Business TipsCOVID-19Remote Working

[COVID-19] The importance of remote team management at this time of crisis

By 6th April 2020 No Comments

‘Teleworker’, no it’s not the guy from the TV show. This is different.

Nowadays, flexible working has become the ‘new normal.’ With the evolution of information technology, certain work that is usually performed at the employer’s premises, can now be carried out away from those premises on a regular basis. In the past decade, technology has become so advanced that pretty much anyone can fulfil their everyday tasks at home. Thanks to this advancement, the number of people who are working remotely has increased double-fold.

Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, countless amounts of companies have been forced to switch to teleworking. Even schools were quick to implement a distance learning process. However, not everyone was ready for this kind of big and sudden change, mainly due to the fact that they had never done it before. Whilst the coronavirus situation has literally brought the whole world to a standstill, some positives have come out of the crisis; many companies started introducing modern technologies, learning unusual ways of communication and started gaining remote team management experience.

Advantages of teleworking

Remote work is good for business

Among performance-based remote work statistics, 85% of businesses confirm that productivity has increased in their company because of greater flexibility. Additionally, 90% of employers say allowing for more flexible work arrangements and schedules would increase employee morale, while 77% say allowing employees to work remotely may lead to lower operating costs.

Remote works are more productive

While working from home, employees may have less distractions and interruptions, less stress from no commute and minimal office politics. In exchange they get a personalised, quiet environment which are all contributors to a more productive remote worker. Statistics show that 76% of workers prefer to avoid their office completely when they need to concentrate on a project and 23% of remote workers say they work longer hours than they would at the office. Apart from that, when an employee has flexibility of work, his or her performance in time management improves. 

Remote workers can be healthier

Remote workers tend to take less sick days, likely due to less exposure to germs in a typical office space or on the way to the workplace, which is very actual due to the current situation. Moreover, working in comfortable environments helps relieve stress and allows employees to take better care of themselves. 

Working from home also reduces traffic congestion, air pollution, and helps workers save money by decrease unplanned buys such as coffee, lunches and etc. 

Everything in life has its pros & cons and remote working is not different. Indeed there are some disadvantages that can be extremely impactful to any business. Isolation makes it more difficult for employees to stay connected and to be involved with daily company happenings. Some employees could be less productive in this arrangement. Working from home may create difficulty in scheduling meetings and coordinating, supervising and evaluating work. 

That’s why it is very important to manage the remote work properly.

Best practices for Remote Team Management:

Setting clear expectations

Every business has expectations: whether working remotely or virtually. Being clear with employees will keep them focussed working towards the same goals. You should set clear expectations for:

  • Work hours
  • Availability
  • Communication system
  • Timely meetings
  • Key projects and deadlines
  • Scheduled meetings
  • Respond to email

Monitoring performance

The key to the management of teleworkers is supervision of the worker and their work. After setting the targets and deadlines for employees it is important that the workers also get the feedback on their performance in order to maintain good performance and to improve overall. Regular communication helps make remote supervision and management of teleworkers effective. Frequent contact with the teleworker allows a manager to check on progress and offer help if needed. Regular check-in calls help remote workforce feel included, and also encourage the use of platforms for instant messaging and chat that allow informal conversations between colleagues to flourish. Ordinary meetings that were carried out in the office, easily may be continued online with the help of the right tool for video conferencing. . 

Using the right remote collaboration tools

To keep productivity and morale up, teams will need tools to come together online, to collaborate in real-time, and work as though they were still in the same building. Integration is key, and team members working remotely need the right online collaboration tools and project management tools that bring together features such as instant messaging, video calls, screen sharing, and time tracking to help them get the job done. 

The following are 5 must-have tools every organisation should implement to have proper remote work process:

  1. Chat App
  2. Web Conferencing
  3. Flexible Business Telephone Service
  4. Screen-Sharing App
  5. Cloud-Based Project Management Solution

Here is few of the best online collaboration tools currently on offer:

Google G Suite – G Suite includes remote collaboration tools including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and communication tools including Hangouts Meet and Chat. 

Slack – Slack’s strong points are that it can integrate with a wide array of services and businesses are probably already using — from Dropbox and Google Drive to Salesforce and Zoom. It’s also popular, used across the world by a wide range of companies, including big names like Lyft and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Trello – Trello uses boards, lists, and cards to allow you to organize and prioritize your projects in a flexible and easy-to-use way.

3CX – 3CX is an open-platform, software VoIP phone system that works with popular IP Phones and SIP trunks whether on-premise or in the cloud.

HubSpot – HubSpot offers a full stack of software for marketing, sales, and customer service, with a completely free CRM at its core. They’re powerful alone — but even better when used together.

Giving help and motivation when it’s needed

Unexpected problems related to the project, or how the work is being done are common in every business. Understanding what is bothering the employees and giving them a helping hand is the key to a successful work based relationship. Creating the right environment for those who may be first-time remote workers is extremely important for the employees’ welfare and company productivity. Employees are a company’s greatest asset, and it is essential to provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission.

Teleworking isn’t something new, just nowadays it has become very actual for many businesses. Rational management of it can create even better results than offline work. Teleworking and other creative work schedule options are becoming an essential ability to attract and retain talented employees.