The Challenges of Managing Remote Teams and Tools to Help

The benefits of having a distant or partially distant team are striking and have become much more apparent in the last year. Studies show that teleworkers are generally more productive, healthier and happier than their office peers. At the same time, employers can experience 50% better retention and save $ 11,000 per year. Remote work per. Years on average.

It’s not easy to see why every leader does not want their team to work remotely with all these benefits. However, some challenges have made some companies feel uncertain about whether they are ready to embrace a permanently remote workforce.

Fortunately, advances in automation tools can help ease the burden on remote team leaders. Read on to find out what challenges you can face as a remote team leader and how you can reduce the burden of automation.

Challenges of managing a remote team and creative solutions

There will be different challenges for different industries. But of course, every company and even every team in a company will have its own unique obstacles to overcome when it comes to managing remote workers.

There are a few important areas to be aware of. Here are some of the biggest frustrations from external team leaders and our preferred automation solutions.

Training and onboarding

Providing effective training to new employees is one of the biggest challenges in managing a remote team. Some executives complain that when they train new team members, they simply cannot judge the focus of the new remote rental over a screen, and it’s harder to know if they are really “getting it”.

A manager could sit down with a new employee in an office environment and watch them perform a task. The new employee could easily ask questions as they went, and the manager could observe their expressions and methods of making corrections before they became bad habits.

As a result of not seeing all the nonverbal visual cues an employee can give during training, the onboarding process takes much longer and managers struggle to find the time.

Another challenge that can arise when training a group of new employees. Because everyone moves at their own pace, training a group over zoom or another video conferencing platform can prove to be very ineffective because some interns will complete training tasks earlier than others and could spend hours just waiting for the rest of The group catches up.

Tools that can help: Automated task dependencies and learning management systems (LMS)

If you have many new hires who need to go through a more complex or rigorous education, there are many cloud-based learning management systems that include automation.

Programs like AbsorbLMS, Cornerstone and Docebo allow you to create an entire training program complete with assignments, materials, certificates and more.

You can even create a training program that incorporates other departments and “gamifies” the training with awards and certificates so that employees are motivated and engaged in the material. With your training almost completely automated, you can even spend less time training new employees than if they were physically in an office with you.

When new employees can learn at their own pace, take quizzes along the way to make sure they understand the material, and receive fun incentives to complete tasks, training can be more effective than ever.

Tracking

When your team works from home, it can be challenging to know if people are distracted, letting things fall through the cracks, or even sleeping on the job.

In some industries, it does not matter when the work is done as long as it is done, but external team leaders still need an effective way to keep track of all tasks, projects and deadlines so that nothing is missed.

Employees may need to be vigilant and attentive during working hours to answer occasional calls from customers and colleagues in other organizations. So how can managers in both of these situations keep track of everything without spending all day chasing every single remote worker or getting workers to waste hours filling out tedious reports?

Tools that can help: Activity tracking, recurring reminders and form automation software

It is well known that you can use team collaboration software like Slack to send recurring reminders. So why not use this feature to send team members a weekly (or even daily) reminder to submit a summary of what they have accomplished, what they have worked on, or what their goals are?

Combine this with a form automation software such as Hubspot or Prontoforms. You can allow your employees to quickly and easily enter updates on their day or week, and you can view the data all neatly displayed in an intuitive spreadsheet without wasting time on formatting.

Assume that you are concerned that employees may not be as attentive as they should be during opening hours. In that case, activity tracking and sales automation software like Pega can automatically track and monitor activities, emails and even tasks given to other staff without employees entering information. This way, your team can focus on the most critical work.

Cooperation

For busy teams, collaboration is always a challenge. Although the ability to work independently is crucial for remote teams, hyper-independence can lead to divisions and problems that end up costing the company time and money. If you deal with different time zones and work around individual schedules, collaboration can become an even greater challenge. It is important for leaders to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

The best way to do this is to implement workflows that include checks and balances between team members. This is easy to do with the right automation tools.

Automation tools that can help: Project management software, calendar integration and recurring meetings

Project management software platforms allow users to work effectively on tasks together. For example, most platforms like Asana will enable you to organize tasks and projects so that users with access to a particular project can see all the tasks in the project, who is working on them, and how much has been done.

If a review of a document is required, it can be automatically assigned to another team member with a deadline based on logical commands. When you add calendar integration, team members can quickly see which of their employees are available to collaborate on projects, even if they are in different time zones.

Video conferencing platforms like Zoom allow executives to effortlessly schedule recurring team meetings. When you e.g. Integrated with Slack, you can automatically send reminders via the team collaboration software with a zoom link.

Final thoughts

Companies have used automation for years to free employees and managers from the monotonous, repetitive and tedious aspects of their work to have the time and energy to focus on the complex, creative work they were hired for.

Interestingly enough, advances in automation technology have allowed for almost limitless possibilities and ways of using the software. Now with teleworking at an all-time high, it’s the perfect time to assess possible time and energy drains, pain points and extra stress caused by the transition to a remote workforce.

Once you have identified these, it will be easier to find an automation software or feature that helps your remote teams be productive, efficient, and fulfilled.

Image credit: rodnae productions; pexels; thank you!

Reuben Yonatan

Reuben Yonatan is the founder of @GetVoIP – an industry-leading business comparison guide that helps companies understand and choose a VoIP system for their specific needs. Follow us on Twitter @ReubenYonatan

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