Whether you are managing or simply a part of a remote team, there are a few things you need to know to function well. In this post, we list the top 8 mistakes that remote teams must avoid.
It is estimated that 36.2 million Americans are going to be working remotely by 2025, representing 22 percent of the overall workforce! This has certainly become the new norm.
It is not difficult to understand why, as there are a lot of benefits associated with remote working, including:
- Reduced need for office space
- Reduced staff turnover
- Increased motivation
- Higher productivity levels
- Better work-life balance
- Greater flexibility
- More autonomy
- Less commuting team
However, if you want to experience all of the benefits associated with remote working, you need to make sure that you are implementing effective and successful practices.
Considering this, below, we are going to take a look at some of the common mistakes made by remote teams so that you can avoid making them.
1. Failing to monitor the impact on customer service
Using a remote team does not mean that customer service is going to drop. In fact, it can often improve, as it means that people can be available at different hours across different time zones.
However, you need to measure customer service so you can be sure that you’re delivering the level of service your customers expect.
A customer service test will enable you to understand the sort of queries your customers have and identify the root causes, as well as figure out the best solutions. This will ensure your remote team is able to handle customer concerns in the most effective manner.
2. Rushing through virtual meetings
Let’s be honest; most people don’t enjoy meetings. They can view them as an inconvenience, and a lot of people feel awkward about video chats. However, they are vital, especially when managing a remote team.
Use your virtual meetings to make sure that everyone is on the same page. If you have remote team members based all around the world, figure out a time that is going to make the most sense for everyone.
If someone needs to participate outside of the standard working hours, make sure you alternate who this person is so that it is not workers in a one-time zone that are always having to make the sacrifice.
It also makes sense to put together a schedule for your meeting. This can cover the points that you want to discuss with your team so that you can go over them effectively. This helps to keep your meetings efficient and ensures you do not end up deviating too much from your meeting objectives.
3. Poor communication
There is no denying that one of the biggest mistakes we see being made by remote teams is poor communication.
As you are not able to see team members face-to-face, you need to think about how you are going to communicate with one and another. It makes sense to use a mixture of communication tools, from instant messenger to video conferencing software, so you can adjust your mode of communication based on what needs to be discussed.
It also makes sense to source quality collaboration software so that workers can work on projects together with ease, sharing documents and status updates with one and another.
We would recommend checking in with your employees on a regular basis to find out whether they feel there are any hurdles associated with the communication or whether everything is running smoothly.
The likes of Trello, Slack, Confluence, and Basecamp have proven to be popular options.
It is important to make sure that everyone is respectful of the different cultures when it comes to communicating as well. You may even want to put a communication policy in place to aid with this.
4. Not scaling your remote team effectively
In addition to the mistakes that we have mentioned so far, we have also noticed that a lot of business owners struggle to understand when the time is right to expand their team or move into a new avenue.
As is the case with any business, you want to find opportunities to grow and develop. It is a good idea to start off by using a tool to calculate the market size. This can help you to understand the true potential of your business.
You can then look for different opportunities for your business to progress, and consider making new remote hires to help your business achieve these objectives.
5. Overlooking the importance of team interactions
Just because your team is unable to interact face to face does not mean you should overlook the importance of team interactions.
Working from home can get very lonely, and it can make a big difference to be able to have the opportunity to make a little bit of small talk with other members of the team.
You may think that this is a waste of time. In reality, it only takes a few minutes, and it can help your workers to feel happier and like they are a part of the team.
As your remote workforce grows, you may want to look into the possibility of setting up staff trips so everyone can meet up and get to know one and another.
6. Failing to enable your remote workforce with the right technology
Technology is at the core of most businesses today, and it is unlikely that your remote team is going to be able to operate in the most efficient manner if they do not have the right technology in place.
It makes sense to speak with your remote team members about their preferred work processes, style, communication, and schedule, as this will help you to determine what sort of software is going to enable them to do their best work.
You also need to think about software from a security standpoint. There are a lot of security risks that are associated with remote work because workers are left to their own devices and a lot of them do not have the experience or knowledge that is required to protect their online footprint.
Because of this, you need to make sure that your remote team has the right tools in place to browse in a safe and secure manner.
It is also important to make sure you provide your workforce with the education that is needed to use these tools and other programs safely. From sticking with default passwords to using the same passwords for all accounts, there are a lot of simple password management errors we see people make. A little bit of education can go a very long way!
7. Failing to advocate for remote team members in the office
The members of your remote team should never be out of sight or out of mind. As a manager, you have the job of advocating for your remote team members, ensuring that they are visible within the organization and considered with every project.
There are a number of different ways you can achieve this. For example, make sure that all of your remote team employees are invited and encouraged to attend meetings.
In addition to this, when new remote workers join your team, it is a good idea to provide them with a list of individuals outside of the direct team that they can meet virtually. This can help with the onboarding process, as it makes the remote worker feel a part of the team.
Plus, if you are in a meeting with other executives and leaders, make sure that you shed light on the projects being handled by your remote workforce.
8. Dropping the ball on feedback
Aside from the points that we have discussed so far, another remote team management error involves dropping the ball in terms of delivering critical feedback.
For some managers, they feel like it is too difficult to give negative feedback over a Zoom conversation. While we understand that this can be awkward, it is important that you do so. You are only going to be hurting your business and the remote worker by withholding information that could help them to do better in the future.
Your ability to deliver actionable and constructive feedback to your workers is of huge importance to their growth and development. If you are not prioritizing supporting them and being honest, you are not doing your job right.
Therefore, be sure to dedicate weekly, monthly, and quarterly time to discussing opportunities, goals, and progress with your remote team members in the same manner you do with your in-office workers.
You can use this time to give them feedback that will help them advocate for themselves remotely, surface opportunities for skill expansion or promotion, and also ask for feedback on your own performance as well.
Final words on avoiding mistakes as a remote team
From poor communication to rushing through virtual meetings, there are a number of mistakes we see remote teams make on a regular basis.
It is important to have a dedicated approach when managing a remote team so that you can ensure everyone is able to work together efficiently.
Don’t be disheartened when you make a mistake; simply learn from it and use it to move your team forward in the right direction.