Remote teams are being praised for their value addition to a business. However, managing such a team is not without its challenges. To set expectations, let’s explore some of the downsides associated with remote teams.
Good Office Employees Might Be Bad Remote Workers
Working from home might be attractive, but it’s not easy. Employees have to contend with numerous distractions when working from home. There are also employees who may be good at their work but have trouble being as effective in less collaborative environments. Being productive in a remote environment is a challenge. In some cases, employees have trouble developing the skills and mindset necessary for success in this self-starter environment.
The pool of prospective employees is huge; they may be fresh grads or specialists with highly technical skills who can handle just about anything you throw at them. While these prospects maybe highly skilled in technical areas, other characteristics such as attitude problems, a lack of motivation, poor personal discipline may end up becoming a source of frustration for you.
The Challenge of Different Time zones
It can be more difficult to maintain productivity when your team is working around the globe. Since everyone is in a different time zone, it will be difficult for a geographically dispersed team working together to collaborate and communicate if you don’t have clear ground rules. Hence, working in different time zones can become a major dilemma in these situations.
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In contrast, with an in-house team, you have the luxury of knocking on a team member’s door or stopping by their desk if urgent responses are needed.
Company Culture and Team Dynamics May Suffer
Working remotely means you’ll be spending at least eight hours behind a computer while your team members do exactly the same thing. Sure, you can socialize remotely by sending messages during breaks. Also sending emoji reactions when a task is accomplished, or even cracking jokes during a video session can help.
Another concern is to do with how certain personalities, jokes, communication styles and expectations may be perceived from country to country. As such, it’s important for remote teams to acknowledge these cultural differences and value systems while reinforcing the need for constructive feedback from all team members. Therefore, any dent in the lack of community among team members is a significant blow to the eventual success of a company.
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However, it’s much easier to build a company culture if everyone is in a physical office with face-to-face access to each other. When your team is local, everybody gets to know each other, some become friends, and communicating and displaying the company’s goals and values becomes easier. All this is much harder to achieve with a remote team. It takes longer and requires more effort due to the higher turnover of team members.
Accountability Can Be Difficult
Due to the nature of remote teams, and the impact it has on the team mindset, holding such employees accountable for their performance may be difficult. Naturally, managers will operate under the fear of losing employees over time. Whereas employees or contractors may not view remote work as permanent employment. Communicating and requiring a certain amount of work from responsible remote workers is easy, but that’s not necessarily the case for everyone.
Consider how easy it is for a remote worker to simply ignore your emails or disappear completely. Therefore, it’s important to make each person feel like a valued team member. Let them know the broader risks and consequences associated with failure to deliver assignments. Hold them accountable. Additionally, ensure you have good processes and documentation to expedite the on-boarding of a replacement should the need arise.
Distractions are Greater
Depending on each remote worker’s circumstances, a host of new distractions become present. Others may struggle with the freedom to manage their own time resulting in lack of productivity or focus. Distractions can include household chores, surfing the web, or just playing games.
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One benefit of a workplace is the work mindset it naturally generates. Separating work and personal life is difficult in today’s always-connected world. However, working from home brings more distractions to surface. One can easily find different things to do that are not work related. It’s a constant struggle to stay focused and certainly requires discipline.
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