Remote working was exploding in popularity before the current lockdown. Estimates suggest that it rose by more than 140 percent over the last fifteen years. The pandemic may have increased this another five-fold in just the previous month.
There’s a need, therefore, for businesses to update their management practices. Companies must understand how remote working changes the nature of work and the new risks it poses.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at some tips for managing your remote team – and getting the most out of them, no matter where they are in the world.
Engage Your Team Socially
Researchers have found that the brains of mammals start decaying when deprived of social interactions. It happens in mice, and it could happen in us too. Remote working, therefore, brings with it the significant risk of brain atrophy if people feel lonely and isolated at home.
Managers, however, can quickly remedy this problem by staying in regular contact with the people in their teams. Just a fifteen minutes video call or phone conversation can make a substantial difference to a worker’s mental health.
Set Up Robust Payment Systems
Operating a remote team is quite freeing for management. Finally, you’re able to hire people from all over the world, not just within commuting distance of your office.
But while this brings opportunities, it also brings logistical problems. How are you supposed to pay workers overseas in a cost-effective manner?
Let’s say that you’ve hired somebody in Sri Lanka and you want to pay them their wage. Under the old system, you would have to conduct your affairs through the international banking system. Not only would it take a long time, but you’d be on the hook for commission too.
With modern apps, though, money transfer to Sri Lanka is far more comfortable than it ever was in the past. You just enter the amount that you want to send to the employee, and then it’ll happen almost instantly, based on current forex rates.
Having a robust payment system in place reduces anxiety for all parties. It helps to establish you as a trusted employer.
Be Extra Careful In Your Written Communications
The majority of communication, they say, is non-verbal. But this rule only applies in person. Reduce conversation to email, and things change entirely. Suddenly, you have a wholly different paradigm on your hands.
When you don’t have any context in a conversation, it can result in misunderstanding. Sometimes the consequences can be extreme. Most of the time, the issues are emotional. People can get upset if they take something out of context or misinterpret the tone.
Companies, therefore, need to implement strategies that allow them to keep the conversation positive, even when there’s no body language to back it up. Be sure to instruct the team to make liberal use of emojis as this helps communicate sentiment.
Be Sensitive To Scheduling Inconvenience
Going back to the above example, if you have one person in Sri Lanka and another based in Europe, you can wind up with hectic schedules. Bosses need to be sensitive to the fact that 9 am in Europe could be 2 am in Sri Lanka, so that might not be the best time to hold a meeting.
Keep The Career Pipeline Open
Working remotely doesn’t mean that employees suddenly forget about their career progression. Bosses, therefore, shouldn’t either.
Employees can feel as if they’re in a bit of a rut when working remotely. They don’t have the same opportunities for networking. So it is more difficult for them to plot out a course for career progression. By remembering that they still want to achieve more in their careers, you implicitly show your support.
One-on-one time with each employee is essential, especially for freelancers. Most want feedback on how they’re doing and what they need to improve. If nothing else, it helps prepare them for their next role, either with you or another firm.
Make Sure That Nobody Feels Left Out
Companies usually employ a combination of both on-site and remote workers. There’s a core team at the head office, and then a network of people spread across a variety of locations. Naturally, those at the HQ will get to know each other better than everyone else. But sometimes this can lead to cliquiness, and everyone else can feel like they’re left out.
Making sure that nobody is excluded is important. People want to feel as if they are central to the project. If they feel like outsiders, they may look for work elsewhere.