In the wake of the digital age, remote/hybrid work has become more than just a trend; it’s a fundamental transformation in the way we work.
This shift presents new opportunities and challenges for organisations, leaders and their HR functions.
Managing remote teams requires a unique set of skills and strategies, and leaders play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of remote work arrangements.
Challenges Faced by Remote Teams
Communication & collaboration
Remote teams often grapple with communication and collaboration issues. Without the physical presence of co-workers, team members may find it challenging to maintain effective and efficient communication channels. Miscommunication can lead to confusion and missed opportunities. The team at People Efficient is currently undertaking user research as to what is at the top of the challenges that is driving companies to make the mistake of wanting people back in the office full time.
Ensuring that remote team members stay productive can be a concern for many organisations. Distractions at home, a lack of accountability, or difficulties in tracking progression can hinder team performance (or perceived team performance!).
Employee engagement & wellbeing
Remote work can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnect from the company culture. Leaders and HR need to address the challenge of keeping remote employees engaged and ensuring their well-being is prioritised. This leads to a productive, motivated and engaged workforce. How work gets done, is the secret key to this, rather than focusing on initiatives to treat poor well-being. People Efficient is all about developing leaders of remote teams to achieve this.
Remote work technology
Remote work relies heavily on technology, and technical issues can disrupt workflow. Leaders need to ensure that employees have the necessary tools, training, and support to navigate these challenges effectively.
Solutions for Managing Remote Teams
Results oriented management
Instead of micromanaging remote employees, leaders should be upskilled to have an outcomes focus and create an environment of trust, autonomy and accountability. Doing this remotely is a skill that needs to be developed – which is why People Efficient are creating digital and live tools to support leaders of remote teams. Get in touch to find out more about this exciting project!
💡 Two thirds of employees claim they are more productive when working at home.
Effective communication & collaboration tools
Leaders can ensure remote teams have access to robust collaboration tools like Miro, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Asana or Monday.com. Team Training on effective use of these tools can also help bridge communication gaps, and ensure support is given to all – including introverts, those with neurodiversity and those that are new to the business or have just left education.
Communication should be purposeful and non-intrusive. This requires giving consideration to how communication will be delivered e.g. day-to-day updates, business performance, celebrations, strategy, behaviours etc. This should be treated as a ‘once and done’ like an email going out. Instead there should be an agreement as to types of communication being delivered in multiple ways – including in informal conversations. At People Efficient, we use multiple methods of communication to ensure the highest reach and understanding.
Employee Experience – treat them like adults
To build an environment of trust, all employees should be assumed to be doing their best. There should be a framework that give leaders a structure to provide a rhythm and regular touch points with their team e.g.
- Establish a cycle period i.e. 2 weeks, 3 weeks (no more than a month)
- Get the team involved in planning and prioritising for the period.
- Set up a Kanban board to easily track and measure progress and get the team to be accountable for keeping each other updated
- Have daily short team check-ins (no more than 15 mins) to get the team to declare wins and stuck points. The leaders role is to celebrate, motivate and support with stuck points.
- Reflect at the end of each cycle period. What worked? How was the communication? What isn’t working?
Save 121’s for in-depth support or wellbeing sessions.
Tech support & training
Leaders should ensure that employees not only have access to the necessary technology but also establish automated systems for resolving common technical issues. Automation not only streamlines technical support but also frees up resources to focus on more complex challenges and meaningful interactions.
This approach not only promotes efficient remote work but also allows leaders to focus on more strategic initiatives, such as fostering a sense of belonging and connectedness among remote team members through personalised support and engagement activities.
Agile HR & Remote Teams
Agile HR is a modern approach. It focuses on putting people first, collaboration and adaptability.
Agile HR is all about putting people first. When we think of our employees as customers, we want to deliver value to them in a way that makes them happy and helps them succeed. This means designing HR practices that are tailored to the needs of our people and getting their feedback on how we can improve. Remote working is one of these conundrums that needs to be solved we can start with experimenting with frameworks that achieve what the business needs, whilst also being mindful of what the employees want.
Agile HR is also about delivering value to our employees incrementally. This means making small, gradual changes that we can test and learn from. This is in contrast to the traditional approach of making big, upfront changes that may not be what employees need or want. So, bringing everyone back to the office with an expectation that they will all start collaborating, is not going to fix the problem.
Moving beyond the tools
Agile HR is more than just using Agile tools and practices. It’s about having a mindset of continuous improvement and being willing to experiment. We need to be open to new ideas and be willing to change our approach based on feedback from employees.
Ways of working
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to Agile HR. The best way to implement Agile is to find a flavour that works for your organisation’s culture, industry, and team size.
There are many different Agile frameworks available, such as Scrum, Kanban, and Lean – by using the right framework for your business you can support your leaders to give the autonomy employees crave, whilst also driving a culture of accountability.
Implementing a remote working model requires time, planning, review, training and investment – but it pays off.
But you should bear in mind that you are redesigning one of the most basic levels of the company: how we work.
Agile HR frameworks and mindsets are well-suited for handling uncertainties and changes, which are common in remote work environments. Teams can quickly adapt to new tools, processes, or market conditions, ensuring they remain effective and responsive.
With People Efficient’s new Agile in HR™ courses and Building Exceptional Remote Teams courses you will perfect your ability to manage and lead, so that you can help your organisation adapt to a remote working structure which takes into account both the uniqueness of each employee, and the health of the business.
If you want to become a Founding Member to test the new courses and get incredible discounts – you can sign up here.