Virtualizing your company operations is certainly no small feat. In our previous write-up we discussed the benefits of managing remote teams.
But hold onto your horses, as this process will take time and a good dose of adaptation from managers and employees alike. Do not cancel that office lease yet....bear in mind that the past 4 months has been a unique situation where one had to adapt due to unprecedented circumstances....aka there was no choice other than taking the team virtual.
With economies opening up and lock down levels relaxed, you may be toying with the idea of keeping the current status quo regarding business operations. Everyone seems to be performing and producing, you may even have had a few virtual cocktail hours too.
Soon however, the novelty of working remotely will start to wear off and employees may reignite their desires for face to face contact, the company coffee bar and dressing up for work.
Here are some of the challenges to consider before taking your current remote team, virtual on amore permanent basis.
Less, becoming less
Reports show that in some instances a gradual decline in performance and productivity output are detected in new remote workers usually after the novelty wears off in 3-5 months.
More becoming less On the other end of the continuum there is a group of highly driven employees who views working remotely as the perfect opportunity to put in excessive hours, which leads to burn-out and a very sharp decline in performance following months of non sustainable output levels reaching way above targets and kpi's.
Some people need people
Another thorn in the virtual side of remote working is employee loneliness and isolation which leads to apathy and disengagement. A large percentage of staff actually need to feel connected and in tune with their co-workers.
Bridging the generation gap
Be as it may, Millennials are pretty much born with smart devices as extensions to their arms - swipe, click, stream, chat are actions that come natural to them. The digital adopters in your workforce (Gen-X, Boomers) however, may have ''tolerated'' the last few months of virtual new normal, but not without annoyance, irritation or even embarrassment due to finding themselves in unfamiliar remote working territory.
Losing your culture
Some workers may experience a noticeable dip in energy and motivation levels which will slowly but surely trickle down to team culture, engagement and ultimately performance. Without office breakfasts, innovative team building sessions and after-work get-togethers managers of remote teams have their work cut out for them to fill those motivational voids with suitable alternatives to maintain or build a unified company culture from a remote perspective.
The first reaction to being tasked with the responsibility of managing a remote team is often one of two scenarios: complete micro-management or total laissez-faire. In our next blog we will explore that balance between Micro-Management vs Employee Autonomy (a double edged sword).