Employment Background Check | 7 Pitfalls to Avoid in Managing Remote Teams Pt. 1
Employment Background Check | Some of the most prominent and successful companies in the world, such as Zapier, Buffer, and Groove, have built a culture out of remote working. Their managers are effective in maintaining the team spirit and the community vibe, although every individual covers the work from home.
However, other companies are having second thoughts about introducing remote teams in their culture. In 2013,Best Buy followed the practice of Reddit and Yahoo by announcing the end of their flexible work program.
Why did these companies, which are famous for relying on technology, decide to change their work-at-home policies? Were they worried about the speed and quality of the work being sacrificed when the workers stayed at home?
As always, there are two sides of the coin.
These are the benefits you’ll most likely experience by promoting a culture of remote teams:
- Lower expenses;
- Access to a greater talent pool;
- Higher productivity; and
Some managers of remote teams, however, mention these disadvantages:
- Security issues (home-based systems are not as resistant to hacking as office security systems);
- Connectivity problems; and
- Not having full control over the team’s work.
If remote team managers establish effective communication and avoid the most common pitfalls, the pros of this working method will definitely prevail.
Here are 7 pitfalls to avoid in managing remote teams:
1. Paying too much attention to bad examples
Okay, remote team work didn’t work for Reddit, Best Buy, and Yahoo. So what? Does that mean you should completely give up on this idea? Absolutely not! Why not follow the example of companies that did make it work?
The only way to find out what works for your specific company is to analyze its needs and culture. Are the team members capable of working from home? Can you keep remote workers in the loop through virtual means of communication? If you think this could work out, you should certainly give it a try.
Think about it: your workers will be saving a lot of money they would spend on commuting and lunches if they work from home. That sole fact will keep them motivated to do the best job they can. Have a long talk, explain the way the team would function, and feel their vibe. If they are willing to take the business home, you’ll be one step closer to making a good decision.
2. Treating remote workers as individuals
Jim Mullaney, the CEO and founder of Edoc Service, has a nice experience to share about managing remote teams. One of his important recommendations is for the managers to maintain the team spirit as healthily as possible.
“If you’re going to have remote workers, you have to remote them as a team,” – he explains. “Salespeople are often competing with one another, and they’re not interested in other members winning. It’s all about themselves. In a team environment, a win for the team means that everyone has to win, and everyone wants to help one another win.”
That true team spirit has to be maintained even when people work from home. Keep reminding them that they have to support each other for the sake of achieving great results at a group level.
3. Not soliciting feedback
Remote employees are still employees. You still need to know what they think about the job they are doing, and they want to be heard and understood. They have unique ideas that may improve the way the entire team works, so building rapport is one of the main factors that promotes progress.
Try not to keep the communication limited to work, though. You still need to maintain the sense of community, so try to engage them in conversations they would usually have in the office. Start a common message thread to ask how everyone is doing and support the conversation with spontaneous prompts. If you lack ideas, mention the latest episode of Game of Thrones for instance. It’s always a nice conversation starter.
When you manage to maintain the connection beyond work tasks, you’ll be able to congratulate yourself about being a great remote team leader.
4. Allocating the wrong tasks to the wrong people
Remote arrangements can certainly fail if you fail to estimate the capacity of a worker and delegate the wrong tasks to them. Ashley Stewart, the coordinator manager at EduGeeks Club, runs a remote team of writers who complete different tasks for clients. She has to delegate each order to the right member of the team. -Recruit Loop