Teams are being hired and managed remotely – but many organisations don’t quite seem to have got used to the new setup
CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on About Leaders
Here are eight mistakes that organisations must steer clear of when managing remote teams.
Not checking on your team
When you are managing a team remotely, and not interacting with or meeting each member on an everyday basis, it can very well become a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. In a remote work environment, forgetting names and resources is a distinct possibility.
Staying connected with your team regularly to keep a check on proceedings is advisable. Even those working independently need a supervisor to ensure that deadlines for all assignments are met. Drop in regularly for a ‘Hello’ and keep scheduling formal meetings on set dates and time slots.
Being obsessed with micro-management
This is one of the biggest remote team management mistakes made. You do not have to micro-manage each individual working for you. When you appoint a remote employee, the last thing you have to do is hound that person; constantly checking for updates only causes more frustration for everyone.
As long as your workers are self-reliant, maintain communication with you and seldom create issues, you should not be tracking them so frequently. Remember that we all need our space. Your remote workers are no different; do not get on their nerves by pestering them about work all the time.
This issue is often linked to micro-management, and excessive email communication must be avoided. Start using voice or video chats to communicate if it’s urgent. Sensing the tone and emotional state people are in during chats will remind you that your remote workers are humans too.
While email interactions are usually fine, calls are sometimes better. Too many emails breed a sense of disconnect and a flurry of them may cause your remote worker to start losing interest in work and can become disorganised. Emails shooting to-and-fro are a distraction which may result in boredom or a kind of disillusionment with what they are meant to be doing. You must take time out to talk to these individuals if you are to maintain a strong connection with them.
Ignoring conflicting working hours
Just because 4pm works for you it does not mean it works for someone else. Managing remote teams has its pros and cons. Although you might still be working, someone working remotely may be working different hours that day. Schedule meetings accordingly so that you and your remote employee are both available to connect at a time convenient for both of you.
A lack of team camaraderie
Managing remote teams means building and maintaining team camaraderie; remote employees can often feel isolated if they’re not kept up-to-date.
This is also applicable for those among them who are introverts. You, being the leader, must make them feel at home by initiating conversations that help break the ice. Perhaps the best way to do this is by celebrating birthdays, work anniversaries and major milestones. Lighter moments such as these, shared at work, will eventually become the foundation of some strong team bonding that keeps both you and your remote workers in touch over long periods.
A lack of personal connection
Conversations shouldn’t always be about work and deadlines. While people may not always be open and willing to discuss life outside the office, it is not a bad idea to try to find out whether all is well with them personally. Employees always want to be liked by their bosses. Find out something about their interests and passions – you might find something common in there and your team will feel looked after, and won’t feel as if office life is all about work, deadlines, and client calls.