The Challenges of Managing a Remote Team and How to Overcome Them

If you are currently scaling up your business and would not like to rent an office just yet, or if your business doesn’t require personal interaction with clients, you might be thinking about setting up a remote team and managing them from your office. There are pros and cons of this solution, and it is certainly more suitable for some businesses than others. Below you will find a few tips on how to succeed at recruiting and managing a remote team.

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The Interview Process

Before you can become an employer, you will need to ensure that you have the right people on board. As you are recruiting a remote worker, you will probably not have a chance to meet them in person, so it is important that you find a way to learn as much as possible about them. You can interview them online, or set a few challenges for them, so you don’t end up wasting your time. You might be able to request a short video intro from people, and if they complete the task, you will know that they are serious.

Collaboration Tools and Difficulties

One of the major challenges of managing a team remotely is that a lot of information will get lost through written communication. There are some great tools that will help you overcome these challenges. Slack, for example, will allow you to assign different tasks to people and check on their progress. However, you can also set up a shared cloud server for collaboration, or simply use Google Suite, if you have a limited budget. This method will allow you to keep an eye on the work your remote workforce is doing.  

Time Management Challenges

It is hard to tell what your workers are doing, if they are on the other side of the country or even the world. That is why you will need to find a platform that records every activity, so your workers are able to make the most out of their productivity. You cannot monitor them through their webcam, but can use some online tools that will let you check their progress and the work completed. Alternatively, if you would like to be sure you are getting a good value from your workforce, you can set a price for each project.

The Question of Motivation

One of the main challenges of managing a remote workforce is motivating them and getting their interest aligned with your company’s values and policies. You will have to still hold team meetings online, so your employees can let you know if they have an issue, or suggest improvements. After all, you should make their job easier, so they feel like they matter and are being listened to.

Creating a Working Culture

When everyone is working from their home  or home office, it is hard to create a strong connection between team members and developing and working culture. You will need to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to work ethics, and deliver some specific training focusing on what your business goals are. If you are planning long term, you an even set up a brainstorming session, allowing your employees to contribute to developing your mission, vision, and values statement.

Intellectual Property Rights

One of the main concerns of business owners using remote workers is that they don’t want their client and business information disclosed. You can get your employees to sign a nondisclosure agreement and follow the rules. You can also get them to sign a contract that will ensure that they will not be taking a job at one of your competitors within two years of leaving your company. This should prevent the theft or disclosure of intellectual property.

Reliability of Freelance Contracts

One of the main reasons why most people would rather pay more for employees who are working from their premises is that they can check that their workforce is there every time they need them. It is hard to tell whether or not your remote staff is doing actual work or playing Candy Crush. Many people also think that remote working agreements and contracts are harder to enforce than those signed by in-house staff. You should talk to a business attorney for clarification.

Delivering Training

One of the challenges many business owners face is delivering the right training for their staff. You should look for online resources and training companies that will allow you to deliver staff training remotely and comply with your industry regulations. You can also develop your own training modules and create webinars for your staff. Some platforms will let you do that for free, so there is no reason why your staff should be under qualified to do the job.

Time Management

Before you employ staff working for you remotely, you might want to upgrade their time management skills. Allocate breaks if there are set working hours, and set clear rules. The key to employing people is to get more value than the workforce costs you. This means that you will have to find a way to measure how much value your workers are generating per hour, and how much that costs you. Of course, you will also have to focus on your own time management skills, so you can schedule and attend meetings without interfering with your own work.

Managing Your Reputation

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It is crucial that you manage your reputation while working with remote employees. You should develop your behavior and communication policy and ensure that your customers are getting the support they need. Another issue you will need to address other issues, such as your public image. If you only have remote employees, you might need to have a virtual address and a phone answer service, so you can provide the best service possible.

There are some challenges of allowing your staff to work from home. For many small and medium sized businesses, however, this is the easiest and most cost effective option.

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