In 2023, it’s safe to say remote work is the new normal. Remote teams help businesses increase productivity, reduce operating costs, and become more flexible in challenging times. 

There are lots of perks to working remotely, including no commute, flexible schedules, and a better work-life balance. But there are unique challenges to managing a remote team.

If you’re new to managing a remote team, there’s definitely a learning curve involved. We can help!

Here’s a look at some of the real challenges remote team managers face.

Lack of Communication 

Whether your staff is entirely or partially remote, you need a plan for effective team communication. How do you keep your remote workers in the loop and help them feel like part of the team?

Although your remote team may receive general emails and announcements, they could be missing out on meetings, social interactions, and important conversations.

These types of communications can change the trajectory of a project, keep workers engaged, and create a community. Failing to include your remote teams in day-to-day operations and communications can lead to employees feeling detached or isolated from the team.

Lapses of communication can lead to:

  • Remote team members working on a project that has changed direction
  • Missed messages escalating to bigger issues
  • Remote employees who feel out of the loop

Make sure you’re using communication channels like Slack, Asana, or Connecteam. This will allow team members to communicate with you and each other.

Let your team know that you value their input and recognize their contributions. Conduct regular video-conferencing meetings with the entire team to track progress. Schedule one-on-one meetings with remote workers as well.

Lack of Supervision

You may worry about how hard your remote team is working or how dedicated they are to the company. Most remote workers are independent and highly productive. But some may struggle with a lack of support and communication from management.

This can lead remote workers to feel like their managers are out of touch, unresponsive, and not supportive. One of the best ways to keep your remote team on the same page is to establish daily or weekly check-ins.

Encourage your remote workers to share their concerns, ask questions, and communicate with management and other team members. Make sure your remote team understands your vision for the company.

Include them in the conversation and discuss team goals, milestones, and potential obstacles.

Lack of Cohesiveness

If you’re dealing with a hybrid workforce, you may be struggling to keep a level playing field among your team. It’s easy to focus on your in-house team and end up with one group receiving more attention and benefits than the other.

As a business leader, it’s your job to create a sense of balance and fairness among your employees. Consider what you provide for your in-house team. 

Make an effort to extend the same or similar benefits to your remote employees. If you offer remote employees flexibility with their work schedules, consider extending this opportunity to the entire team.

Making the effort to create a cohesive team fosters community and inclusiveness. When employees feel seen, heard, and respected, they will be happier, more productive, and less likely to quit.

Lack of Social Interaction 

Working a remote job has its advantages, but there are drawbacks too. Regular human interaction is essential to mental health.

It’s easy to take this for granted if you work in a busy office or have friends to visit with at work each day. Loneliness is a common issue with remote employees.

They may feel isolated and removed from the everyday actions of the company. In some cases, this can lead to anxiety and depression. It can also result in a lack of engagement and productivity.

As a business owner or manager, you want to establish a positive work culture and foster social connections among your remote team. Plan fun virtual interactions. If possible, plan a retreat or fun opportunity to bring your entire team together once a year. 

Lack of Clear Expectations 

Do your remote employees have a clear understanding of their job responsibilities and your expectations? Remember that without regular communication, they may lose sight of what’s expected of them on a daily basis.

Consider whether remote employees need more direction to accomplish objectives, respond to communications, or collaborate with team members.

There should be a comprehensive onboarding process and well-documented procedures. This helps employees set realistic expectations and understand their role within the company.

Lack of Productivity

Most remote workers are highly productive, but some may find it difficult to work without direct supervision. Some thrive in remote settings and require little support. Others require additional support and input to stay on track.

In hybrid arrangements, some workers may perceive a lack of productivity which isn’t necessarily true. In-house staff may think hybrid or remote workers aren’t productive because they can’t see what they’re doing.

As a business leader, it’s up to you to define roles, set clear timetables, and create structure. Keep your employees informed about the different work arrangements within the company and how everyone is contributing to the growth of the team.

Overcoming Challenges With a Remote Team

Remote work is growing in popularity in industries around the globe. This opens up a range of opportunities for those looking for a more flexible work arrangement.

If you’re considering going remote for your business or expanding your remote team internationally, there are challenges you must consider. At Bradford Jacobs, we understand the benefits and challenges of flexible teams.

We can help you expand your remote team and take your business to the next level. Whatever success means to you, we are committed to helping you achieve your business goals.

Contact Bradford Jacobs today to learn more.