The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses of all sizes to reevaluate how they operate. Many organizations had to implement or expand remote work policies. While working from home can have some downsides, it also has several benefits, including increased productivity and lower overhead costs.
But there are several pitfalls you need to avoid when managing remote employees. Here are some of the most common mistakes managers make when managing remote teams:
1. Not Establishing Clear Communication Channels
Maintaining clear and consistent communication is one of the biggest challenges of managing a remote team. With employees working in different locations, it can be challenging to keep everyone on the same page. Because of this, it’s essential to establish clear communication channels from the start.
There are a few different ways you can do this. One option is to use a project management tool like Asana or Trello. These tools allow you to assign tasks, set deadlines, and track progress. They also make it easy to have conversations and share files. Another option is to use a messaging app like Slack or Microsoft Teams. These apps are designed for real-time communication and make it easy to have conversations and share files.
Another common pitfall when managing remote employees is failing to keep the lines of communication open. Fostering an environment where your team feels comfortable asking questions and raising concerns is vital. You can do this by being accessible and responsive to inquiries, hosting regular team meetings, and encouraging open dialogue.
2. Not Using Technology Wisely
There are a number of tools and technologies available that can help you manage a remote team effectively. From project management software to video conferencing platforms, endless options exist for staying connected and keeping everyone on track. Do some research to find the best solutions for your needs and budget, and put them into place before your team starts working remotely.
Remote work also comes with several connection issues that can impact productivity. To avoid these issues, managers need to use technology wisely. One way to do this is by setting up a remote desktop connection. This allows you to access your work computer from any location. Employees can also use their own devices to connect to their work computers, letting everyone have the same access to files and applications.
3. Not Setting Expectations
One of the challenges of managing remote employees is that it can be harder to stay on top of what everyone is working on. To avoid this, it’s essential to set clear expectations. Different employees will have different work styles, so it’s necessary to tailor your expectations to each individual. You should also set deadlines for tasks and projects and ensure everyone is aware of them.
If you’re unclear about your expectations, it can lead to confusion and frustration on both sides. Employees may feel like they’re not meeting your expectations, while you might feel like they’re not working hard enough. To avoid this, take the time to sit down with your team and discuss your expectations. Make sure everyone is on the same page before moving forward.
Don’t forget to check in regularly to see how your team is progressing. This will help you identify any areas where expectations are not being met. You can also use this time to give feedback and offer guidance.
4. Don’t Micromanage
Some managers make the mistake of micromanaging their remote employees. This can result from feeling out of control or not trusting that employees are working when they say they are. Micromanaging can also be a way to try to compensate for the lack of face-to-face interaction.
However, micromanaging is often counter-productive. It can lead to employees feeling resentful and discouraged, and it can make it harder for them to be productive. If you find yourself micromanaging, try to take a step back and give your team more autonomy. Trust that they are capable of doing their jobs and resist the urge to check in constantly.
You should also avoid micromanaging by setting clear expectations and deadlines. This will give employees a better sense of what you expect from them and when you need it. If you’re still struggling with micromanaging, consider using a project management tool that will give you visibility into your team’s progress without requiring you to monitor them every second.
Managing a remote team doesn’t have to be complicated; just avoid these four common pitfalls! By setting clear expectations, keeping the lines of communication open, avoiding micromanagement, and using technology, you’ll create a productive and positive work environment for your employees—wherever they may be located. Always remember that each employee is an individual, so tailor your management style accordingly. And, as with any team, regular check-ins and feedback are essential to ensure everyone is on the same page.