Many companies are now considering building remote teams to conform their workforce. The trend to remote jobs is so big, everyone wants to jump in and feel confident that they can handle it.
But the truth is that managing a remote team is not easy and brings along it’s own challenges.
It is obvious that a remote team can’t be handled the way classic offices used to be, since we can’t just walk to someone’s office or desk to discuss something. Now it takes a lot of flexibility, and organization in order not only to make the most of the advantages of remote teams, but also to simply make it work.
It is important to also keep in mind a detail that seems to not be mentioned enough, and it is that there is not just one formula to manage remote teams correctly, simply because there are more than one just type of remote teams.
In general we could differentiate 4 types or remote teams:
Essentially this just means the teams are in different offices, but not working from home, or simply freelancing from their own office.
This kind of “remoteness” might require some planning but it is definitely not as a big of a challenge since the people in the team are all in the room.
This type of remote teams means that most of the people are at the office, but some of the employees work remotely from either other offices or home.
Definitely this type of remote teams requires a higher level or communication to coordinate with those members of the team that are not at the office. It is important that not only we communicate fluently, but also to use the right tool and mechanisms to keep those remote employees on the loop of every step and advances on the project, so everyone is at the same level of information.
This means that everyone is working from different offices settings remotely. This translates as an extremely efficient communication mechanism and a strong leadership that communicates and keeps the team working together. It also means that we have to choose the components carefully, picking those talents that are not only great professionals in their field, but they are also autonomous enough to work on their own, and have also strong team values to know that they belong to a bigger machine and the only way to make it work is through communication and collaboration.
These are the teams that don’t necessarily have a mother ship. Regardless of how big it might be, it might have a main physical head quarters, but is almost totally supported on remote teams.
These last ones are the real remote teams, the ones that need all that new structure, tools, and psychology to make these teams works.
Many professionals consider the previous teams as different mixes or sort of experiments, while remote first teams are really the ones ground breaking types that are definitely changing the professional landscape.
These teams deal with different time schedules, languages, organizational challenges, the beginning of a new company culture that adapts to these new businesses models, and all in all a completely new way of understanding the word team.
This is when a manager has to find the right people that understand that working remotely doesn’t mean working on your own although you will be the only one in your room. They have to shape those teams to make sure they work together and that they also will be able to make decisions on their own since sometimes the rest of the team might not be available.
These remote teams have strong challenges, but they also can have a bright future.