Managing a remote workforce has always been a challenge. That was before the coronavirus pandemic made things even more difficult for HR Directors around the world. Travel bans, lockdowns and periods of self-isolation have made 2020 quite a nightmare.
2021 could represent the light at the end of the tunnel and a return to some kind of normality, so it’s important you’re prepared when it comes to managing remote employees. Here are some of the most common challenges you’ll face and how to overcome them.
With employees all over the world, communication is, of course, going to be your number one challenge.
There are many different methods of communication now that it’s difficult to pick the correct ones to use. Whether you prefer emails or regular Zoom calls, you need to make a choice and stick with it. The last thing you want is important work falling through the cracks because someone didn’t realize you’d made the switch to Slack.
There’s no one platform or app that’s ‘correct’. It’s up to your organization to establish a clear and effective communications strategy so everyone’s on the same page, no matter where they’re getting in touch from. Implement weekly catch up calls and a project management system so all employees collaborate and communicate successfully.
Don’t forget the age-old issue of time zones. It can seem like an obvious challenge to navigate but you’d be surprised just how many managers are woken up by oblivious employees in the middle of the night to deal with a fairly standard payroll query.
While things will certainly start to improve in 2021, it might still be some time before travel and trade look like they did pre-COVID. With employees situated across the globe, it’s important to keep track of current regulations and guidelines wherever they are.
It’s likely they’ll already have made the switch to working from home so they should have what they need to continue to work productively. If they don’t have sufficient equipment or space, then it’s up to you to make the necessary arrangements.
In addition to the logistical challenges you’ll face, keep in mind the added stress all of your employees might be feeling as a result of current circumstances. Offer regular check-ins to ensure any concerns or questions they have are dealt with.
Do you have an objective way of tracking how much work your remote employees are completing per day, week and month? It’s often hard enough to know whether a team is overworked or underutilized when working in the same space, nevermind on the other side of the world.
To remove any uncertainty, it’s important to have metrics in place so you can better understand the amount of work employees are getting through. By tracking the rise and fall of these metrics, you can adapt projects and flag problems before they have the chance to escalate.
Agree on these metrics with your employees so it feels more like a collaborative process than a dictatorial one.
Cultivating a positive company culture takes time and energy. For it to work, you need to hire the right employees and establish a safe space where healthy communication is encouraged. This is easier said than done when employees work on different continents.
Creating a culture remotely will take a much more concentrated effort than if you were working in a typical office. We’d encourage you to lead by example and follow the culture code you want others to adhere to.
If there’s one thing the pandemic has left us with, it’s the ability to still have a good time even when we’re kept apart. Quizzes, virtual games and movie watchalongs are just some ideas you can carry out with remote employees.
5. Hiring New Employees
It’s always difficult to get a true sense of a person’s personality and work ethic from just the occasional telephone conference. What’s important here is the building of trust. You need to trust your employees and they need the same from you.
There’s no quick way to achieve this but what can help is a transparent approach to communication and, in particular, hiring. Identify what you’re looking for in a new employee and make sure to speak to existing employees who are actually on the ground.
Their input will be incredibly valuable and show them that you’re willing to trust their opinion in important situations. This can help to cultivate excellent working relationships, even when you aren’t there in person.
No one can really predict what 2021 will look like in the business world. What we can be sure of is that major projects and growth opportunities will continue unabated.
That’s why we’ve put together a helpful resource that will outline the problems that major organizations often have with mergers and acquisitions.
The Common Pitfalls of Mergers and Acquisitions
Our guide considers why most mergers and acquisitions are considered failures and how you can avoid the mistakes that others have made if you’re ever in the same situation.
For your free copy of ‘Mergers And Acquisitions: The Common Pitfalls and How To Evade Them’, click the link below.