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Hackernoon logoHow To Handle the Shift to Remote Work as a First Time WFH Manager by@thomas-wilfred

How To Handle the Shift to Remote Work as a First Time WFH Manager

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@thomas-wilfredThomas Wilfred

I am a Front-End mobile engineer currently working at Codersera.com having worked with many startups

Since this virus is so contagious that it spreads to other people by contact, the only way possible to curb its spread is to stay away from other people. To help you understand how dangerous this virus is, you need to have a look at Italy. Italy reported its 1st positive case on Feb 20 and till the date, it has One Hundred Four Thousand positive cases with more than Twenty Thousand deaths.

Understanding the severity of the situation, authorities have requested everyone to stay at their home and refrain from going outside. To promote this, companies have advised their employees to work from their home

Remote work (also called telework or telecommuting), has been growing in popularity over the past twenty years. Many organizations allow for flexible worksites on some level: employees work remotely for part of the week, as-needed for minor illness, or when school or childcare is unavailable. However, with a major health concern on the rise, companies of all sizes (including tech giants such as Twitter, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft) have transitioned some or all employees to remote work to keep business moving while limiting unnecessary exposure to COVID-19.

For modern tech companies like Amazon and Apple, the infrastructure and policy need for remote working are unquestionably already in place and the vast majority of staff members are probably already laptop users.

For smaller organizations, however, the situation is likely to be different. Remote working is limited to software development and marketing companies. The education sector is a good case in point: universities have been delivering distance learning as a feature for some time, while high schools and others are mainly dependent on staff and pupils being on-site to learn.

The school’s operations and administrative teams also need to be considered, as they are unlikely to be mobile workers and maybe using desktop devices rather than laptops.

It could be very difficult to manage your workers since you aren't present with your employees. To help you with this task, we have made a collection of points that would help you sail off this passage of time easily.

How to Manage a Remote Team?

When working with a remote team, the biggest problem you would face is the lack of coordination with your employees due to the difference between your location. Not only this, but working conditions for both of you are also going to be different. To prevent mismanagement, the following are some tips that would help you in managing your time.

1. Have good communication - The biggest problem ever observed in remote working is the difference in understanding. To reduce this, you should be in regular communication with your team. It not only reduces the misunderstanding in between but also gives a sense of belongingness to your employees.

2. Be Flexible - It is necessary to understand that in the current situation, your team is going through a lot of things. In such a situation, you would need to redefine the meaning of productivity. Regular work hours might not be possible for everyone. Therefore, you need to give them the freedom and flexibility to get the work done on schedule.

3. Take Advantage of Technology - As a team leader, your job is to keep connected. For better communication, tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams are better suited for collaboration and communication.

Problems when handling a remote team

Handling a remote team can be quite difficult. It has its own set of challenges. Some of the challenges faced in handling are -

  1. Scheduling Difficulties - When working with a remote team, it becomes quite challenging to schedule meetings, especially when the employees are in different time zones.
  2. Language Barriers - Dealing with a globally diverse workforce can bring many problems with it, including language and cultural divides. These differences can impact how employees interact with one another, how they prioritize project tasks, what they deem to be a success, and so on. If not resolved, these can lead to a decrease in productivity.
  3. Tracking remote employee performance - One significant challenge of managing employees remotely is ensuring that they accomplish all their job duties on time, efficiently, and up to your company’s standards.
  4. Distractions at home - When an employee is working from home, there are very high chances that he could be distracted. In the case of a sudden shift to remote work, it is possible that employees might not have a suitable workspace. Managers should remember that the distractions would be large during this unplanned transition.
  5. Building Trust - Building trust could be difficult when the employees are working remotely. Managers worry that the workers aren't completing the work, workers are worried whether they’ll be paid on time.

How to resolve the problems in handling a remote team

While handling a remote team could be very difficult, the problems that come with it could be resolved very easily with a little effort.

For problems related to scheduling difficulties,

1. Collect feedback regarding meetings via e-mail. This gives everyone the opportunity to chime in; even those who couldn’t attend while it was actually happening.

2. Use email to document big and important announcements such as process changes, company directives, and other important announcements that don’t require a meeting, but are nonetheless important.

3. Use scheduling software that allows you to schedule shifts for each team member and get alerts if they haven’t started tracking time during that window. You’ll also get email alerts if a shift is abandoned or missed altogether, ensuring that teams are working when they say they will and avoiding downtime for your business.

For problems related to the difference in language,

1. As part of a team-building exercise, allow remote employees to share insights and details about their cultures and geographic regions. This helps reduce cultural-related misunderstandings, and it strengthens bonds among team members.

2. On the note of virtual team building, be sure to invest in that. Establishing and nurturing relationships between everyone in the team is a great way to retain employees, and increase productivity and overall happiness levels.

For problems related to tracking employee performance,

1. Tell them about your expectations. Employees must know what’s expected of them at all times, including if you’re concerned about hours logged or if you’re simply interested in the end product

2. To avoid problems, it’s helpful to have a quantitative way to evaluate a remote worker’s contributions. This way, if you’re in any way unhappy with the work, you can explain exactly why. This will make it clearer for the worker, and it helps get that employee up to speed about expectations as quickly as possible.

For problems related to the distractions at home,

1. Help the workers in setting up the workspace during this time so that it doesn't affect the productivity of the company.

For problems related to building trust,

1. Be honest with your employees. Communicate with them so that they don't lose trust in you. Convey to them what your expectations are, how much work you expect from them.

Conclusion

In this time of crisis when the world has to counter the deadly Coronavirus, the lockdown has seemed to be the only solution and for the companies to keep themselves afloat, work-from-home or remote working is the solution. It may require some days to be accustomed to it but it is the only way for the companies to go right now. This Remote working can save the lives of many people by preventing them from commuting on a regular basis and reduce the risk of community spread. At the same time, it provides a better work-life balance to the employees and improves the productivity of their work. It allows us to explore a new form of working that could be a lot more comfortable for many people. We can discuss the issues challenged by remote-working but we don't have any other option right now. Hopefully, remote working would prove out to be a prominent option for working in the coming days and help in containing the virus as much as possible.







Author profile picture

@thomas-wilfredThomas Wilfred

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I am a Front-End mobile engineer currently working at Codersera.com having worked with many startups

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