Though there may be some benefits to working remotely, managing remote teams can be complicated. Some of the biggest challenges for remote working teams include:
- A lack of communication.
- Confusion regarding tasks.
- GDPR issues.
- Online security.
There are solutions for all these problems, the hard part is understanding how working remotely affects your team and unique work environment.
To that end, we’ve created this list of problems faced by many businesses in 2020 to help your account for the drastic changes introduced by lockdown.
Standardise your strategy
Your first priority should be to adopt a disciplined, standardised project management methodology such as PRINCE2®. These management methods help create a pool of common knowledge and assets.
The shared understanding of terminology, tools, roles and more imparted by these frameworks will not only help improve productivity but, most importantly, will help prevent human error caused by miscommunication.
Most popular project management frameworks offer quick-and-easy beginner courses that help teams familiarize themselves with simple best-practices and general information about correct project management.
There’s really no excuse not to invest in an entry-level training course for all employees given the amazing benefits that they can bring to your organization.
Roles and responsibilities
Employing a project management methodology can help create clear lines of communication and also establish accountability.
When working virtually it’s more important than ever to have a clear chain of command. This aids task scheduling, communications, expectations and forecasting.
You should always take the time to coach your staff on soft skills such as leadership and communication.
Work this into your ongoing feedback scheme, offer constructive criticism at key points and perhaps consider formal education programs such as mentoring to help expedite this training.
Emails as a primary means of communication just isn’t going to cut it when working with large, disparate remote teams.
You’ll need to use a combination of telephone, video conferencing, chat rooms, blogs and networked databases to emulate a traditional office space.
There are hundreds of online tools at your disposal, so do some research and find which ones might help improve your t4eams ability to work virtually.
Keep in mind that some training may be required for your workers to get the best out of some tools, so when introducing a new communication platform or task scheduling software, give your teams time to become comfortable with the new tech rather than introducing a dozen new tools simultaneously.
You’ll need to adapt your onboarding methods when bringing on new members. Use creative staff selection methods like video interviews and group chats to simulate traditional office environments.
This will go a long way towards helping newer staff familiarize themselves with your businesses’ particular culture but will also help improve overall office morale in the long term.
Overcome geographic and time boundaries with daily kick-off meetings, online chat boards, blogs and similar techniques.
Ensure project elements such as goals, tasks, individuals and project progress are clearly visible on your chosen virtual project management platform.
Transparency not only helps improve communication and workflow but builds mutual trust and allows project managers to call on the problem-solving skills of the team as a whole if necessary.
You’ll need to accommodate different individuals with different capacities for communication. You may find language and time barriers limit your ability to communicate. Make sure to use very tools at your disposal including written, oral, formal and informal communications to help you overcome this.
In addition, you’ll need to clarify how and when communication should take place. Will daily meetings help or hinder project progress? Do clients and stakeholders have a clear way of providing feedback? Etc.
Also important is the need for certain security measures. At the very least make sure everyone has reliable anti-virus and anti-malware software installed on their respective devices.
Allow more time for interaction
Despite the lengths you might go to, it’s a simple fact that virtual technology just can replace good old face-to-face communication.
Expect things to take just a little longer than normal, the flow of information between team members now depends on far more variables than before.
Have a contingency plan. Plan for the worst and always know what to do if a key workers’ internet connection goes down or if their home computer malfunctions.
You’ll need to study exactly how asynchronous communication helps or hinders your day-to-day operations and either play to your strengths or work around any shortcomings.
Knowledge Train® is a registered trademark of Knowledge Train Limited. Copyright © 2020 Knowledge Train Limited. 14 Charterhouse Square, London, EC1M 6AX, England, United Kingdom.
PRINCE2® is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited. Used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.