As the workplace continues to evolve, more and more companies are turning to remote employees. And while it’s great in many ways - enabling companies to recruit from a much larger pool than ever before - there are specific challenges that come with operating as a remote team.
If not managed correctly, remote teams can become disorganized, demotivated and inefficient. To help prevent this from happening, here are some of the biggest mistakes that companies make when managing remote teams, which you should avoid.
1. Not providing adequate communication and collaboration tools
Remote teams need to be able to communicate with each other quickly and easily. Without the right tools, it can be difficult to coordinate and keep track of tasks. If you don’t give your team the right tools, they won’t be able to collaborate or communicate effectively.
Solution: Invest in quality communication platforms (like Slack and Zoom) and top collaboration tools, like Craft, Dropbox, or Figma, to ensure your teams can work and talk smoothly.
2. Not setting clear expectations
When working with a remote team, it’s important that everyone knows what is expected of them. This is no different from a traditional physical team, except that with a remote team, you have even fewer touchpoints and opportunities to talk and set those expectations.
Solution: Make sure everyone knows the deadlines and tasks that need to be done in order to ensure that the project is completed on time. Build daily-stand ups into your routine so you have a regular touchpoint and everyone can raise blockers and discuss solutions. And document important outcomes of your stand-ups - use Craft’s free meeting notes template to capture and share important information with your team.
3. Underestimating the value of face-to-face interaction
The greatest challenge for teams that work remotely, is fostering a sense of team spirit and collective well-being. It’s far harder to build the social bonds that help a team function well when you’re working remotely.
Solution: bring your team together physically, as often as you can. That might be an evening meal, a day where you work together in the office or co-working space, or a multi-day off-site. Once teams spend some time with each other in the physical world, collaboration tends to improve.
4. Under-investing in bonding efforts
Remote teams can feel isolated, which can lead to a decrease in productivity. It’s important to provide support by checking in on team members and offering guidance when needed. Companies that have remote teams will need to over-index on efforts that help remote workers feel part of a team and the larger company.
Solution: This is an ongoing effort - not solved by any single silver bullet, but instead aided by continually re-inventing and devising new ways to help people bond. Things to try include online quizzes, random chats where two members of the company are paired for a brief talk, or a virtual board game evening.
5. Under investing in training
In an office environment, a great deal is learned by osmosis. Simply by being physically present, staff pick up on what’s happening around them, seeing and hearing things that spark their interest and spur them to learn more. This is much less true for remote workers, especially those who are earlier on in their careers, or those who have just started a new role.
Solution: Offer your team members training and learning resources, ideally where they will be in a physical learning environment.
When managed correctly, remote teams can be a valuable asset to any organization. To ensure your remote team is successful, it’s important to avoid the common mistakes outlined above. By investing in quality communication platforms, setting clear expectations, establishing clear workflows, and providing support, you can help ensure that your remote team is successful.