Managing a remote team is much different than managing a traditional in-house workforce. Remote teams encounter many unique challenges, and without strong leadership, employees can easily slack off, lack engagement, or close their lines of communication. Let’s look at five common mistakes made by remote managers.
1. Forgetting Regular Performance Reviews
All employees — whether in-house or remote — need regular feedback, praise, and criticism. In addition to recognition, they need help addressing areas that could use improvement. Regular performance reviews are one way to keep employees working hard and ensure they provide their best work all year round. At least once a quarter, meet with your employees to discuss their performance. Conduct a video conference or email them a detailed form with feedback. These steps take very little time but can produce incredible results.
2. Neglecting Team Interaction
Remote positions can be lonely and isolating. Team members may not feel that they know their co-workers well enough to approach them with questions or concerns. To change this, implement regular team interactions, such as weekly get-to-know-you questions, weekly online games, monthly lunches via video conferencing, etc.
3. Slacking on Your Own Communication
Communicating with remote team members is vital. Communication upfront of pertinent information at the outset of a project is particularly important to getting great results. Even with the best intentions, roadblocks can still arise, potentially resulting in several days of back-and-forth communication to work through the issue. Remain available and respond to your team quickly to optimize efficiency across the team and minimize friction that can cause frustration and dissatisfaction. Have effective tools and systems in place for communication, and let your employees know when and how often you expect them to respond to you, as well.
Many employees turn to remote positions because of the freedom they bring. While you certainly want to set your expectations from the very beginning, give your employees some leeway. If you allow them to work whenever is best for them, don’t be upset when you don’t receive a response to an email within 10 minutes. List your expectations in your remote work policy, then give employees freedom as long as they meet those expectations.
5. Hiring Too Quickly
Not everyone is cut out for a remote position. Some employees may lack the self-discipline to sit down and work from home, or they may need the social interaction and culture of a traditional office. Seek to hire individuals with past remote experience who have demonstrated that they can meet the demands of this unique work environment. Don’t just hire anyone who comes your way.
Managing a remote team is no easy task; you must overcome many obstacles. By avoiding the above five mistakes, your job will be easier and you will have a more successful team.
Author: Alisiana Peters
Alisiana is a senior marketing coordinator at HiringThing, an award-winning online recruiting software provider dedicated to changing the way businesses hire talent. Questions? Contact HiringThing Marketing.