In the United States alone, 16% of companies have a fully-remote workforce. This number increases if you look at the statistics worldwide. While this is still a large number, why are there not more companies who make the switch to doing all work from remote locations?
Below we expand on the reasons companies have trouble with managing remote workers. As you read through, think about how you might want to resolve each one, as they are all common problems with simple solutions.
Remote managing of your employees can have a real impact on how well you pass on any information and define expectations. Sometimes, remote meetings can be awkward or uncomfortable for people due to their online nature. On top of this, while distant from one another, it can be a lengthier process to get a short, clear answer you might get in person much easier.
It can help you to create dedicated moments to allow people to talk to one another without disrupting work. Short, daily meetings or scheduled “water cooler” events over Zoom or Google Meet can help bring the team together for brief chats. If there are no problems, this also allows them to shoot the breeze and enjoy small social moments.
Different Time Zones
Of course, if you have people working all over the world, you are likely to have issues related to those who live in very different time zones. Some extreme examples might be if people live in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas while on the same team.
Remote team management demands you resolve this by defining specific times when everyone can be available to talk. Even if it is only one hour each day, such a tool will allow people to ask and answer questions related to their needs.
On top of this, asking people to be available outside their normal hours to answer questions can also help. You may need to pay them for overtime in some cases. Though, so long as you communicate and negotiate this ahead of time, it should be comfortable for those who work with you.
IT Support Issues
When managing a team remotely, you might have issues if some workers have hardware or software problems. Empowering people to resolve their own issues can fix some of this, so building up a knowledge base of common faults might help in this case. If not, there are ways to allow IT professionals to access a computer and try to fix the problem from afar.
When it comes to the most extreme concerns, you might need to get your workers to ship their computers to an IT specialist or send your IT worker to them. Make sure to work out which will be the cheaper option in the long run, especially if you might end up sending the hardware back with the IT employee anyway.
Lack of Coherent Company Culture
With employees from all over the world, it can be very hard to promote a single method of working. People might have different expectations because of their employment backgrounds. This is especially true when it comes to social contact, the working environment, language, or how laid back they can be.
One of the best ways to solve this would be to make it very clear from the outset what your company culture is. You can continue to communicate this through messages, the way you engage with one another, and by acting as an example to others.
Oversight of Workers
Remote management demands you keep more of an eye on your workers than ever before. On one hand, you need to trust those who work for you, but you also need to ensure nobody is taking advantage of the situation.
Some companies engage in the use of screen recorders or mouse movement trackers, although these are not always effective. It might be you need to use these on new employees, but as people become more trusted you can give them a longer rope to work with instead. This rewards high-quality work and a good work ethic with more freedom.
Trust in Management
Trust works both ways. While you want to believe in workers, they need to feel the same about their managers too.
As with many other things, the way to solve this is to ensure communication is consistent and effective. Make sure everyone is on the same page about the lines of responsibility, especially those of management. These lines are promises the workers expect you to keep, so treat them as sacrosanct.
Lack of Face-to-Face Collaboration
Managing remote workers is much harder when people cannot see one another. That lack of personability can harm how clear communication is. This is why one of the core tenets of Agile working is face-to-face communication.
If these options are not enough, you can also create a dedicated online text chat so people can bring up questions anyone can answer. Creating a shared collaboration space can also help improve the creativity of a team.
When you have more difficulty in communication, minor problems can also sometimes foster personal issues. This goes double when people have had bad experiences in the past, causing anxiety, resentment, or other problems.
This can be hard enough without the addition of different worldwide cultures butting up against one another. It can then lead to causing accidental offence as people from different backgrounds interact.
The best way to prevent such problems is to crack down on them as soon as you find them. Encourage people to talk to one another and prevent such concerns from forming.
Hiring a Remote Workforce
Once you resolve these difficulties, having a remote workforce can be very rewarding. Not only is the talent pool much larger, but you save a lot of money on things like building infrastructure and utilities. If this sounds like something you want to investigate, we can help you out.
We are experts in hiring remote talent and can get you the employees you need to go global. All you need to do is give us a call and we can start you on the journey toward running a worldwide business.