Remote work, even just a few years ago, was something only a few of us did, a slightly unusual working pattern that many people thought would never replace traditional offices.
That’s no longer the case. Over the last five years, remote work has grown by 44 percent, with events like the COVID-19 pandemic radically accelerating this trend. This new working style has exploded incredibly rapidly, leaving many companies scrambling to change their methods and adapt to the new way of doing things.
Remote management is one concept that companies have had to start taking more seriously. How do you manage and organize your teams when they’re scattered across the country and the world, linked only by Zoom calls and Slack channels?
In this article, we’ll look at remote management in more detail, explain why it’s so important, and show you how to do it effectively.
What is remote management?
Remote management is the process of managing your remote teams. Some companies already have experience with remote management, but for others — who were thrust into it following the outbreak of COVID-10 — it’s a completely new concept.
Remote managers face a series of unique challenges compared to traditional managers, such as:
- Different time zones. Many remote organizations have team members located all over the world, some in completely different time zones. Scheduling meetings and syncing deadlines can be tricky when your IT manager is having breakfast at your bedtime.
- Physical distance. When your only contact with your team is via Zoom calls and other communication software, it can be tough to stay connected and keep everyone in the loop.
- Communication challenges. Similar to the above point, when your teams are forced to rely on digital communication it’s easy for important points to get lost in translation, for confusion and disagreements to arise out of nothing, and for team cohesion to suffer.
Security. 41% of remote workers are accessing confidential work information using unsecured personal devices and apps. This opens up your organization and data to potential security breaches and hacks.
Why is remote management important?
More than half of the US workforce — 56.8% — is now working remotely at least part of the time.
Managing these teams the right way is essential if your company is to continue thriving and growing. In many cases, we’re never going back to traditional office spaces — managers believe that 26.7 percent of the workforce will continue to remain fully remote in 2021 — so leaders need to learn these skills now to be prepared for the future.
This requires a different approach to traditional management. In the next section, we’ll show you some tips for how to do remote management right.
How do to remote management well
Use the right tools. One advantage remote managers have is access to a wealth of powerful tools and platforms for managing teams remotely. Platforms like Zoom and Slack are among the most well-known, allowing you to communicate instantly with team members wherever they are in the world.
Whisbi also has a number of tools built for remote engagement, like our real-time video solutions for connecting with customers digitally wherever they may be.
Regular communication. One of the most important principles of remote management is to ensure constant and smooth communication. Make sure to schedule regular meetings on your preferred video chat software to keep everyone in the loop and address any concerns. For day-to-day communication, use messaging software and collaboration platforms.
Train your staff well. In a remote team, your staff don’t get the benefit of having constant guidance and support. That’s why it’s more important than ever to make sure they’re trained as effectively as possible, giving them all the skills they need to do their job well with minimal oversight. You should also encourage them to reach out and seek help if they are unsure about anything, as these issues can fly under the radar when working remotely.
Be clear about expectations. With remote work, it’s easy for important information to get missed or overlooked, and it’s easy for team members to fall into bad habits over time. By setting clear expectations regarding things like communication, deadlines, and working practices, you’ll make sure your team is clear on what they need to do and avoid confusion or misunderstanding.
Don’t micromanage. While it’s important to set clear expectations, it’s also important to make sure you aren’t micromanaging your remote team. Working from home is different from working in an office, and your team members will be juggling competing responsibilities like family and household duties. As long as they’re getting the job done and hitting targets, there’s no need to insist on rigid schedules.
Remote work is here to stay, and the future of work is going to require a lot of remote management. By mastering these skills now and making sure company leaders have everything they need to effectively organize their remote teams, you’ll be laying a powerful foundation for the future and ensuring your business continues to thrive in a remote world.
At Whisbi, we have a wide range of solutions aimed at improving digital communication and helping you manage teams and connect with customers wherever they are in the world. To find out more, schedule a demo.