features like user mentions and comments that enable teams to connect.
- Subdivide large projects into smaller tasks and dependencies. Big tasks might be intimidating because they demand meticulous planning and execution considering that even minor delays could have a huge influence. To simplify the tasks for remote teams to handle, task management solutions like Focus allow you to establish dependent tasks.
- Remove time-zone barriers. Your remote team won’t need to badger their supervisors or other team members for it. Instead, they can all see a relevant board with all of their duties listed on it. This is particularly important for teams operating in a virtual environment where employees work in different time zones and have different working schedules.
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The Bottom Line
It makes sense for businesses to enhance their remote team management practices as remote working is expected to become the norm for the foreseeable future. Building a culture that is trustworthy, highly accountable, open, and communicative while fully utilizing technology can help you streamline task management, increase remote work efficiency and have a more productive team. Investing in the right remote task management software is one of the best ways to start managing your remote workforce. With Focus, you can easily keep your team aligned and goal-oriented.