How to successfully manage remote workers

As the UK continues to wind down, with schools, transport and more businesses scheduled to close and work from home, flexible working specialists Instant Offices have investigated the industries that are likely to be prepared for complete remote working, and how businesses can overcome the typical challenges of managing a remote team.

Although three-quarters of companies worldwide have already switched to flexible working options, with 83 per cent reporting a boost in productivity, constant remote working is something that many haven't developed the infrastructure for.

For many workers, increased connectivity in personal and work lives has made the transition into remote working a relatively easy one. Faster and more reliable Wi-Fi and broadband, access to cloud systems and team collaboration tools mean 'the office' can be just about anywhere. By streamlining your work processes in this way, your team can be more professional, productive and efficient in the long run.

Regardless of times of uncertainty, having a remote-working team can help reduce the stress of members of staff who want to self-isolate, which will also reduce the chance of in-office infection. However, along with the benefits, there are some challenges to managing remote teams and the team at Instant Offices have provided the following tips to help businesses adapt:

Communication – The Internet has provided many powerful tools to assist with communication and collaboration in today's modern workplace

Keeping track of activities, goals and productivity – In remote settings, employees must know how to manage themselves and often wear different hats. It is therefore important to ensure team members are aware of the company's long-term and short-term goals.

Things business owners can do to create a positive company culture with a remote team:

Choose tools that match your culture: Because all communication and collaboration will be done using online tools, it is essential to choose apps and software that match the culture you are trying to create. If you want to create a fun, laid-back environment, choose tools that match this atmosphere. You also want to make it as easy as possible for your remote team to stay up-to-date. Be it via video conferencing tools, chat apps, or the comments section of your project management tool, you need to offer various ways to keep in touch and on top of the work.

Team building: While people are self-isolating it's still possible to be social with platforms such as Skype or Zoom for group messaging and video chats for a light-hearted catch-up to see how everyone is.

Recognition: Public recognition for a job well done is one of the most effective and most natural ways to motivate a remote team. Shout outs in a team chat, during meetings or any other way, will not only boost morale and motivation but set a standard for other team members to strive for.

John Williams, Head of Marketing at The Instant Group, said, "increased flexibility benefits businesses and employees, and top talent has already sought out organisations that encourage and support teams working from home, coworking spaces or coffee shops. There's plenty of data to back up the benefits of working remotely so work will continue even with the challenges ahead. With planning, open lines of communication and the right tech, there's no reason why companies can't run successful remote teams for short periods or even integrate more into their future approach on a permanent basis."

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