The world may (thankfully) not be currently facing a global pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that the era of remote work is over.
It turns out that people really like working remotely. And many workers don’t want to return to the office full-time.
Most companies realize they need to offer some form of remote work to attract and retain talent. In fact, 87% of workers want the flexibility of working both in the office and remotely. Many companies have adopted a hybrid policy that requires workers to come to the office several days a week with the option of working remotely on the remaining days.
If you are currently in a management role, you will likely deal with some virtual/remote work challenges.
What are the challenges of managing virtual teams?
Remote work is nothing new. Large companies usually have team members dispersed globally. Managing this type of team comes with the following challenges:
- Communication: Communicating virtually is not always as effective as face-to-face communication. This can lead to misunderstandings and make it harder to keep everybody aligned.
- Building trust: Establishing trusting relationships without frequent real-time interactions can be difficult, and work quality can suffer.
- Workload and productivity: Tracking individual work progress and gauging workloads can be challenging. You need to find a way to ensure you assign the right work to the right people with the skill sets to complete it on time.
- Differences in time zones: When your team is spread across multiple time zones, scheduling meetings and coordinating collaborative efforts is difficult.
- Team engagement and motivation: Even when employees opt to work remotely, they still often feel isolated and disengaged from the rest of the team. Some remote workers can feel like they are working alone without desk-side chats, working lunches, and other casual encounters with coworkers.
Overcoming the challenges of managing virtual teams
Luckily, it’s possible to overcome the challenges of hybrid work and help your team thrive. Here are some tips for managing remote teams:
Allow flexible work hours
People like the flexibility of working remotely. They can improve their work-life balance by eliminating long commutes, allowing them to invest that time in other interests and needs. That way, they can focus on their assignments and do their best work when they are on the clock.
Establish core hours for a daily sync
Flexibility doesn’t necessarily mean clocking in whenever you want to. You should establish core hours that work across several time zones for short daily standup meetings. This ensures that your team is synced every day and actively communicating.
Give your team the right tools
Provide your team with tools that are highly accessible to them, regardless of when or where they’re working. An application like Lucidspark brings remote employees together to brainstorm ideas, create flowcharts, map out processes, clarify assignments, and more in real time. This means you’ll have all the flexible benefits of hybrid work without losing the personal interaction vital to an aligned team.
Centralize your communication platform
Whatever you choose, make sure there is a centralized communication platform for official team communication. This reduces the number of messages that might be missed so that everyone feels like they’re on the same page and can work together efficiently.
Use management tools
Lucidspark offers several project and team management templates to help you track individual and team progress. For example, our free Gantt chart template can help align team milestones and track task progress. Our kanban board monitors the status of work within a given project.
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Set and communicate expectations
Set expectations for your team so there isn’t ambiguity surrounding best practices. For example, your team should know where to look for communication, how often they should check, the general hours team members will work, and more.
Host virtual team-building activities
Even if it feels awkward initially to host activities virtually, team-building is still critical to a team’s success. They help team members get to know one another, build trust, and establish collaborative work relationships.
Explore some of our favorite virtual team-building activities.Go now
The benefits of managing remote teams
It can be challenging to overcome the difficulties of managing a hybrid team, but if you do, you can expect to:
- Access global talent: You’ll have a much larger pool of talent to choose from, so you can recruit the best people for the job, regardless of location. This also brings diverse skills, experiences, and unique perspectives.
- Save money: Your office space won’t necessarily need to grow as your company grows, so it will be much easier for your company to scale. Over time you will realize savings from a smaller workspace, reduced utilities, commuting allowances, and overhead costs like facilities maintenance.
- Increase productivity and employee retention rates: Because remote work brings employees a better work-life balance, they are generally more productive and happier. Satisfied employees are less likely to search for employment elsewhere. Plus, happy workers are more likely to recommend their company to friends.
- Reduce environmental impact: Avoiding daily commutes is an eco-friendly choice. Less traffic, congestion, and fossil fuel emissions mean cleaner air and a healthier planet.
- Improve virtual collaboration: Lucidspark’s virtual whiteboard furthers your team’s collaboration opportunities with visual tools and features. Visual collaboration can increase innovation and boost productivity by bringing together diverse talent in real time to do their best work.
Learn more about how Lucidspark can boost your team’s collaboration.Get started
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