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What Are The Challenges Of Managing a Remote Workforce And How To Solve Them?

The gig industry has become rampant across the world. Both big and small companies are opting for remote workers and virtual assistants in a variety of different capacities.

There is no doubt about the advantages of a virtual workforce. Also, as per a statistical analysis on the subject, posted by Global Workplace Analytics, it was determined that virtual teams enhance employee motivation, productivity, and boost satisfaction levels. Moreover, it was also identified that remote workers could save businesses well over $10,000 per year.

As hiring remote workers become a common practice amongst different types of companies, it is vital to understand there are numerous complications and challenges that businesses are facing as a result. In light of this, mentioned below are some unique problems of virtual teams and how you can solve them.


Complications with effective communication – important for remote team building activities

Among the different problems listed here, it is important that you fix this one first. Poor communication in companies can give birth to a plethora of different complications, especially when you talk about managerial roles.

Business managers are responsible for giving their team a good and clear sense of direction pertaining to any task or project. This means they have to be experts in communication and explaining strategy.

Streamlined communication is the bedrock of high functioning, transparent and tightly knit team. It is exceptionally important in the case of remote workers. Therefore, coordinating different strategies, objectives, and milestones to virtual teams can be extremely daunting if you are not prepared.

Apart from the fact that it will negatively affect your overall progress, it can also adversely influence employee motivation. More and more remote employees will start to feel isolated and cut off from the team. This can lead to a dip in morale.

The potential solutions you can implement:

  • The first thing you must do is to integrate the utilization of top-notch, corporate communication software and tools. The best way to share problems is to open a two-way channel of communication via a great instant messaging application.
  • Be responsive to the mode of communication with your remote employees. No matter what type of communication channel you opt for, it is vital to respond to employee queries, problems, grievances, questions, ideas and thoughts in a timely and professional manner. Treat your remote workers as you would treat an in-house employee.
  • It is also important that you clarify each remote worker’s KPI’s, their roles, job descriptions, resources that will be used, and what is expected of them. Clarifying these details is vital because they do not have any other source of information. Remember, they will not be working at your office.

You can also watch HubSpot‘s this short video on working productively with your remote workers by changing your attitude and management style for more tips:


Problems in managing scheduling – the best tips for managing remote teams

Working with virtual employees can boost productivity and overall potential. However, company managers have to be proactive in mitigating all the inefficiencies related to their virtual workforce. For instance, managing remote workers across different time zones throughout the globe can be a frustratingly daunting undertaking. 

But if you manage to hire a team of virtual employees from the same local demographic or region, it can be simple to set the bar for what you expect in terms of the number of hours they have to put in.

But if you’ve hired remote employees all over the world, this can be a totally different ball game. Coordinating tasks and getting timely reports and updates can prove to be a hellish task if you aren’t duly prepared.

The potential solutions you can implement:

  • Whenever you call a virtual employee meeting, ensure that the video conference is scheduled at a time that is within everybody’s workday. This could be mean the start of the day for a lot of virtual employees and the end of the day for others. 
  • If the difference in time zone is becoming a hurdle for scheduling tasks, the best thing you can do is get more creative. For instance, instead of trying to call for meetings, you can pre-record videos for employees who cannot join you live. This is a good way of communicating important instructions, tasks, milestones, business reviews, etc.
  • Always ask for remote employee feedback through email. This provides an equal opportunity for workers who could not become a part of your virtual meeting.

Barriers in language and culture – ways to encourage team-building ideas

Managing a small network of remote works, throughout the world, can rake in plenty of complications and challenges. The problems aren’t just limited to the nature of work but can include several language and cultural rifts.

Even the smallest of differences in culture is enough to spark a feud when ethnically diverse employees interact with each other, how they categorize their tasks and what they count as being successful, etc.

That is why it is important for business managers to transparently navigate these sensitive waters to effectively and fairly harness the advantages remote workers bring to the table.

The potential solutions you can implement:

  • It is vital that you schedule equal opportunity team-building activities for your remote employees and offer them the chance to share their views, opinions, and insights, especially when it comes to their culture and ethnicity. This can help mitigate several problems that surface because of cultural misunderstandings.
  • Invest in forming deep bonds and working a relationship with your remote employees. You have to make them feel as if they are a part of the company.

Monitoring and evaluating the performance of virtual employees – using the best remote team management tools

Another challenging complication is monitoring and tracking virtual employee performance. You have to ensure that all remote employees are managing their work effectively and efficiently. You have to keep a check on people who are performing tasks on time and in-line of company standards.

Job performance for remote workers has two categories – those who have to complete their work on time and those who have to work and manage their tasks based on the number of hours set for them by the company.

In either situation, tracking virtual employee performance can be a difficult and frustrating undertaking if you are not prepared.

The potential solutions you can implement:

  • One of the most important things you can do to ensure your remote workers are performing as the schedule is to form transparent modes of communication between the employee, the customer and yourself. This is important for virtual employees that are responsible for customer relationships. With good communication channels in place, you will immediately know whether a particular customer is satisfied with the services they are getting or not.
  • Managing virtual teams comes with one major caveat, and that is the fact you will never know how exactly it is your team is getting their work done. Now, the best solution for this is always to be very clear and transparent about your expectations. You have to stringently communicate what you expect each employee to do, their scheduling, etc.
  • Integrate the use of good virtual team management applications and the handiest collaboration tools to make things simple and easy to track.

So there you go – a brief yet insightful view on some of the most common challenges companies face when they hire remote employees, and how you can fix them.

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