A 2017 report by Fundera showed that 2.8% of the American workforce worked from home. This number continues to grow, with a 2020 report by Business Insider showing that nearly 50% of all American workforce worked remotely, majorly because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While having remote staff comes with numerous benefits, both the employers and employees have to deal with certain challenges that are not common when everyone is working from the same office. Employers should understand that managing remote employees requires a different approach—what works for in-house staff doesn’t work for remote staff. The sad thing is that most managers lack the experience or training to manage remote staff, apart from those working with global teams.
Managing remote staff calls for one to be more deliberate and purposeful about their management practice and this will be possible by the use of employee monitoring software that is free. With that, let’s look at the top 5 troubles with remote staff, and how to deal with them.
Nurturing company culture
It requires a lot of time to cultivate a company culture. Typically, it involves nurturing healthy communication, hiring the right staff, and imparting that culture across the company. Whether you want to build a team known for its energetic and fun attitude or professional company culture, you will need a consistent and concentrated effort to instill company culture in a remote team.
At times, it doesn’t require a lot of effort from the manager to build a company culture in the office—however, this is not the case with remote staff. To build a strong company culture with your remote staff, you must understand that it begins from the top, with how you interact with the staff.
For example, if you want to build a culture of good and open communication, your remote staff must learn how to communicate with everyone, including the managers with an open door policy. Also, if you want to build a fun and energetic company culture, you can schedule virtual get-together events, movie nights, or team-building activities.
Language and culture differences
The experts from Allshore, dedicated .NET developers staffing company say that embracing remote working together brings forth globally diverse employees. However, this comes with a big challenge—cultural and language differences. Some managers ignore this challenge, but it’s important to note that these differences can influence and impact how your remote staff interacts with each other, their prioritization of tasks, and other things.
There are certain cases where remote managers favor some employees over others because they have comparable work habits. However, this can lead to resentment and reduced productivity. Besides, such favoritism can affect how remote managers hire staff from a different culture—and this limits the benefits you can reap from a diverse remote team.
Therefore, remote staff managers should understand how to handle these differences for them to reap the maximum benefits of managing a globally diverse remote staff. To deal with this issue, you can implement various team-building exercises, and encourage your remote staff to share about their culture and background. This helps to reduce any misunderstanding related to language and culture and helps to foster relationships.
Poor work-life balance
Remote working allows employees to achieve an amazing work-life balance. However, boundaries can be crossed at times, and remote staff doesn’t know when they should be working and when they should take a rest. This can lead to unhealthy work habits, and the results are loneliness burnout, and depression. This isn’t good for remote staff and can lead to serious negative health, and loss of productivity.
At the end of the day, you need your remote staff to be happy, healthy, and in good spirits. So, to achieve this, always keep a close eye on your productivity or employee tracking tool. Check whether your remote staff is working longer than they should. Also, you can schedule meetings, (daily, bi-weekly, or weekly) with your remote staff to see how they are doing and give some advice in case they have some challenges. When you notice that your staff aren’t participating in these meetings, call them to see if they are fine.
One of the greatest benefits of working with other people is the opportunity to know them better. Socializing in the workplace is known to motivate and boost the morale of employees, thus increasing productivity in the long run. However, this is not possible when working remotely—remote workers can feel lonely and neglected and lonely, and this can lead to reduced productivity.
To deal with this issue, remote managers always plan annual get-together events with their remote staff. This should allow them to meet and interact with other staff in real life. Also, if the remote workers live within proximity, they can plan to meet and work from shared working space.
Lack of sense of belonging
Statistics show that 71% of employers believe that employee engagement is a key determinant of company success. However, it’s a big challenge to achieve this when managing remote workers. The greatest challenge with remote workers is that they are likely to develop an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude, and this can reduce their engagement levels. This, in turn, can cost your business time and money.
Besides, it’s very easy for remote workers to get disconnected from the vision of your company, in addition to other teams because they are not interacting often. To deal with this issue, managers should create time for small talks at the start and end of every virtual meeting for employees to catch up and bond. Also, remote managers can introduce a tradition, where remote teams can participate and have fun whenever possible. These activities can go a long way towards nurturing company culture and solidifying relationships.