Remote work comes with many challenges that may bar any project manager from meeting their targets.
Here are the five biggest challenges that most managers encounter when working with a distributed team and the solutions to manage them with ease.
1- Effective Project Management
When you have your team scattered in different locations, it is not easy to coordinate and manage your project and achieve the results you want.
As a manager, you want to ensure that your workers meet the set deadlines on all tasks. Failing to meet deadlines can often result in low revenue because customers always want their projects accomplished on time.
When your team is located in different places, it is not easy to communicate with them and keep track of their work progress and productivity. This is why many business owners are in search of the best project management solutions out there, to help them manage their team remotely and achieve positive results.
Using a suitable project management solution will enable you to plan and manage all aspects of the project management process, as well as balance the staff workload and ensure that the work is completed on time.
2- Better Team Management
Just because you are working remotely does not mean you should only communicate via chat. Face-to-face meetings are necessary for your team members and you to see each other. Video calling is the best way to communicate with your team. Face-to-face meetings lets you easily convey feedback to your team.
For better team management, it is also necessary to have realistic expectations for the work. You should properly communicate the scope of the work and deliverables beforehand to easily track the progress. A great way to manage projects is by preparing OKR sheets. Setting measurable goals and keeping everyone on your team responsible for their designated task will help to improve the productivity of your team.
3- Distractions While Working
Distraction is the number one reason most workers cannot deliver when working from home. Your family and friends will always be around to keep you company, and sometimes excusing yourself from them is not easy.
Your phone, TV, tablet, and music player can also distract you from concentrating on your work. Without anyone around to remind you of what you should do, you will end up wasting much time which otherwise you should dedicate to work.
Here are some tips to help you avoid distraction when working remotely from home:
- Come up with working hours during the day. You should let your family and friends understand that you are at work and don’t want any disturbance.
- Refrain from watching TV, scrolling social media, listening to loud music, and chatting with friends.
- Set a home office somewhere where you can work indoors with minimal disturbance.
- Ensure you have all the items like pens, notebook, laptop, and other useful resources for your work closer to minimize movement.
- Set a work deadline for yourself and for your team. This way, you can push your employees to deliver within a specific timeline and thereby boost productivity.
- Use distraction blocking apps to restrict your team from accessing social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter during office hours.
4- Maintaining Trust And Accountability
Building trust across a distributed team is a challenge that most project managers face. Since everyone in your team is working in a different location and cannot see what they are doing physically, it is not easy to trust them. You have to rely on what each individual is saying, making it difficult to build trust.
There are several tools to deal with trust issues in a distributed team. For example, you can use tools like Status Hero and PukkaTeam to see the faces of your team throughout the day. You also get team-wide check-ins, goals, and activities to keep your team informed and on their toes during working hours.
Here are some excellent tips for building trust with your team when working remotely:
- Educate your team on the importance of transparency at work.
- Use the right collaboration tools that can encourage your team to be transparent when working remotely.
- Have a common goal that motivates your team to work as one. When you create a goal, everyone in your team will always work as a family.
- Do not micromanage your team because this can reduce productivity overtime.
- Ensure you remain responsive and reliable to your team. It is vital to inform your team that you are readily available to listen and respond to their issues. This way, you build trust and make people believe in you.
5- Better Time Management
Time is crucial when your project has a specific timeline to deliver results. In most cases, when working from home, you can save much time you otherwise use for commuting to work every day. However, because you have plenty of time to work, you tend to waste a lot of it.
When working from home, you should always ensure to keep your eyes on the clock. Create a timetable or daily routine for house chores and work. When creating your timetable, you should consider all activities such as making dinner, cleaning, and preparing your workstation.
You can improve your time management when working remotely by:
- Using time management tools like Time Champ, Wunderlist, and Harvest. With these tools, you can easily set reminders for work deadlines, schedule events, and make lists for your team.
- Create the to-do-list assigning different tasks that you intend to accomplish during the day. Your to-do-list should be flexible to give you some time to rest.
- Wake up early and finish your home chores on time.
- Set work hours and strict deadlines for each task at hand.
You can face several issues when working remotely. As a project manager, you can use collaborative and time management tools to ensure your team delivers your project within time. Train your workers on effective communication and set a common goal to motivate your team. You should also avail of all the resources that your distributed team will need to maximize productivity.
Joydeep Bhattacharya is a digital marketing evangelist and author of SEO Sandwitch Blog . He is a regular contributor on publications like Wired, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Hubspot and several other sites.