Remote Management's Pros and Cons (With Best Practices)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published June 26, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Remote working is increasingly common, growing the need for remote management. Remote management entails supervising other employees who operate outside the physical workplace. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of remote management can help you decide if it's beneficial in your workplace and whether to use it. In this article, we discuss the importance of understanding remote management's pros and cons, highlight the advantages and disadvantages of remote management, and discuss some best practices for remote managers.
Understanding remote management's pros and cons
Understanding remote management's pros and cons can help you when deciding if you want to implement it in your workplace. Remote management typically involves tracking the team's performance on various tasks, defining the responsibilities of team members, answering questions, and resolving any issues a team member may have when working remotely. Although this management system may offer some advantages, certain challenges and drawbacks may affect the system's efficiency. It's essential for you to create strategies and frameworks to help ensure you modify the system to fit the company's processes.
Pros of remote management
Some advantages of remote management are:
Productivity and efficiency
Remote management allows managers and team members to work from their homes or preferred locations using a flexible schedule. Although management requires you to follow up with team members constantly, with remote management, you can often choose to work whatever hours are convenient for you. This can enhance efficiency and productivity.
As you work from any location, you can create a comfortable office or find a suitable location that enhances your concentration and productivity. This arrangement may also be beneficial for team members, as working remotely may also improve their efficiency. For instance, when team members are comfortable, they typically work optimally and perform their tasks efficiently, which can make the team easier to manage.
Working with a team in-person means working with professionals who are available in your immediate environment. Managing a remote team allows you to work with various professionals irrespective of the distance or different time zones. For example, suppose you work in Alberta and find a candidate in Europe with excellent skills that fit your team. It may be unlikely for this individual to physically relocate for the job.
With remote working, you can more easily hire this candidate and make them a team member. This helps you find and hire top candidates that increase the team's overall performance and make the management process easier. Team members may also want to retain the benefits of remote working, which may motivate them to work harder and improve their output.
Working remotely helps a company save costs for the daily running of the organization. Similarly, teams with remote management are more likely to have reduced expenses for operational activities. You can use these extra funds to provide better software for team members or distribute it as bonuses. Working as a remote manager also helps you save costs in your personal life. For example, you can save the daily costs of commuting to work, and you may spend less money when you're working from home.
Employees who work at the business location generally commute to work daily. This may take them a few hours in some instances. Working remotely helps save this time and allows them to channel it into more profitable activities. For example, as a manager, you can use the extra time to study efficient management systems. You can also organize workshops to help the team improve their skills. Adopting these procedures can help improve the team's morale and motivate them to work better.
Cons of remote management
Some challenges of remote management are:
Although remote work allows you to work with various talented professionals, these professionals may operate in different time zones. It may be challenging to schedule discussions and meetings.
The distance may also contribute to slowing operational processes if the task requires more than one individual. Consider creating a list of all the time zones of your team members and making a schedule for meetings that's fair to all the parties. Schedule regular video discussions for progress reports and mediate or facilitate communication between team members.
It may be difficult to monitor the team's progress in real time with remote working if you receive individual updates. Processing individual updates may take more time and slow the operational process. You might also not be able to get the actual status of the task at times, which may result in you working with non-real-time data. Overcome this challenge by organizing regular meetings for progress reports. You can also adopt a system that ensures you get all relevant information about the project as it develops to ensure you have up-to-date information on the production process.
Generally, physical communication makes it easier for you to convey your message, instructions, and expectations properly and reduces the chances of miscommunication and misunderstanding. If the production process or development lifecycle requires constant communication and regular collaboration, remote management may cause communication gaps. For example, managing a team remotely requires you to schedule meetings and host discussion sessions whenever you want to pass information to team members. There may also be the problem of availability. For example, some team members may not be available to attend meetings every time you schedule them, which may cause delays.
Overcome this communication challenge by creating clear communication channels and encouraging employees to use them. You can also consider creating a group chat on a messaging app as an alternative to scheduling meetings to pass time-sensitive and brief information. You might also record meetings, webinars, and discussions to ensure you inform all team members, especially those who may not be available to attend these sessions.
If you work in a company that handles confidential and sensitive information, remote management may expose the organization to the risk of a security breach. Protect the organization by ensuring that sensitive information only goes to relevant parties. You may also create a contingency plan and perform regular backups to help ensure you can retrieve any important information. Using secure, reliable software and virtual private networks (VPNs) can help to secure your data.
Remote management best practices
Here are some best practices you can adopt as a remote manager that can help you build a successful career:
Choose the right tools
It's valuable to use the appropriate tools for each task. This includes tools for daily tasks, meetings, webinars, and scrums. Consider the specific requirement of each situation and discuss it with other team members to ensure you select the right instrument.
Outline all the tasks you intend to perform and match each tool to a task according to its requirements. This makes the task easier and fosters collaboration among team members. If the team adopts a new tool, it's your responsibility as the manager to ensure that you create a training session and teach each member how to use it.
Define clear tasks
Clearly defining the responsibility of each team member helps ensure that the team works well together and the operations run smoothly. Ensure that the tasks and instructions you give are clear and precise. This helps the team function within a defined structure and towards specific goals, ensuring that the project remains focused. When dividing the team members' responsibilities, ensure you explain the scope of each individual's responsibility. If necessary, consider creating documents and guidelines that team members can refer to for the project's duration.
Encourage flexible working
The major benefit of working remotely is the flexible schedule and working when you're comfortable. It's important to consider the team's comfort and availability before assigning tasks and scheduling meetings. Encouraging team members to work according to their schedule helps improve productivity and ensure they have a healthy work-life balance, which improves job satisfaction.
After creating the working schedule and assigning responsibility to each team member, check in on them regularly to discuss their progress and any difficulties they may have encountered. Consider scheduling short meetings that last for a few minutes to help ensure that all team members have relevant information. You may also reach out to team members to discuss non-work-related issues and inquire about their personal life. This helps you build a personal relationship with your team members.
It's useful to request feedback regularly to help you understand your team's challenges and experiences. Consider asking them about the effects of the guidelines and processes on their productivity and output. This helps you see the operations from the employees' perspective and make the necessary changes to create a healthy working environment.
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