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Top Work from Home Challenges and Advice for Recruitment Process

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Managing virtual teams is never easy.
Whether it’s missed deadlines, communication gaps, or lack of ownership, multiple things can go wrong when you’re dealing with remote workers. Then there are technical issues that crop up from time to time. Adding to this is the time zone differences that might create problems if you’re managing international teams. Despite these disruptions, around 8 million employees around the world are currently working at home (full-time or part-time). The survey also records a significant spike in the frequency of work-at-home options, which have increased by 173% since 2005. Plus, recent statistics show that at least 35% of professionals in the US are involved in freelancing or contract-based projects. These numbers indicate that more and more corporations are shifting towards the remote team. Due to this, it becomes crucial for recruiters and project managers to address the pain points of virtual team management. To help you out, we’ve rounded up the primary challenges organizations face when they’re dealing with remote workers. We also cover work from recruitment strategies that might maximize productivity and efficiency within these teams.
Let’s have a look:

3 Types of Work from Home Team Management Challenges

Remote teams are rapidly becoming a standard in the era of digitization. 40% of businesses are already offering flexible working arrangements for their employees. There are various reasons for this change. This includes cost-effectiveness and a chance to collaborate with high-performing employees regardless of their locations. With that said, remote teams do add obstacles in the manager’s way. Most of which are associated with communication gaps, lack of collaboration, and problems with productivity.
Let’s take a closer look at work-at-home challenges that inhibit growth:

1. Communication Lapse

Communication gaps are a prevalent problem in dispersed teams. Most team leaders have a hard time getting in touch with employees when they are working from home. Then there are times when managers get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of notifications and messages on their screen. This makes streamlining operations difficult for leaders who can’t contact their team in real-time. Additionally, a survey shows that 68% of respondents felt disconnected from the team due to cultural barriers. The gap increases when we add differences in time zone into the mix.
How can you resolve this?
A good way to prevent conflicts due to cultural differences is by setting ‘team customs’. The ground rules would make it easier for team leaders to understand how to manage diverse teams without pitfalls. Leaders can also seek guidance from the SPLIT framework to decrease communication gaps. The model focuses on the structural, operational, language, identity, and technological aspects of the team. Managers can look into these variables to identify the areas of concern within their team dynamic.
Other strategies for effective team communication include:
  • 49% of millennials engage better by using social tools for team collaborations. You can use this to your advantage by communicating with them through new communication channels rather than taking the traditional email route.
  • You can also select a primary communication channel to ensure all your messages are stored on a single platform. This makes it easier to sift through the previous messages when you’re discussing an ongoing project.
  • Schedule weekly or bi-monthly meetings for the whole team. The regular updates will allow you to keep tabs on the progress and brainstorm ideas to combat issues.
  • Set realistic goals and KPI metrics for the project. This might motivate the team to use its collaborative efforts to meet the target.
In the end, remote team management is only possible if the managers take time to open lines of communication. Without constant correspondence and updates, you will fail to mitigate conflicts that arise due to miscommunication and misinterpretation.

2. Dilemmas in Delegation and Technical Issues

Managing virtual teams brings in several obstacles during delegation and project planning. Without video conferencing and calls, you don’t always know whether the team workers are enthusiastic about a project or not. You also get lesser time to discuss things with them before they begin. The difficulties increase when you’re administrating a diverse team. In cases like these, you have to consider time zone differences and cultural cues when you’re assigning a task. For instance, you can’t schedule an impromptu meeting based on PST if your NY-based employee has already wrapped up work on a Friday evening. This could create an avoidable conflict within the team.
How to solve this problem?
Managers should also keep track of the project’s progress by using project management software. You can also attach a query with the assignments to ensure that the employee chats with you before beginning the project. If the individual works in another country, then video calls can be scheduled at a specific time. With that said, 58% of managers believe that they weren’t properly equipped to tackle virtual team management. That’s because they didn’t have the tools and resources required to resolve technological hiccups. So whether its power outages, server breakdown, or slow internet speed, they had to stop work until things went back to normal. These technicalities make it impossible to attain a steady workflow. Plus, remote workers are impossible to reach in these situations, so the problems escalate. Companies that face this issue should develop a backup plan. These could include using multiple communication channels and apps to stay connected during an emergency. Also, make sure that the team members have each other’s phone numbers in case the remote team is facing internet issues. Additionally, the team should make it a habit to store everything on the company’s cloud to minimize data loss and risks. That way, remote workers and managers would know what they’re supposed to do during these situations.

3. Lack of Productivity and Efficiency

Even if you learn how to delegate and collaborate better, there is still a level of uncertainty with remote teams. That’s because managers can’t see them working in real-time. So they can’t be sure if a certain employee is putting in the appropriate hours or not. Then there are the star performers that might burn out too quickly due to the lack of check and balance in the remote office structure.
You can improve productivity and efficiency by:
  • Cultivating a sense of accountability and encouraging ownership within the team. This can be done by measuring their performances and offering incentives. Many employees (69%) feel that the boost of encouragement from supervisors gets them more invested in their work.
  • 60% of employees want to receive performance feedback on a regular basis. The monthly or quarterly reports make it easier to chart their personal growth and identify strengths and weaknesses. You can use this information to create strategies that improve their performance.
  • Set SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-oriented) that are achievable. For instance, don’t expect your team to outperform competitors when you have given them zero time for preparation or collaboration.
Taking these initiatives can have a significant impact on remote team productivity and performance. It also indicates that you do acknowledge the employee’s efforts even if they are working from home.

Managing Virtual Teams without a Hitch

In the end, hybrid and remote teams are having become a vital part of the corporate world. Managers and recruiters have to work together to mitigate challenges that crop up with remote teams. This can be done by adopting social tools, monitoring employee performance, and improving the work from home recruitment process. With the right resources, you can build a productive remote team without any trouble.
Are you planning to recruit more employees for your remote team?
Join Wavely to be part of an engaging job board. Finding everyone on the same portal could simplify your hiring process. You can use it to scan profiles, connect with candidates, and activate a new recruitment cycle. We also have an interactive chat feature that allows you to have real-time conversations with the desirable candidates.
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