The Hurdles of Managing Employees Working Remotely

Most companies are currently operating under a mixture of modes.  It is quite common nowadays to have some of your workforce works remotely and another part works in the office.

According to a survey conducted by Gallup, nearly half (45%) of full-time employees are working at least partly remotely. Nine out of ten (90%) remote employees would prefer to continue working from home.

There are three key areas that companies need to look at to make remote and/or hybrid teams work: communication, time management tools, and security.

The benefits of having your team work remotely

Let’s face it, for most people it is a dream come true to work from home.  There’s no blood pressure raising traffic to deal with, no high gas pump prices, folks can sleep in a bit more, etc.  Here’s a list of potential benefits that impact your business and employees:

Increased productivity – Employees who work from home have more time for personal projects, which can lead to increased productivity. They also tend to be less distracted than those who spend most of the day in an office environment.

Lower costs – The cost of running an office is high, especially when you consider that many businesses pay rent on top of this. By allowing workers to telecommute, you’re able to save money on things like furniture, electricity, and other overhead expenses.

Flexible schedules – Many people enjoy being able to set their own schedule, but it doesn’t always work well with everyone else’s. If you allow your employees to work remotely, they will be able to pick up and leave whenever they want without worrying about getting into trouble with their boss or missing important deadlines.

Heightened job satisfaction – When people feel appreciated and valued, they tend to perform better. This is true even if they don’t get paid as much as they would in an office setting.

While there are many perks to having a flexible work environment for staff, there are certainly a number of challenges of managing remote employees.

To manage a remote team effectively, you must adapt traditional working practices to the new virtual environment. There are three key areas that organizations need to consider when managing remote teams: communication, time management, and security.

If you’re struggling to manage remote employees, here are some of their most common challenges and ways to overcome them.

Use Effective Communication to Manage Remote Employees

Challenge #1: Employee Engagement

A motivated and engaged team is one that works hard together towards achieving the goals set by management.

To overcome this challenge, one way to improve collaboration among remote employees is by having regular virtual meeting sessions, using video conferencing software for example.

Bottom-lining it, if you want to ensure that employees are engaged, then you must first know what motivates them and what they require from their workplace. Ensure that your team has everything they require to be successful, including having control over their own tasks and projects.

Challenge #2: Miscommunication

When working remotely, there are a lot of things that can go wrong if video conferencing is not done properly. Especially when you don’t have regular one-on-one meetings.

For instance, if you use Zoom, you can easily share files and documents between participants. However, if you do not have a good internet connection, you may experience slow upload speeds.

This could result in delays, missed information, and miscommunications. To avoid these issues, it is recommended that you use a reliable internet service provider (ISP).

Below are some of the keys to avoid miscommunication in a remote work environment.

  • Clear Communication.  Make sure all participating team members are clear on exactly what tasks need to be accomplished and when they will be completed.  Everyone needs to understand the action items.  This will eliminate any surprises or misunderstandings later.
  • Be specific. Be very specific about what you expect from each other. This includes providing details about how long it will take to complete certain tasks.
  • Be engaging. Know what motivates your team. Ensure that your team has everything they require to be successful, including having control over their own tasks and projects.
  • Get reassurance. You should always be sure that the person or group you’re talking to understands the assignment correctly before proceeding. It’s also a good idea to ask questions if something isn’t clear. For example, “I’m confused about the next step in our process.” This helps to clarify expectations and ensures that everyone is on the same page.

How to Improve Employee Productivity When Managing Remote Employees

Challenge #3: Time Management

To ensure your remote employees are productive, set up a schedule that works for both you (the manager) and them (your employees).

If you’re working from your own office, it can be easy to get distracted by non-relevant tasks, even if you as a boss don’t set clear goals. Project management tools such as Asanas, Teamworks, or Trello can assist you in keeping your team organized.

When working on a large project with multiple dependencies, divide up the task into smaller pieces and assign them to different team members based on their skills and ambitions.

It is your responsibility as a manager or leader to communicate the project and organization’s motivation and to make sure that employees feel like they’re contributing to a common cause.

Challenge #4: Employee Productivity

According to studies, remote workers tend to be more productive than office workers. But the key to productivity when you’re not physically present at an office is to set up clear communication channels and deadlines for each member of your staff.

It’s important to note that remote employees require strong internal motivation. Therefore their roles as managers will differ from those who work in offices where they provide structure and direction by setting up meetings or scheduling projects.

This means encouraging your employees’ efforts without being overly demanding about deadlines or product standards. If you want to improve employee productivity, focus on improving communication between your employees and yourself.  Communication is essential to managing remote teams effectively. Here are some tips to help you communicate better with your remote employees:

1. Use email. Emails are great for quick updates and reminders.
2. Set up regular check-ins via video calls or phone conversations.
3. Keep your messages short and concise.

Managing Cybersecurity Threats When Working With Remote Employees

Challenge #5: Security Breaches

Cybersecurity is crucial.  It is something many companies struggle with when they have remote employees or when they’re considering hiring remote workers.

Your company needs to be sure that its cybersecurity measures are strong enough to protect against any potential threats from people who may not be working for your company but could potentially cause damage. Here are some examples:

  • Fraudulent transactions made by strangers who use the same IP address as their victim (e.g., if someone has your home address but not your work email address or phone number)
  • Fraudulent transactions made by hackers using stolen data from previous victims (e.g., if someone steals your credit card information and then uses it to create a new account under another person’s name)
  • Theft by employees at remote locations (e.g., if an employee at one place steals something from another site)

An effective way to keep your employees’ personal data and company data safe is by using a Managed Service Provider (MSP).  Often, MSPs have the necessary tools, engineers, processes and protocols in place to protect your systems from cybersecurity threats.

Regularly testing of your IT systems allows you to discover and eliminate any potential vulnerabilities so you’re protected from a real security incident. Not only that, but you can also teach your employees to identify threats.

Manage Remote Employees Effectively With Intech Hawaii

It has not been an easy transition for managers who lead remote teams, however, the benefits far outweigh the difficulties of managing remote workers. However, it is essential that managers who lead remote teams be open, clear, and willing adapt to new ways of doing things.

Managers need to learn how to communicate effectively and manage expectations so that everyone is clear about what they’re expected to deliver.

The fantastic news is that you don’t have to do it alone because Intech Hawaii can help you.  We help companies locally and abroad solve their remote team challenges with solutions that enable them to manage remote employees more successfully and efficiently.

With us as your trustworthy technology partner and the right toolset at your disposal, you’ll no longer need to worry about running an inefficient operation.

Improve the way you work remotely with expert advice and support from Intech Hawaii. Contact us today for more information.