Are you new to remote work? Wary about improving your team’s productivity from afar?
Good news! You can learn how to effectively lead a remote team. Building a successful remote working team is possible. There are even numerous case studies to prove it.
But what should you focus on and avoid in your management style? Here are 6 red flags to avoid as a remote leader and what to do about them.
Micromanaging Your Team
With too many possible distractions at home, remote leaders doubt their employees’ productivity. Some resort to micromanaging their team members. If the cat is away, the mouse will play, right?
Wrong. It’s the biggest red flag.
First of all, you work as a team.
It’s not to say that you let them do what they want. But you should trust them enough to give them the autonomy to do their work as they see fit.
Does it matter how they do it? To some extent, yes. But at the end of the day, what matters is their output.
Are they sending in high-quality deliverables? Are they giving you the results you want? If the answer is yes, ditch the stress and paranoia as a micromanager, and focus on coaching them to their full potential.
Expecting Instant Replies
Are your employees immediately answering your messages? Sometimes, they can’t. But this doesn’t mean they are unproductive.
As a remote leader, you should not expect instant replies from your employees. They have jobs to do. And that doesn’t involve monitoring the messaging app all day to be at your beck and call.
Imagine that you’re writing an article. Suddenly, your boss messages you, expecting an instant reply. You’ll probably respond, but it can take a toll on your productivity.
According to a study, you can lose as much as 40% of productivity when switching tasks. This is due to the cognitive switching penalty. It takes time before our brain adjusts to another task.
Instead of demanding instant replies, give them a reasonable time to respond. It will depend on their roles. 5-10 minutes is reasonable for some. While for creatives, it might be a different story.
It takes trial and error. But learn as you go and apply which one works best for your team.
Not Utilising Tools for Communication
Depending on your business structure, remote work actually works when you have the right tools and programs.
How many remote workers do you have? Is it a hybrid setup? Are they in the same time zone? Will they work closely with your onsite workers?
It’s a management red flag if you are not open to using tools for your team.
It’s technically your virtual office. You must invest in it.
Try incorporating task boards, scheduling tools, and shared documents for your team. Asynchronous communication is highly recommended as well for distributed teams. This way, you can communicate and collaborate efficiently, regardless of your time zone.
Isolating Remote Employees from Onsite Employees
Some companies will handle both onsite and remote workers at the same time. After all, adopting a hybrid work setup has multiple benefits.
But some managers tend to prioritise on-site employees over remote ones.
Meetings are always set at the convenience of the on-site workers. They don’t have inclusive social events and benefits for remote workers, and so on.
You should strike a balance when managing both teams.
Make your policies equitable. Set schedules and meetings that are beneficial for both. And maybe organise get-togethers once in a while.
With this, your remote workers and onsite employees will get to collaborate better for the company’s goals.
Making Yourself Too Accessible
Your team needs all the help they can get from you. And as a manager, you should provide support and direction.
But you have only a finite amount of time and energy, so don’t make yourself too accessible to your team.
Are they asking simple questions over and over again? Avoid spoon-feeding them all the answers and let your employees think for themselves.
But you should not ignore them entirely as well. There are valid concerns that need your immediate attention, and when they come up, attend to them as soon as possible.
For things like approvals, brainstorming sessions, performance appraisals, and coaching, it helps to set a schedule for these consultations.
For example, you can block your Tuesdays for all these inquiries. It can be scheduled or just a catch-up meeting if your employees are available as well.
Another idea is setting up a Calendly to show which available schedules you have. Your employees can easily set up a meeting based on your availability. And you can spend most of your time on critical tasks for your business.
No Room for Flexibility
There’s no perfect remote worker. Your remote workers will make mistakes. And some situations may be beyond their control.
A red flag is not being flexible enough when these things happen.
For example, you may have a remote worker who lives in an area suddenly hit by a typhoon. S/he might not be able to work for some time. What will you do?
Maybe there’s a sudden power outage in their area. Will you be flexible enough to allow them to find a solution for productivity?
As a manager, you should be flexible enough to cut your team some slack in the event of an emergency. In the example above, depending on the role, you can allow employees offline work in the meantime.
Most rockstar remote workers will find a way to deliver. But a little consideration helps build a long-lasting relationship with your employees, and helps you retain the best ones better.
Ready to build a thriving remote working team? You can learn to be a great manager by spotting – and avoiding- these red flags. And when you do, improve your management skills by following the tips above.
If you’re looking for remote workers, you can view our candidates for the best-equipped Filipino talent for your business needs.
Call us or schedule a callback for more information. Cheers to growing your business!