Why is it difficult to manage teams working remotely?

Two months ago remote working was more of a flimsy imagination of a future of work practice but now working from home has become the new norm. Not knowing that the pandemic was going to force organizations into adopting this practice sooner than we had known. What is unfortunate however, is that the working from home concept was not planned for hence organizations were not prepared. Most organizations did not get enough time to equip their staff with the digital literacy skills that they needed to thrive at such a time nor were they able to capacitate their managers on how to manage their teams remotely.

As a result of the lockdown, teams have become disintegrated and targets are becoming more difficult to reach. For now the hope lies in picking up from where we left off before the enforcement of the 21-day lockdown. But care to think of what will happen if there is an extension on the lockdown period? There is so much uncertainty hence business leaders need to navigate in this situation.

For teams to effectively attain their goals as they work from home two basic things have to be noted:

  1. Clarification of employees roles and responsibilities
  2. Provision of tools that each employee needs to thrive as they work remotely

The starting point for business leaders is to make sure that staff understand their defined roles and responsibilities as demanded by their jobs. Once one knows that their role demands client engagement they really do not need to be confined to the 4 walls of their office to be able to do that. They need to go beyond routine and be flexible! They simply can send an email, pick up the phone or run a meeting on Zoom, Go to Meeting, Skype etc. from any-where they are. If one’s role demands that they deliver training or keynotes they can still do so online via various applications such as Blackboard. Those in management roles need to keep their teams working remotely engaged by running virtual meetings frequently the same way they would in the physical workspace. Even the admin assistant can still operate virtually and offer support to the rest of the team through tools such as Trello. Teachers can still instruct their learners via basic tools such as google classrooms etc. Its high time organizations need to invest in tools, tech and the capacitation of staff. Digital workplaces are the way to go.

While we all hope that the lockdown period comes to an end, it will certainly come to an end but guess what – remote working will stay behind with us. Remote working is now a new reality. No matter the crisis, business leaders can be rest assured that in the long-term they are going to need to know how to effectively lead remote employees.