The traditional workplace has been evolving rapidly since the Covid-19 pandemic, and remote teams are now a reality for most businesses. If you’re a manager in 2024, there’s a good chance you’ll be managing a remote team. And while there are challenges in managing a remote team, there are also several benefits.
This post will tell you how to manage a remote team in 2024. We will also touch on the benefits and challenges of remote work and how you can sustainably boost your remote team productivity. Let’s get started!
What is a Remote Team?
A remote team is a team of employees who work together from different locations. The locations can be other cities, states, or countries. The employees can work from home, in co-working spaces, or anywhere they have internet access.
The important thing is that the team works in a different physical space. This means that the team has to rely on digital remote work tools to communicate and collaborate.
Benefits of Having a Remote Team
Many benefits come with managing a remote team. Here are a few examples.
1. Higher Productivity and Creativity
One of the enormous benefits of remote work is that your team can enjoy increased productivity and creativity.
A study by Stanford University found that employees who work from home are 13% more productive than those who work in an office. There are several reasons for this.
First, employees who are not commuting have more time to finish work.
Second, employees have more control over their environment when they work from home. This means they can create an environment conducive to productivity, such as a quiet space with no distractions.
Another reason remote work can lead to increased productivity is that it can help employees avoid burnout.
Employees who are not tied to a specific location have more freedom to take breaks when needed and work flexible hours. This can lead to a more sustainable work pace and better work quality.
2. Lower Overhead Cost
When employees work from home, companies do not have to pay for office space, furniture, or utilities. Furthermore, businesses can save on costs such as travel and food.
When employees are working from home, they can avoid traveling entirely to attend meetings or events.
Remote teams also increase employee retention rates due to higher employee satisfaction and help you minimize hiring costs.
3. Improved Work-Life Balance for Employees
A final benefit of remote work is that it can improve the work-life balance for employees. Remote employees can enjoy more flexibility in designing their schedules.
This can lead to a better work-life balance, as employees can take breaks and work around other commitments.
4. More Value-adding Team Meetings
You can replace in-person meetings with video calls & Webinars, saving time and money. Using Webinar Software allows more people to join the meeting, as there are no geographical restrictions.
You can also record the video calls, so team members who cannot make the meeting can still watch and catch up. This can help improve team communication and collaboration.
5. Onboarding More Diverse Talents
When geography does not limit you, your business can hire the best talents from anywhere in the world. This means you can create a dream team that wouldn’t be possible if you were limited to hiring locally.
Not only does this help you access a broader pool of talent, but it also allows you to onboard a more diverse team. A diverse team brings different points of view and experiences to the table, which can lead to more innovative solutions.
Most importantly, you may also find talents at a more affordable rate by hiring people from countries with a relatively lower cost of living.
Despite many benefits, you must overcome several challenges to manage a remote team in 2024.
Challenges of Remote Team Management:
When you closely explore how to lead a team remotely, the following challenges may come up:
1. Difficulty Maintaining Work Schedule
In a remote team, your team members may belong to different time zones. This makes it challenging to maintain a convenient work schedule for everyone. For example, if your team members are in the US, UK, UAE, and India, you must consider the time difference while scheduling meetings or setting deadlines.
Also, since everyone can make their work schedules, it might be challenging to coordinate the team.
2. Limited Face To Face Communication
The difference in time zone may also lead to a lack of face-to-face communication. In a traditional workplace, team members can easily communicate with each other by meeting in person or through video conferencing.
However, your geographically distant team members may only collaborate over a video meeting, making it difficult to have frequent real-time conversations or address problems quickly.
3. Lack Of Team Bonding
Building a solid team bond becomes difficult when team members are not physically present in the same office. This is because the team members only get to interact with each other daily.
Also, team members in a physical office may often chat about their lives outside work, which helps them get to know each other better. But in a remote team, communications typically take place only about work-related topics.
4. Lower Morale
You may often find that the morale of your remote team is lower than that of a team working in the same office. The team members may feel isolated and lonely when working from home.
Also, since the team members are not physically present in the same office, they may get different recognition or appreciation for their work, which can further lead to lower morale.
5. Difficulty In Tracking Work Progress
It can be challenging to track the work progress of your remote team as you need to see what everyone is working on physically. This is unlike an office environment where you can walk around and see what everyone is up to.
In a physical office setting, people often communicate with each other about their task progress and work together to solve problems. But in a remote team, such communications may occur less often, which is a problem for the team leaders or managers.
Now that we have learned the benefits and challenges let’s find out how to overcome them.
10 Tips On How To Manage A Remote Team
While you can substantially boost your business’ productivity and reduce operational costs by opting for a remote team, it’s important to know that this model isn’t a walk in the park.
Managing a remote team can be extremely challenging and frustrating, especially if you’re used to the traditional management style. Here are 15 tips on managing a remote team in 2024:
1. Encourage More Communication
Communication is one of the most vital aspects of managing a remote team. You must ensure clear communication channels between you and your team and between team members.
There are several ways to encourage communication, including
- Holding regular team meetings (both virtual and in-person)
- Utilizing communication channels such as Slack, WhatsApp, or email
- Encouraging team members to share ideas and concerns freely in a knowledge base
- Asking questions.
2. Set Clear Expectations
The remote team members should always clearly know the manager’s expectations. This means setting clear deadlines, outlining the scope of work, and providing detailed instructions.
If team members are unclear about their tasks or objectives, it will lead to frustration and confusion and ultimately impact their productivity.
It’s also important to remember that you need to be flexible in your expectations. Things will inevitably come up that impact the deadline, and you need to be able to adjust accordingly.
3. Set A Specific Workflow
One of the challenges of managing a remote team is trying to keep everyone on the same page. It can be challenging to know what everyone is working on at any time, leading to confusion and frustration.
Setting a specific workflow that everyone must follow can help avoid confusion or ambiguity. This might include using the same project management tool, sending daily or weekly reports, or having regular check-ins.
4. Take Ideas
Different team members may see the project from different perspectives. As you will encourage team members to share their ideas, you can better understand the project and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Also, you may find excellent ideas from team members that you would never have thought of yourself. By taking views from your team, you can make the project better as a whole and improve your team’s morale.
5. Emphasise On Outputs
In a physical office, you may have traditionally used the team members’ presence and time logged in the office to measure their productivity. However, this is no longer possible or effective with a remote team. With a remote team, you should focus on the quality and quantity of their outputs.
One way to do this is to set specific and measurable output goals for each team member. You can base these goals on several factors, such as the number of tasks completed, targets met, or projects delivered. You can review these goals regularly to see how each team member performs.
If you’re finding that some team members need to meet their output goals, you can discuss with them to find out the reasons why. It could be that they need more support or resources or that their workload is too heavy. By addressing these issues, you can help boost your team’s productivity.
6. Prepare Detailed Documentation
You should prepare detailed documentation of the processes and procedures you want your team to follow. Team members in a physical office may juggle between tasks and seek someone’s help whenever they’re stuck.
However, remote team members may feel lost and unable to progress without proper documentation. So, it’s good to have a standard operating procedure and keep everything documented in a shareable cloud database. For example, you may prepare a well-documented internal guideline to capture new business leads remotely.
7. Check-In Frequently
Pay special attention to this one.
When you manage a remote team, you can’t just pop into their office and check in on their progress while they work on making a business proposal. You need to be proactive and reach out to them frequently.
The key is to find a balance between being too hands-off and intrusive. You don’t want to micromanage your team, but you also don’t want to leave them in the dark.
8. Use The Right Technologies
You can use many different remote work tools and technologies to manage a remote team in 2024. Some of the best technologies for remote work include:
- Communication tools: Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts
- Project management tools: Asana, Trello, ClickUp
- File sharing and collaboration tools: Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, Klutch
- Employee productivity tracking tools: RescueTime, DeskTime, TogglTrack
9. Include Feedback Within Your Process
As a manager, you should create a feedback loop within your regular workflow and process. This will help you to identify any problems early on and address them quickly. You can do this by setting up regular 1-on-1 meetings, conducting surveys, or using Slack to encourage open communication.
10. Support Emotionally
You can’t always see how your employees feel in a remote team. The lack of emotional support may lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can, in turn, impact productivity.
As a manager, you must regularly check in with your team members to see how they’re doing professionally and personally.
If you see that someone is struggling, offer your support and encouragement. You can also create a more supportive environment by promoting a healthy work-life balance.
Wrap-Up: How to Lead a Team Remotely in 2024
Undoubtedly, 2022 has been a challenging year for businesses globally. Geo-political turmoil, energy crisis, supply chain disruptions, and production shortages have changed how companies operate, and, like it or not, remote teams are now more critical than ever.
Proactive management and open communication can significantly improve your remote team’s productivity in 2024.
Reach out to Prospero to help your remote team prepare exceptionally high-quality business proposals with the minimal effort today.
Author Bio: Damian, better known as Damo, is an entrepreneur and marketing veteran with a career spanning 17+ years and nine startups across three continents. From ad agencies in Dubai to crowd-funding platforms in Ghana, Damo has garnered his experience from around the world and now shares everything he knows at https://damobrennan.com/.