6 ways to manage remote teams successfullyMay 23, 2023
Hybrid work, refers to the split between days worked at home and office. This model has given employees freedom to choose their work location and in some cases, the time zones with which they work.
While this change has been welcomed by many, this new way of working had brought new challenges and complexities for Leaders. This article explores this topic and brings solutions to consider when managing remote teams.
While in the late 2010’s, remote work was steadily on the rise, its growth was undoubtedly accelerated by COVID-19. The UK Parliament reported that during the pandemic, “a peak of around half of workers (49%) in Great Britain (GB) working at least one day from home in June 2020; 11% of the workforce worked at least one day from home and 38% worked from home exclusively.”
Remote Working and Well-Being
This flexibility in working allow employees the ability to take ownership over their well-being. Their time is also maximised when they don’t need to commute to an office. According to an article by King’s College in London, a study recorded that the average UK commute is 73 minutes. With the saved employee time, the study recounts “majority of people in the UK allocated their saved time to either work (38%), leisure (39%) or caregiving activities (9%) and that the private value of the saved time could equate to about 2% of after-tax earnings.”
In exchange for delivering results that would still be seen with an on-site working model, giving employees autonomy over their work location and schedule instills a sense of trust that is critical for the workplace. In turn, you will attract good talent and instil loyalty and retention. A report done by Remote.com shows that “companies that have a hybrid or flexible work model have had the lowest overall turnover rates since 2019, peaking in 2022 with a turnover rate 5% lower than those fully office based.”
While there are plenty of benefits to remote and hybrid working models, here are some considerations to keep top-of-mind when managing your team. By keeping these in mind and finding the right solutions, you can create a stellar remote team.
“Any leader who is serious about supporting their team and any organisation that is serious about supporting their workforce need to shape and support a well-being culture.” ―Richard Safeer, Author of “A Cure for the Common Company: A Well-Being Prescription for a Healthier, Happier, and More Resilient Workforce”.
1. People are still seeking connection
Assume you gave your team the option to work remotely. Chances are, most of your employees would use that option to work from home the majority of the time. As we’ve discussed, working from home allows them more free time with family, more time to work, and rest. On the other hand, take a moment to consider that one person on your team who doesn’t prefer remote work and turns up to an empty office. This is pointless for team cohesion and for this person who seeks connection outside of their home.
It’s important to make decisions on a leadership level if a hybrid working model is the best option for your team. As many companies do, you can ask your team to come into the office a few days a week. However, make sure your team is in alignment about which days are for on-site work and which are for work-from-home (WFH) so they can be in at the same time.
2. Everyone learns differently
At some point or another, we have all been the new person at work. Starting a new job requires fulfilling onboarding protocols, hours of training, and team introductions. We try to catch on as quickly as possible to start making impactful changes and driving results. Typically, a manager is able to assess how quickly a new employee is onboarding and if they are hitting any roadblocks so that additional training or 1-on-1 time can be scheduled, if necessary.
But what about with remote work? How confident are you that you would be able to assess if a team member is falling behind? It’s important to keep in mind that everyone learns differently. Creating personalised training methods for your team is extremely important and can have a huge impact on productivity. You can also ensure that all onboarding is done on-site so that new employees can immerse themselves in the company culture, ask questions, and feel empowered to hit the ground running.
3. It’s easier to become disengaged
Virtual work has opened up vast communication capabilities, authorising us to access nearly anyone in the world with an internet connection. However, studies show that flexible work does have its setbacks.
One magazine reported on a study whose findings indicated that WFH left those surveyed feeling siloed and less connected to their colleagues. Time spent collaborating also decreased by 25% compared to pre-pandemic. Lastly, communication tools such as emails and chat were used most frequently to communicate as opposed to video chats or in-person meetings.
David Holtz, a professor at Berkeley Haas and co-author of the study gave his thoughts on remote work. He stated “the fact that your colleagues’ remote work status affects your own work habits has major implications for companies that are considering hybrid or mixed-mode work policies.” For example, having one’s teammates and collaborators in the office at the same time improves communication and information flow for both those in and out of the office.
Finish reading this article on our Medium Blog here.
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