Currently, 16% of companies across the globe are fully remote, and 75% of workers say that doing their jobs virtually is the “new normal.”
Do you lead a virtual team? Do you want to improve communication or enhance productivity? If so, you’ll want to ensure you’re not making mistakes that could compromise your team’s performance.
In this guide, we’ll share nine of the most common mistakes to avoid when managing your remote team. You’ll also discover tips and tricks to mitigate them moving forward.
9 common mistakes to avoid when managing your remote team
Remote team management can be complex, especially if you’re new to this virtual role. However, the sooner you discover your mistakes, the sooner you can change and help your team improve.
Here are nine mistakes you might be making:
1. Not providing casual communication spaces
Communication is a frequently cited issue among remote teams.
You might use tools like email or project management software to assign tasks or monitor progress, but what about more casual conversations? For example, do you provide a space for employees to engage in “water cooler” chat and build remote connections?
Try creating a designated group chat specifically for casual discussions. Lead by example and use it regularly so your employees know jumping in is okay.
2. Not setting clear expectations
While we’re talking about communication issues, another common mistake remote leaders make is failing to set clear expectations. It’s easy to assume that everyone is on the same page and understands what you want or need. That’s not always the case, though.
When assigning tasks or delegating responsibilities, err on the side of over-communicating. Be clear about what you want done, when you need assignments completed and why you’re asking for things to be done a specific way.
Invite your employees to ask clarifying questions and provide feedback as well. That way, you know how what changes you can make to be more precise in the future.
3. Rushing virtual meetings
During in-person meetings, it’s often easier for employees to jump in and share their thoughts or ask questions. It can be a bit more intimidating during virtual meetings, though.
If you notice that you consistently do most of the talking during virtual meetings and wrap up early, you might be rushing and failing to give your employees opportunities to speak.
Leave room at the end of the meeting for feedback and questions. You can also incorporate regular pauses into your meeting agenda so people can speak up before you move on to the next topic.
4. Scheduling meetings at inopportune times
If your employees are spread out across the globe, you must take their varying time zones into account. If you only schedule meetings at times that work for you, you could create a lot of unnecessary stress for the rest of your team.
Talk to your employees about meeting times that work best for them. Even if you can’t accommodate everyone, you can at least cater to as many as possible. Consider recording meetings for those who can’t attend live, too.
5. Inconsistent feedback
When you and your employees work in the same building, it’s easy to stop by someone’s desk or invite them into your office to give feedback on a project. When managing a virtual team, though, it’s a bit more complicated.
Remember to provide regular feedback and let your employees know how they’re doing and where they can improve. From sending a weekly email to conducting a monthly 1:1 meeting, there are many ways to check in with your employees and create a more transparent work environment.
6. Micromanaging team members
While regular check-ins and consistent feedback are essential to your employees’ success, you should avoid swinging the pendulum too far in the opposite direction.
If you check in too often and spend too much time evaluating your employees, you run the risk of becoming a micromanager. Micromanagement is frustrating for many team members and hinders their productivity. It may also cause them to feel less confident or hesitant about trying new things.
7. Neglecting employee well-being
Of course, your employees’ productivity and work performance matter. However, don’t forget to prioritize their emotional well-being as well. If your employees are struggling with high stress, anxiety, or other mental health challenges, their productivity and performance will suffer.
Encourage employees to take time to care for themselves. Let them know you’re available to talk if they need additional support, too.
8. Lack of coaching or training opportunities
During your team and 1:1 meetings, don’t forget about coaching and training. It’s not enough to talk about what your employees are doing well or what they can do better. Talk in-depth about how they can improve and set goals for them to work toward between now and their next meeting.
Offer resources to help them learn new skills, too. For example, you could provide access to online courses or sign employees up for seminars.
9. Failing to uphold company mission and values
Starting from the time you write job ads and conduct remote job interviews, you should highlight your company’s mission and values. Employees should know what your company stands for. You should also make sure you’re incorporating those values into your leadership style and helping your employees uphold them.
Say the company values growth and ongoing learning. If this is the case, you should offer your employees regular coaching and training opportunities.
Avoid common mistakes to help your virtual team thrive
It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to remote team management or have years of experience. It’s easy to get complacent and make one (or more) of the mistakes discussed above.
Remember those mistakes (and tips to avoid them) to improve your management skills, build stronger connections with your employees and boost their productivity.
Here at Outstaffer, we help companies like yours find, hire, onboard and manage top remote employees worldwide in just a few clicks. Plus, with solutions like our Managed Devices, Time and Attendance Tracking and VR workplaces, we enable your team to #WorkFromAnywhere.
Want to learn more? Book your demo today.