5 Challenges of Remote Teams and 5 Strategies to Overcome Them
Remote working is more popular than it has ever been, but it comes with a serious challenge to employers: how to build a good remote employee experience that is crucial to developing highly engaged and productive remote teams.
The Benefits of Positive Employee Experiences in Remote Teams
Since the pandemic forced so many people to work from home, many companies have benefited from increased productivity, engagement, and employee satisfaction. Indeed, more flexible working options and the ability to work from home have been shown to deliver key benefits to both employees and employers. These include:
Flexibility and work-life balance
Remote work allows employees to work from anywhere and at any time, which can improve work-life balance and reduce stress. This can also lead to increased job satisfaction and employee retention. In its 2020 State of Remote Work Report, Owl Labs found that 77% of workers believed working from home could make them happier in their jobs.
Increased productivity and efficiency
A study by FlexJobs found that 55% of remote workers feel more productive than when working in the office. Other studies have shown that workers with full flexibility over their schedule are 29% more productive than those without this flexibility.
Access to a larger talent pool
Remote work allows employers to hire talent from anywhere in the world, rather than being restricted to a specific geographic location. In addition to this, as many as half of workers have said they would quit if they were not allowed to work from home where it is possible to do so.
Reduced costs for employers
Remote work can help employers reduce costs associated with office space, equipment, and supplies. A Forbes article reported that savings (including those attributable to increased productivity) are almost $22,000 per remote employee.
Challenges of remote work
The benefits of remote work can only be realized when employees are happy in their jobs. It’s crucial to both employer and employee that the employee experience is a good one. However, remote work presents unique challenges that are not experienced by managers and leaders in a traditional office environment. These include:
Lack of face-to-face interaction and communication
Without regular face-to-face interaction, remote workers can feel disconnected from their colleagues and the organization.
Difficulty in creating a sense of belonging and team spirit
It can be challenging to create a sense of belonging and team spirit when everyone is working from various locations.
Potential for isolation and burnout
Remote workers may feel isolated and lonely, which can lead to burnout and reduced productivity.
Tips to build a good remote worker employee experience
To unlock the benefits of remote working, managers should focus on five critical components of the employee experience:
- Clear communication channels and expectations
- Strong company culture and shared values
- Opportunities for collaboration and socialization
- Adequate resources and support
- Recognition and feedback
Here are five strategies that all companies should embed in their company culture and working practices to improve the employee experience of remote workers:
1. Regular virtual meetings and check-ins
Holding regular virtual meetings can help to keep workers connected to each other, and provide opportunities for managers to reinforce the mission and values of the company. They provide opportunities to discuss issues and brainstorm solutions in an open forum.
Additionally, managers should ensure that they check in regularly with individual employees, providing opportunities for confidential two-way feedback.
2. Encouraging virtual team-building activities
In the traditional office setting, team building exercises happen naturally. Managers of remote teams have a greater challenge. However, there are various team building exercises that can be delivered. The trick is to be creative. We’ve heard of events such as remote quizzes, team pizza lunches, monthly virtual awards, and best practice exchange sessions that have all been used successfully to create a greater sense of belong in remote teams.
3. Providing access to necessary tools and resources
Remote employees need effective tools to do their jobs effectively. But supplying the hardware and software isn’t enough on its own. Take time to walk remote employees through how to use the tools you supply to improve personal productivity and team connectivity and collaboration.
4. Setting clear goals and performance metrics
It is especially important to provide clear expectations to remote workers who don’t have direct oversight from their managers. Goals should be determined, including timelines and how goal attainment will be measured. This will improve focus and motivation.
5. Offering flexible schedules and work arrangements
Flexibility is a key benefit for remote employees, but it is necessary to provide guidance as to what this means. You should ensure that remote employees have clear guidelines as to when they should be available, encourage open communication, and be flexible to make adjustments to deliver the work/life balance that remote employees desire.
And the Key to Building Great Remote Employee Experiences Is…
A good remote worker employee experience is crucial for organizations to take advantage of the benefits of remote working. Focusing on developing a strong company culture, setting clear goals and expectations, and providing effective tools and communication, as well as allowing employees to work flexibly is critical.
However, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to hire candidates who can demonstrate the capacity to work remotely. When we work with clients to fill remote roles, we focus on candidates who are self-motivated, proactive, and comfortable working independently. When you hire these types of candidates into your remote teams, it makes managing and motivating them a little easier – and the strategies to build more engaged and productive remote teams can be implemented more effectively.
To discuss how we can help your company build more effective remote teams, contact TECHEAD today.