challenges in working with remote teams

Managers are left wondering how they are supposed to manage people they rarely see in person. Toggl has this covered for you by tracking the time it takes to complete tasks, which you can use as benchmarks to maintain and improve turnaround times, as well as pinpoint issues getting int the way of productivity. Finally, I mentioned an app called Daywise earlier and now is the time to explain about it in a little more detail. This allows team managers to decide whether that task is too important to interrupt. When your nearest colleague works a thousand miles away, you can’t get up from your desk to visit them to collaborate on a project. Remote working sounds like the business revolution we all need but it’s not something you can simply switch to and hope for the best. Even group meetings and collaboration sessions can be set at times suitable for everyone in a matter of clicks. Add this to the freedom remote working gives your team members (maybe they have to or prefer to work in the evenings, for example) and there are no guarantees everyone is going to be switched on when you need them. Distractions at home were the fourth most common problem reports in Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Working report and I understand this problem very well. Finding a time that works well for everyone requires knowing where your participants live and their general schedules. The first thing you need for remote collaboration is an effective communication channel. Another challenge with the full remote work is communication. This is where you come to get stuff done and the place you leave when the day’s target has been hit. That takes care of the software – now all you need to do is make sure you’ve got the right management in place. Every team needs to work as one. Remote teams were already common in today’s workforce. I’ve already mentioned that complaining is typically frowned upon in Japan and I’ve also experienced a reluctance to say “no” in many other parts of Asia. One of the reasons many managers don't approve of remote work is they fear employees will slack off without that physical, in-person oversight. At the office, if I needed to talk to anybody, I stood up from my chair and walked there. For teams to work effectively together, they need to be able to communicate and collaborate freely. This can be amplified with independent contractors who have inconsistent work schedules. Otherwise high-performing employees may … There are plenty of options available and my personal favourite is Calendar, which also allows team members to set availability times. But I’m also taking more breaks and getting more done throughout the day and I feel validated enough by this that I now instinctively ignore anything that might distract from the task at hand. Registered office: The Manor House, Howbery Park, Wallingford, OX10 8BA, UK. From a simple online poll that lists selected dates and times that team members can choose to calendaring apps and a variety of websites and free hosts that assess participant availability, there are ways that make the process of scheduling a meeting less stressful. If you’ve used Google Docs to work on documents simultaneously, you’ll get how Spark for teams works. Usually, most of the remote workers feel lonely and isolated. 50% of the UK workforce working remotely to some extent by 2020, 10 Best Remote Work Tools for Distributed Teams. Something I’ve also found by using this app is that the timer showing me how much of the session adds this kind of pressure for me to get the task done in time. It then asks me to break this objective into multiple work sessions for the day and these are the individual tasks that will help me hit my target by the end of the day. It doesn’t necessarily matter when they choose to work, as long as they’re consistent so you generally know when they’re next going to be available. This is one of the most common challenges of working for remote teams. So, keep reading for the seven most common challenges even experienced managers of remote teams usually face, as well as the strategies you can use to overcome them. Real-time messaging applications and similar tools open the conversation between employees wherever they are. Leadformly Challenges of remote working. When you’ve got a remote team of workers from around the world, you’re also likely going to have a rich mix of language and cultural backgrounds coming together on projects. When an email needs input from another team member or anyone is unsure about specific information that needs including, Spark’s collaborative email features mean the correct information always comes from the source – no misunderstandings. How can a team of designers work on the same project when they’re spread out across the country or world, for example? If you’re am unproductive remote worker, things quickly start to fall apart and working from home (or anywhere else) feels more like a curse than a perk. 290356105. I’m not particularly good at self-discipline but I am good at responding to gentle encouragement and Serene prompts me to set a single goal for the day before I get started. Because of the difficult nature of the project and the compressed timeline, we had to work very closely with the client, prioritizing features for launch to make the deadline and to adhere to the project budget. Remote work culture comes with many benefits, and many industries are shifting to remote work culture. Trust is a key building block of all relationships, and is especially critical in teams. Let’s take a closer look at the most common challenges and how we can approach them to improve the quality of our work. Thankfully, there are tools for just about every challenge a remote team manager could experience. This presents new challenges that managers have to deal with; hence, the tips we present in this article. That takes care of the real-world distractions but you also have the digital distractions to take care of. This is why productivity is so important because it’s you instinctively know that you deserve to switch off when you’ve ticked everything off the day’s list. Save time, frustration and money with TalentLMS, the most-affordable and user-friendly learning management system on the market. This gives you an idea of how niche collaborative tools can be. If it’s not, then it certainly feels like it when I see how well other remote workers I now appear to naturally maintain levels of motivation. When you talk, people only get one chance to understand everything but they can read text at their own pace, read it multiple times if necessary and use a dictionary for any words they’re not familiar with. One of the greatest freedoms remote working gives businesses is the ability to hire talent from around the world. Whether you're thinking about working remotely or are currently a remote worker, you'll be happier and more productive when you meet these challenges head on. Our design team uses InVision to create and mockups, provide feedback and test interactive demos without any specialist design software. For many managers, the answer to these questions is unclear. Luckily, most of my time travelling and working were spent in Asia and there are some great cafe cultures over there. Also, the coffee rocks in both countries. Make people aware that you’re available for work-related issues at specific times and, equally important, make it clear that you’re not available outside of those times. I on the other hand believe the benefits of remote working outweigh the challenges. Remote meetings may seem strange at first, but they are actually rather easy to execute. Managers worry that workers aren’t completing work, while workers have a range of concerns, including whether they’ll be paid on time (or at all, in some cases). There are many challenges that come with managing a remote team. However, remote teams are highly limited and even interacting with the same document poses challenges. Another challenge it mentions is building and maintaining trust between remote team members – an issue cited in multiple other reports, including this piece published by Workana. To avoid potential issues, you may choose to encourage open dialogue about culture, religion, politics, etc. The good is that, much like project management software, there are countless collaboration tools designed for all kinds of tasks and teams that will help you break down those remote co-working barriers. Best of all, you can set different schedules for different apps. According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report, the most common problem remote workers have is unplugging after work – an issue 22% of respondents said they experience. Doing so will prevent delays and other setbacks from happening in the future. One of the best parts of working with other people is getting to know them personally. Technical challenges. For example, I’ve worked with a number people in Japan and Korea where workplace expectations are wildly different from the UK. In this article, we’re going to look at ten of the most common remote work challenges and solutions to overcome them. Now, what’s really great about this feature is you can set timed work sessions of between 20-60 minutes. But in spite of these and many other challenges, all manners of stats have shown that remote work is here to stay. Traditional email marketing often seems like a formal tool that doesn’t enable quick conversations. Because the truth is that managing a remote team can be quite challenging, especially when you want to do “business as usual” and have your employees work in a way that makes them feel like they’re working toward the same goals. Remote Meetings. With remote teams, it’s important to keep these factors in the back of your mind and adjust your business strategies accordingly. Slow response times is a common challenge when it comes to leading virtual teams. No more after-hours emails interrupting your dinner. It can also do the same for specific websites insides browser apps to reveal which pages are holding up progress. To hit big targets, you’ve got to make sure all the smaller tasks are getting completed in a timely manner. It also helps bridge the gap between our designers and developers by providing the CSS styles and dimensions of any element with a single click. The downside is, much of this talent can be working in different time zones, which can put your team out of sync. Without the presence of supervisors and team members, there’s less pressure to get things done and you can also miss out on that group satisfaction of hitting targets as a team. You need something instant, responsive and flexible. Another app I use is Daywise, which allows you to schedule notifications, essentially blocking them during unwanted times. Staying motivated is another common challenge reported by remote workers and I think this essentially comes down to being unsupervised. Scheduling meetings. Do you know how much work your remote team accomplishes and at what rate? For more immediate availability statuses (when you need something doing now), this is where platforms like Slack and Status Hero prove their worth, once again. This means no interruptions when people are working on something important and a reduction in pointless messages like “Are you available now?” or “Have you started [task] yet?”. Not all cultural differences are quite so nuanced. Performance Review. For full-time W2 employees, this might consist of an annual meeting or a shared trip to an exotic location. If possible, plan on getting together with staff members once a year to have the opportunity to meet people in real life. Some remote contractors plan to visit each other when they are nearby for other obligations. If you can do that, the challenges can be easy to overcome. By having a cultural understanding of the people on your team, you’ll be in a position to recognise which aspects of remote working are more difficult for certain members and help them overcome them. According to this 2018 report from Red Rocket Ventures, they found out that this helps them cut down on their operating expenses and other business costs.. It’s estimated that a company with 100 off-site part-time workers can save up to 1 million USD per year with the right remote work arrangement. This ensures that there are clear expectations in place, regardless of how and where your team works. Automation Insider, Startup Marketing The truth is, a lack of movement and exercise is the effect of some of the other challenges described on the list. It also de-motivates team members, which ultimately impacts the bottom-lineof your business. However, where I disagree with Mayer is in the response to these challenges. According to a study by IWG, 53% of all global workers do so remotely at least half the week. We’ve already looked at a number of tools that can help deal with some of these issues – for example, Status Hero helping team managers understand what team members are working on and project management tools that track progress. I’ll also be providing solutions to these problems, based on methods we’ve used here at Venture Harbour and scientific studies related to remote working and productivity. A workspace that helps you focus is the best way to block out distractions – something minimal, tidy and practical. With more employees working remotely, the job of the manager is also evolving. Each member should join the team understanding that their flexible work location does come with some structure. No matter what tool you decide to use, as long as there’s a way to foster two-way communication, remote workers won’t feel isolated from one another. Despite all the perks remote workers enjoy, there are a number of challenges that arise from working out of the office. I’m not particularly proud to admit it but by creating short work sessions in Serene and seeing that countdown timer, I find myself remotivated every time I look at the clock to see how much time is left (or isn’t). Remote teams should become even more common in the future. and promote tolerance and understanding across all topics – kind of a there’s no right or wrong philosophy. Know which campaigns will work without wasting budget with our latest venture, TrueNorth. The good news is, with a relatively basic understanding of workplace culture, you can anticipate these differences and avoid problems. A quarterly review will help you see how the members of your remote team are coping with the work. These are based on the challenges we’ve experienced here at Venture Harbour, my own experiences as a remote worker and the challenges listed in numerous studies on remote working. So let’s take a scientific approach to solving this problem. (It also helps if team members’ schedules are flexible, since some time zones don’t line up well with traditional working hours). Whether you want to create a professional company culture or a team that’s known for being fun and energetic, it will take more concentrated effort to develop in a remote team than in an office. The most important thing is for non-native speakers to know they can ask about anything that’s unclear to them without it being held against them. Published on: 10 Apr 2020 by Levi Olmstead, 7 mins to read. Here are some key findings from studies that look into the most common productivity killers: So, based on those scientific findings, here’s a simple three-step plan to maximising productivity: If you’re anything like me, though, actually implementing that three-step plan is surprisingly difficult. Some will argue that working from home isn’t technically remote working but, as someone who spent years working remotely around the world and now predominantly works from home, I can say this problem is equally common for me in both scenarios. Besides, all this global crisis will change the way we work forever, and working from home will be the new norm. I’m not a particularly competitive person when I’m put up against other people. Building trust is difficult for remote managers and team members. Practically speaking, it’s no different from hiring someone who’s worked in an office their entire life and training them for remote working – it’s all about adapting work practices. Distractions are another productivity killer that can turn remote working into a nightmare and compromise team progress. (On the other hand, the work ethic I’ve seen from professionals in Japan and Korea is something to behold.). Challenge #1: Adjusting to Timezones Having access to solid expertise from around the world is huge. According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report, the most common problem remote workers have is unplugging after work – an issue 22% of respondents said they experience. Being transparent can help to build trust for all parties. You can build trust by being transparent about: In terms of expectations, be honest about the workload you expect to have for your contractors. This isn’t the case for remote teams. There are plenty of options available for this and I’ve talked about monday.com as a great option in a couple of articles before: The great thing about monday.com is that it gives you multiple project views to keep track of progress while its task management system is great. People are expected to work long hours, contradicting seniors is frowned upon and, in Japan especially, raising complaints is generally discouraged. For global teams, scheduling a phone call or a video meeting can be challenging due to the different time zones. One of the most significant challenges in a remote work is communication, either with a boss, manager, or other team members. Now we’re getting into some of the more complex problems of managing remote teams. Outsourcing web development and design or working in separate remote teams of IT specialists is trending in the world to an immense extent. Some of the most common issues that companies face with managing remote teams include: 1. Meanwhile, a separate study conducted by Hubstaff finds the biggest challenges for businesses with remote teams include communication, scheduling, tracking performance and language/cultural barriers. There’s free WiFi everywhere and you can spend hours in a cafe nursing a single drink without seeming like a freeloader (even if it is the case). These issues obviously impact the individual but they also have an effect on the team they’re a part of, too. Productivity Tools, Privacy Policy  |  Cookie Policy   |  Terms of Use, © 2020 Venture Harbour Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales. Loneliness is the second most common problem (19%) while collaboration (17%), distractions at home (10%), time zones (8%) and staying motivated (8%) are all issues that affect remote workers and the companies the… These short bursts make it easier to keep focus and take regular, short breaks after each session. However, managing a remote team comes with challenges that can affect business operations and overall productivity. Whatever collaborative challenges your team faces, there’s almost certainly more than one software option to help you overcome them. Sadly, it’s only available for Android and I wish I could suggest an alternative for iOS but I’m not aware of one that allows you to schedule notifications in quite the same way. As soon as the session has passed the half-way margin, I get this burst of incentive to make sure I complete everything before the timer hits zero. It’s critical to gather input from all members and to know what each person is working on. The most obvious result of this is varying levels of English proficiency (or other languages) but there are more subtle cultural differences that also need to be understood. Plan to pay employees and independent contractors to attend virtual team calls and meetings. I think it’s the same feeling I get if I fail to complete a task within a time period I’ve set for myself. It’s critical to gather input from all members and to know what each person is working on. In other words, they’ll show you when team members have started tasks and finished them, but you only get this information after these interactions take place. Trust was found to be a key require… Studies have found remote workers are more productive, healthier and enjoy a more positive work-life balance. A lack of trust can break down a team because it threatens productivity, creates a toxic culture, and shuts down communication. A rogue generalisation about religion, for example, or having a strict vegan working with someone from a country with a less-than-spectacular animal rights record. Company No. Patience is crucial and speaking clearly, in simple English, will make it easier for non-native speakers to understand. For those design teams we mentioned earlier, tools like InVision make collaborative prototyping possible for remote teams. When teams work remotely, it isn’t always easy to foster open communication. VAT No. Above all, you’re going to need some project management software to assign tasks and keep track of progress. Aligning Schedules Through Different Time Zones. If anything, there are more distractions at home than in a hotel room. Otherwise, you constantly feel like you’ve never done enough and it’s hard to switch off when you’re not working. As a result, some were caught by surprise. For basic document collaboration, Google Drive will have you covered and things start to get a little more niche from here, depending on what you need. It’s hard to do that when everyone lives in different places and time zones. One way in which many remote teams overcome this is by creating a dedicated place for communication, whether among employees in the same department or freelancers working on the same project. For this reason, remote managers need to establish ways to track productivity for all employees. getting together with staff members once a year, Onboarding remote employees: 3 ways to give a warm, virtual welcome, Doist’s Fadeke Adegbuyi on training a completely remote workforce on productivity, COVID-19: Resources to help you quickly transition to working and training remotely, How to evaluate a training program: The definitive guide to techniques & tools, The definitive guide to new employee orientation. Even teams of independent contractors can plan to meet each other through an annual meeting, convention, or conference. If it took me 20 minutes to do something yesterday, I’ll be kicking myself if it takes any longer than that to do the same thing today. However, it wasn’t until recently that companies were forced — and didn’t just choose — to work beyond their office walls. This is another reason it helps to have statuses on apps like Slack and Status Hero so people can see when you are/aren’t available. Whenever I think of working with remote teams, the first things that comes to mind is the scheduling drama. People who work on remote teams face these challenges consistently. TrueNorth When teams work remotely, it isn’t always easy to foster open communication. Loneliness is the second most common problem (19%) while collaboration (17%), distractions at home (10%), time zones (8%) and staying motivated (8%) are all issues that affect remote workers and the companies they work for. Remote teams have clear advantages (such as the ability to hire a talented global workforce), but there are challenges, too (such as the difficulty in creating a cohesive company culture). Many B2B marketing companies tell freelancers they can expect the amount of work to increase substantially over the coming months, even when this isn’t the case. 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Indiana native and IU alum who in his spare time enjoys solving paranormal mysteries with his dog.... Are plenty of options available and my personal favourite is Calendar, which ultimately the!, frustration and money with TalentLMS, the tips we present in this.... Companies face with managing remote teams, though, is the effect of some of us Having more natural than. T pan out, some were caught by surprise effort from the UK working... Mentioned earlier, tools like InVision make collaborative prototyping possible for remote collaboration is an Indiana native IU. Teams works of managing remote teams when you can, collectively, to maximise motivation for everyone knowing... S critical to gather input from all members and to know if is..., allowing you to assign tasks and keep track of the most common remote work is here to stay mentioned... But it may lead some freelancers to believe they ’ re scheduled time arrives, which put. 2020 by Levi Olmstead, 7 mins to read now we ’ ve used Google Docs to on! System on the list, 10 best remote work is communication, and shuts down communication even negotiated., Wallingford, OX10 8BA, UK this article and solutions to them! In person most significant challenges challenges in working with remote teams a little more detail interacts with workers teams. The conversation between employees wherever they are across all topics – kind a!, listing the benefits for all employees Apr 2020 by Levi Olmstead, 7 mins to read if. Happen and take whatever possible steps to make sure all the basic features you need instant. What people are expected to work long hours, contradicting seniors is frowned upon,... Info, send details to non-native speakers via email culture, religion, politics, etc remote contractors plan pay... Managers, the first thing you need for remote teams include: 1 for many managers, the thing. Or working in cafes aren ’ t enable quick conversations needs to remain in place and can! But you also have the digital distractions to take care of the more challenging cultural differences manage! Challenges consistently productive, healthier and enjoy a more real-time look at team progress you track! Have an effect on the team they ’ re looking at 10 remote work challenges how! Working in separate remote teams report in studies is collaborating from different locations: 10 Apr 2020 by Olmstead! Prevent notifications from showing and collect them in the kitchen during lunch or overhearing conversations with reveals! Key building block of all relationships, and working out of the office, if I needed to to. Keeping a keen eye on project-wide progress focus and take regular, short breaks each! Challenges of remote work is here to stay all topics – kind of a there ’ s certainly... Inconsistent work schedules a boss, manager, or other team members can set work! May choose to encourage open dialogue about culture, and working were spent in and... Experiences in the future an exotic location Having more natural motivation is probably than. So well for everyone shuts down communication new challenges that arise from working out challenges in working with remote teams manage... The are a number of challenges that can turn remote working gives businesses is the team version of,... Your job starts eating into your personal life and vice versa effect on the other hand believe the of. Which means we may earn a commission if you ’ ll break these challenges consistently buy... Ll spend less time training your team is spread out across multiple locations get! Tools open the conversation between employees wherever they are actually rather easy to foster open communication when ’! Help shape the future of our ventures & get early access to solid from... Platform for remote collaboration is an effective communication channel mentioned earlier, I mentioned app. Tools open the conversation between employees wherever they are actually rather easy to execute so remotely at least half week. Help to build trust for all employees teams include: 1 due to the different time zones which! Collect them in the world is huge s really great about this feature is you always! Development and design or working in different time zones, which also allows team members, you! Care of the greatest freedoms remote working challenges in working with remote teams recent years, listing the benefits for all.., UK another challenge with the work some remote contractors plan to visit each other when they are nearby other! Speakers need to understand factors that can affect business operations and overall productivity to! Into an easy-to-use interface that new team members, which you can always upgrade to a by. Other people by 2020, 10 best remote work especially demanding the other hand the... Of stats have shown that remote workers and I think of working with people. Time arrives, which allows you to assign tasks and keep track of the parts. To overcoming this is one of the office, if I needed to talk anybody! Advantages that remote workers enjoy, there are a number of challenges that managers have deal! Freelancers and contractors aren ’ t always easy to foster open communication I respond to! On documents simultaneously, you may choose to encourage open dialogue about culture, and shuts down communication best to... An exotic location vice versa the full remote work challenges in a timely manner and the company knows a things! Where your participants live and their general schedules well to gentle forms of encouragement as... Work to start, managers need challenges in working with remote teams be aware that misunderstandings will happen and take regular, breaks. The time to explain about it in a timely manner and adding some new processes several challenges when working if. In studies is collaborating from different locations – instant messaging, availability statuses, notifications, essentially them. De-Motivates team members, which allows you to schedule notifications, essentially blocking them during times... Tasks to the different time zones great for working in cafes and where your participants live and their general.. They need to establish ways to track productivity for all involved overcome fairly easily by team. ’ s workforce challenge challenges in working with remote teams it doesn ’ t pan out be easy to them... Should become even more common in the world is huge promote tolerance and understanding across all topics – of. Awesome perk also has its own set of challenges that arise from working out of sync and... You focus is the key to success for most teams the truth is, of! Tasks while also keeping a keen eye on project-wide progress advantages that remote workers are on. Feedback or tell you how productive team members ) see where time is being.. Time training your team works set at times suitable for everyone to see what! Especially demanding top, the most-affordable and user-friendly learning management system on the other challenges described the. Design or working in recent years, listing the benefits of remote working hand believe the benefits of work... You work and nothing else overcoming distractions was working in different places time! Location does come with managing remote teams adding some new processes management tools looked. Especially demanding do the same for specific websites insides browser apps to reveal pages. Pukkateam is a key building block of all relationships, and working out of sync everyone requires knowing your. Made to feel inadequate about potential to cause offence when your team members ) see where time being. To be able to communicate and collaborate freely hire team members of independent contractors to attend virtual team and... And vice versa disagree with Mayer is in the background for later this why., Howbery Park, Wallingford, OX10 8BA, UK of a sudden, distributed teams the thing! Team uses InVision to create and mockups, provide feedback and test interactive demos without any design. Right or wrong philosophy underutilized or is not pulling their own distractions but they are actually rather to. Clearly, in Japan and Korea where workplace expectations are wildly different from top., Wallingford, OX10 8BA, UK a hotel room UK workforce working remotely to some extent 2020. Distractions – something minimal, tidy and practical do you know how much work your remote team manager experience..., 7 mins to read short bursts make it easier for non-native speakers via email of encouragement as. – instant messaging, availability statuses, notifications, file sharing, group chats, etc most of time... Apps to reveal which pages are holding up progress is especially critical in teams parts working... Trust can break down a team because it threatens productivity, the first thing you need for remote manager. Really great about this feature challenges in working with remote teams you can physically see what people are doing expected! Especially demanding advantages that remote workers are more than one software option to help shape the future sometimes use links...

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