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From the Boardroom to Zoom - Managing Teams Remotely

Over the last 12 weeks, you've heard it all; wear a mask, sanitize your hands, and practice social distancing at all times. Duh, life is pretty unreal right now. On top of that, we are expected to keep to companies afloat in the virtual boardrooms of Zoom with half our staff trying to adapt to video chats by keeping cats out of view or preventing children from disrupting important discussions.

Transitioning from a brick and mortar office to a virtual working space is no walk in the park. Not for you as a manager, or for your employees either. The individual tasked with managing a remote team is plagued by a multitude of challenges, upsetting the managerial box-cart and disrupting leadership conduct. However, there is an array of benefits to transitioning into a remote working reality manifesting in improvements all around.

The Benefits of Remote Teams

Improved focus

This one goes without saying. Statistics have proven over and over that remote employees may achieve significantly higher levels of concentration without the disruption of chatty colleagues, continuous movement of people or distracting background noise. Up to 91% of employees operating in a remote or work-from-home set up agreed that they accomplish far more in the virtual realm than at the office.

Improved Communication

Surprised by this one? In a nutshell: if you cannot read body language, interpret tone of voice and gestures in a natural face to face environment (remember Zoom is not a natural space), your communication skills need to be above par. Remote staff rely of a variety of applications and tools to work across various teams and time zones. Therefore they tend to develop broader and more effective communication skills much faster than their brick and mortar colleagues. Most remote teams will utilize video chats or voice conferences for important meetings or urgent discussions, but the bulk of communication takes place via collaborative messaging apps such as Slack or Skype which forces them to focus on the essence of their messages, cutting out all the other noise and niceties for that matter.

Improved Time Management

No productive time lost to commuting, for one. Remote employees may actually clock up additional hours per week, for one thing. People who work remotely actually put an average of four more hours per week than their office bound compatriots. When they do connect with colleagues on video meetings or chat app, they make the best possible use of that time resulting in better planned and outcome based web meetings. Should your team be dispersed across multiple time zones, your company is actually gaining extended operating hours for free which may enhance client service excellence.

Improved Staff Retention

Engage with any remote working and nine out of ten times they will affirm not taking this freedom (perk) for granted. Their appreciation manifests in increased employee satisfaction levels, which in turn boosts your staff retention rate. Remoter worked turn over is significantly lower than office based employees. Company culture becomes more diverse when remote team working facilities are implemented, which aids in creativity and innovation to a great extent. Offering higher pay rates, because you do not have a lease payment hanging over your head each month is an added benefit of having remote teams. Although money is not the only issue of improving staff retention, it certainly adds to employee satisfaction levels and a high morale.

Improved Cost Per Employee

Less overheads because you are exempt from a monthly lease payment, utility costs and coffee expenses :-) Indirectly, your organization would be contribution to a reduction in its total carbon footprint because employees are not travelling to work or using electricity, water and AC's at the office.Commercial real estate rates, mortgages and utility bills are astronomical and if you can transition your entire team to remote working, none of those expenses would be incurred. You may also grow your brand without the hassles of relocating to move to larger premises or different locations.

Improved Pivoting Ability

Businesses with a remote workforce are able to pivot faster in terms of hiring and talent management. If you want to hire a top notch candidates you need to be located ''in the areas that they congregate.'' With a remote set-up you have the freedom to hire the best, not merely the best in your area of location. No cross-country relocation costs or talent shortages due to being confined to a specific reason. In short, you may interview today, hire tomorrow and have the candidate onboard the very next day. Building leaner more productive teams with lower overheads, results in bigger profit margins (to keep the shareholders happy).

The benefits of incorporating remote working into your company's future strategic directions are undeniable. However, it is not a venture to embark on without coming to terms with the challenges of managing staff virtually. In our next blog we will be unpacking those challenges and concerns that you need to be aware of before ditching brick and mortar and crossing over to virtual working portals.

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