COVID-19 has thrust managers into remote management, requiring a different set of skills than face-to-face management. And this transition happened quickly, without proper training.
As a result, some managers handled their remote teams; many struggled to communicate with their remote employees. Add to that the overwhelming challenges of remote work. So yes, some managers may find managing teams more difficult than before.
Given that the traditional office setting is no longer an option, managers are finding ways to collaborate with their teams.
In a survey by Gartner, more than 40% of managers said they have been feeling a higher level of stress and logging more hours than before the pandemic.
When the pandemic started, most managers were focused on just one thing- productivity.
Damian Scalerandi, Vice President of Operations, BairesDev was concerned about whether or not the teams were getting their work done.
However, 85% of businesses agreed that productivity has increased due to flexible work. Most organizations implemented new time-tracking tools and tasked managers with ensuring worker output stayed steady. But this approach to management is incompatible with long-term remote work.
Also Read: 5 Tips to Manage Teams Successfully
What are Managers doing to Manage Remote Work Teams?
With productivity sorted, managers are now advised to build a connection with their remote workers. This means that managers need to eliminate the system of micromanagement. Instead of being the manager, they need to be a facilitator.
“Remote managers must be less of a boss and more of a leader,” said Scalerandi. He further added that managers will have to act as guides. Employees must know that they are supported, be it for work or for personal matters.
For Scalerandi, managing teams across various continents means valuing the power of trust. He says that he has learned to trust his employees. This has fostered better team collaboration, and has changed the team dynamics. Also, the outcome of the projects have become more successful.
Dennis Meyer, a freelance TV Producer in Los Angeles, believes that too much remote work on certain days means more work for him. Many managers have echoed this sentiment, stating that delegation becomes difficult when everyone works from home.
Meyer believes that face-to-face communication is faster and more practical. He says that the moment we “pick up a phone or write a message,” we end up wasting valuable time. This is true especially when the airing of a show nears, and many changes have to be made.
As a call center manager for an education company in Arizona, Diana Garrett says that she would prefer a hybrid work model compared to an all-remote setting. Communication has become a significant challenge with the Arizona office closed and the team scattered across different states.
Her job has become more complicated and takes more time to execute with a lack of communication. What would have usually taken her 5 minutes, now takes double the time. She is therefore of the opinion that with some time in the office, managing her team will become easier.
Also Read: How a Better Team Manager Can Lead to Higher Productivity
Tracy Schumacher manages the software developers and engineers for a utility industry service provider in New York. She had worked on-site full-time before the pandemic. Though their time working remotely was primarily successful, she is currently asking her team members to pick the days of the week they want to work from the office.
Schumacher felt it was harder to onboard the new employees and develop the skills of the junior staff.
She’s optimistic that the hybrid model will provide the perfect remedy to these issues.
Finding the Positive
Though it might seem challenging for most managers, there were a few who found their time working remotely enlightening.
Rene Cortes is the sales and support team manager in a medical device maker. For him, his time working from home led to newfound discoveries. He is more productive and saves a lot of time, which he would spend otherwise commuting.
There is also lot less distraction and his work has become more effective.
However, he would still prefer personal interactions with his colleagues and customers.
Remote work might have its fair share of pros and cons. For managers, the challenges may sometimes outweigh the advantages. But with hybrid work models being presented as sustainable alternatives, the woes seem to have an end.
As a manager working with a remote team, visibility on their team’s performance and the quality of their outputs should matter the most. The last year has already established that productivity is not a hindrance to remote work. With hybrid work models coming to the forefront and organizations accepting remote work as it is, the future for managers remains full of potential.
Do you want a solution that makes team management an easy task? Then WorkInSync is what you need. This hybrid workplace solution is a must-have with features that promote team collaboration.
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