By now, you probably know that remote work and remote teams are here to stay.
They’ve become more popular ever since the pandemic—with studies showing remote workers report greater job satisfaction, fewer headaches, and higher levels of effort compared to their in-office colleagues. This shouldn’t surprise anyone who has worked on a remote team before; Remote workers enjoy the freedom to work anywhere they want when their work schedule is flexible.
That freedom has many remote workers reporting higher levels of effort on the job as well. That’s why remote jobs often have longer interview processes; companies want to ensure that remote candidates aren’t just remote because it’s easy for them, but because they love it.
However, while remote workers have fewer headaches and report higher levels of effort, remote teams as a whole can still face problems. Let’s go over some of these pain points, and how they can be resolved with technology.
Communication is most often cited as the top problem remote teams face—that’s why 37% of remote team leaders use video conferencing tools in order to stay in touch with remote workers. In fact, video conferencing is the top choice for remote communication of all kinds; remote team leaders even report that face-to-face meetings are more useful than in-person ones.
Virtual teams also benefit from technologies that facilitate remote meeting scheduling, such as workforce automation software. Automating remote meeting scheduling helps remote workers feel more a part of the team and helps remote teams to better coordinate their schedules.
Remote workers also depend on meeting software to help schedule online meetings that actually work for everyone involved, which is why some remote workers prefer video conferencing or virtual meeting software to an in-person one—they communicate with remote colleagues every week, rather than just the occasional meetings.
#2 Work/Life Balance
Work-life balance is another problem cited by remote team leaders , with 22% indicating it is their biggest remote work issue.
One of the challenges in remote work is that you can’t jump into a coworker’s office to talk. This means it is more difficult for remote teams to get their employees invested in the job and therefore want remote employees to feel as much of a part of the team as possible.
Remote team leaders report that virtual work can be more challenging to balance than in-office work if remote workers aren’t given the right tools and technology. However remote work is still becoming more popular—with remote workspaces like WeWork popping up all over the place.
Workplace flexibility or remote work isn’t for everyone, but small tweaks like working from a space other than your home office make it easier to get work done.
#3 Management of Remote Workers and Teams
The third most popular problem remote team leaders face is management of remote workers and remote teams.
Remote team leaders report finding the management of remote teams particularly difficult, with only one-in-four remote teams reporting that they’re effectively managed.
If companies want remote work to keep growing, this has to change. Remote teams need the right communication tools and management support too.
Remote managers can help workers feel a greater part of remote teams by helping them to understand the importance of remote work—by asking how they feel about remote work fairly often, for instance. They can also provide the right tech support, to help employees solve all issues in a timely manner.
#4 Remote Communication and Collaboration Tools
The people in remote teams are not the only problem, as the use of remote communication and collaboration tools can have its own limitations—with only half of remote team leaders saying they are using them effectively.
Remote teams need communication and collaboration tools to better communicate with one another when it comes to projects or tasks . The best remote communication software will make talking to a remote colleague as easy as talking to a coworker in the office.
Remote teams should use communication tools that are compatible with remote work and remote managers should be sure to help workers test out the collaboration platforms to make it easier for employees to use them effectively.
#5 Employers’ Attitudes Toward Remote Work
Employer attitudes toward remote work is another problem team leaders cited as part of their remote work problems . Employers need to understand how important telecommuting can be so that they’re willing to invest in remote communication tools and resources for virtual workers. Remote teams need those resources so they can find job satisfaction —so they don’t feel like just cogs in online workspaces.
Employer attitudes toward remote work also have to change because remote workers can actually be more productive than their office-based counterparts . The right remote collaboration software and remote communication platforms will help remote teams overcome some of the other remote work problems remote team leaders cited—by making remote communication feel just as easy as talking over the phone, for instance.
Remote workers shouldn’t be feeling like they’re missing out on perks that in-office employees get. They should feel motivated and satisfied with remote work, like it’s a perk itself . When employers understand this, they’ll stop having negative attitudes about remote work and start investing in tools that make life easier for both the employer and the worker—they may even become fans of remote work.
#6 Remote Work Is Inflexible
Remote work is inflexible when remote workers can’t find work that fits their schedules. Some remote teams find this a challenge, as well. They need to be flexible because remote workers may have different needs and wants than office-based coworkers. Remote managers can solve this problem by using telecommuting policies that are more flexible in terms of time off requests and remote working hours. Flexibility is essential in remote teams, remote management and remote leadership.
Remote workers need managers who understand that remote workers may work different hours, days or even weeks than in-house workers. By using a scheduling tool, employees can easily communicate their availability to their boss and maintain a remote work schedule without feeling like they’re missing out on anything.
#7 Not Understanding Telecommuting Tendencies
Finally, one of the most common remote team problems is an understandable one: misunderstanding telecommuting tendencies of individual remote employees and not getting enough information about how each remote worker works best when it comes to telecommuting policies. Remote management can require some adjusting—especially when it comes to telecommuting preferences. Sometimes these differences make it harder for remote workers to feel remote from remote workspaces, remote coworkers and remote management.
Remote workers need remote managers who understand that not all remote workers will choose the same working schedule. Some may prefer a remote work schedule that allows them to take weekends off. Others may want to telecommute during their lunch hour or only in the late evening—whatever works best for them and is achievable with network latency, time zone differences and other factors that can affect communication when it comes to remote work.
Employees may also have remote communication preferences. Some remote teams are distributed across the world, so they need team leaders who understand that remote workers may prefer a different type of remote working platform or meeting software. If remote employees feel like their boss doesn’t listen to their preferences and just forces them into a remote workspace where they don’t feel productive, that will lead to major issues in their productivity. That is why it is crucial to take time and evaluate each employee to see what works best for them.
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