Did you know that in 2018, 23.7% of employees worked from home, which is up from 19% in 2013?
Over the past few decades, the way we work has significantly changed. With the penetration of the internet, most employees like to work remotely or from home.
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In fact, the World Economic Forum describes the virtual and flexible team as “one of the biggest drivers of transformation of business models and also one of the topmost concerns” in the workplace.
Clearly, working remotely is becoming the most preferred trend. Yet despite its various benefits, organizations and businesses are skeptical about working with a remote team.
The Biggest Myths About Remote Work That Needs to be Dismissed
You will be surprised to know that there are a lot of benefits from working with a remote team.
- Low Employee Turnover: A flexible working environment means an employee can still stay in a position if their circumstances change. For instance, they have to move to another city.
- Reduced Stress Level: According to a survey, 82% reported that they experience a lower level of stress while working remotely.
- Increased Productivity: ConnectSolutions survey found that 30% of employees get more accomplished in less time.
Yet, there are myths and negative rumors about working with a remote team. Some of which tops the list are:
Myth #1: Remote team can’t collaborate as well as in-office teammates
Myth #2: Remote team is not efficient in their work
Myth #3: Remote team hurts the company culture
Contrary to what people believe, the remote team has a plethora of benefits to offer. However, it can backfire if, as a manager, you don’t know how to manage a remote team properly. But don’t worry you can easily manage it with a proper time management strategy. Working with an off-site team means you have to deal with time zone differences, physical distance, language barrier, and a range of personalities.
Of course, there are some challenges and drawbacks while working with a remote team. And, the biggest of all is time management. But we can always find solutions to overcome these obstacles.
For effective remote employee management, we have compiled a list of six simple steps that a leader can take. It will help them with better time management in remote teams.
Tips to Manage a Remote Team Efficiently
1. Start With Onboarding Process
Even when you are dealing with a remote team, you need to make sure that they share the same work values and fit in your company culture.
When you hire a remote employee, you must take them through your onboarding process. Hold an orientation, prepare the work environment, set their job expectations, and most importantly, introduce them to other team members. The new employee and other staff should know what everyone does and how to communicate with each other.
Usually, we tend to ignore the onboarding process thinking the employee is located somewhere else. But by defining and explaining your business beliefs to them, you can make sure that your employees are motivated to achieve your goals. It will also ensure that you don’t have to repost the job opening again after a few months.
2. Set Clear Communication Processes and Tools
For any organization, communication is the key to maintaining a smooth flow of functions in the workplace. When it comes to handling a remote team, the importance of communication can’t be exaggerated.
Employees working remotely aren’t around all the time for face-to-face communication. That’s why it’s possible that they might miss out on important announcements or information. Besides, it’s essential to keep track of what they are working on. And if there are issues, you both should be able to reach each other immediately.
For that to happen, you must fix a clear way of communication with them. You need to have tools for communicating that all your members can use. It could be anything — emails, phone, video conferencing, or instant messaging software.
Besides, working remotely demands that you have an organized interaction schedule whereby you discuss the progress and current status of their work. Communication with remote employees may seem difficult. But if all the things are properly explained and rules are laid out, it gets quite easy.
Easy collaboration between the management and the workers is essential to ensure that the team runs smoothly.
3. Provide In-Depth Training
To make sure your employees use their time wisely, you need to provide complete instructions on how to do individual projects. Otherwise, with vague information, you will find the final result is not what you expected.
By providing them with in-depth training resources, you can help your employees do everything right the first time itself. You can use screencasts to explain to your remote team precisely what you like and how it needs to be done.
Provide them with all the details before they start working on a project. And then, if you are still not satisfied with their work, you can just ask them to refer back to the guideline and rectify it.
4. Give Them Right and Timely Feedback
Those managers who are skilled in time management would know how feedback can improve employees’ performance. It can steer them in the right direction and motivate them to increase productivity.
When working in a remote team, clear and right feedback can have a significant impact on their work. Feedbacks work as one of the most effective tools to make the most of your time. When the right feedback is given, it ensures that projects are completed on time and errors are fixed immediately. Besides, the chances of repeating the same mistake in the future are eliminated.
However, giving and receiving feedback is a skill that needs developing, whether you are working on-site or remotely. Managers need to create an environment of trust where team members know that feedback is factual and nothing personal.
Giving your employees regular, specific, and timely feedback can help them understand what they are doing right. It may help them know whether they are doing well or requires improvement, how they are impacting the team, possible ways to deal with errors, and more.
5. Monitor Projects Effectively
When a staff is functioning remotely, it can get quite hard to track projects they are working on. But with the help of project management software, one can keep a tab on the progress of the work.
The software allows them to see what needs to be done. As a manager, you can see what projects are in progress and who is working on what. Using the software, you can also keep a tab on the time frame for a project. In case a member is taking too long, make them understand your project needs again. And, check if they are actually working on it or not.
However, we must organize projects in a manner that minimizes the time we may lose by dealing with possible later questions and ambiguity. To accomplish every project, whether it is done by a remote team an in-house, it needs to have a solid groundwork set up:
- Goals should be clear
- The time frame should be set
- All important documents and tools should be there
- Everyone should know what is expected of them
Using the SMART technique is the right way of making projects clearer to remote team members. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
6. Use the Time-Tracking Tool
When an employee is working remotely, it can be challenging to track the time spent on specific projects. Some employees may take advantage of the situation and commit time theft. Moreover, if the time is poorly managed, the whole project may get delayed.
The best way to rectify such a situation is by using time tracking or attendance management software. It is an efficient way to keep your remote workers on track, set clear goals, review their performance, and increase team productivity.
Employees will either log the amount of time they worked or clock in and out every day. You can compare their schedule to the time card. In fact, by using the work time application, you can determine adequate compensation for all your employees. It saves you from over-or- underpaying anyone when you have exact data of their work time expenses.
In short, time management software helps streamline the whole task and prevents any potential time management issues. Besides, the employee time tracking app gives insight into how much time they have worked productively and the amount of time they have wasted. It helps them manage their time effectively, and so it is a win-win situation.
To help you find the best time tracking tool, we have listed out the comparison amongst five top time tracking software.
|Product Name||Time Doctor||Harvest||Toggl||Timely||Hubstaff|
|Analytics and Reporting||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Building a remote team can prove to be beneficial for the company. It can save you cost, bring in the best talent, and also allows you to build a diverse culture for your company.
However, it comes with its own challenges: monitoring members’ activities, organizing a process, and keeping track of the work process. It gets much harder than at an office. It takes time to experiment and understand things.
But by following these simple tricks and guidelines, you can easily manage time for your remote staff. You will see a positive impact on you and your team.
Nilam Oswal is a Content Marketing Head and Brand Strategiest at SoftwareSuggest. When she’s not hard at work, she can be found wandering, reading, and just generally having a good time in life.