6 remote work challenges and how to overcome them

Remote Work & Culture

Whether you’ve been running a remote team for one year or five, the challenges are likely the same. New people join, bringing in their ow...

Alexandra Cote
January 8, 2021

Whether you’ve been running a remote team for one year or five, the challenges are likely the same. New people join, bringing in their own requirements to your communication plan that’s likely to have suffered loads of changes already.

By now, you probably know the very basics of handling remote work issues such as not having tech work properly or facing at-home distractions.

So we’ve prepared a list of tips that will help you overcome any remote work challenges, no matter how hidden.

Our promise? To help you lift the veil sensitive topics that might be decreasing team productivity and happiness.

Let’s fix these challenges of working remotely!

Communicating without disturbing productivity

Avoid meeting fatigue by only calling up meetings that are absolutely necessary and involve the right people. Remote employees are at risk of seeing their schedule filled with endless meetings, leaving little to no room for their actual work.

Your regular stand-up meetings, for instance, can be replaced with a Slack channel for keeping the team and its managers updated. In fact, you’ll want to stick to a single communication tool where team members can talk and share files so messaging isn’t fragmented.

As an extra tip that will do wonders for such remote team management challenges, help every individual on your team discover their work style as well as when their most productive work time frames are. Not only does this let them take care of tasks at their own pace, but they can also call up a meeting on their own outside of “productive hours."

Ensuring law compliance and payroll for international hires

Keeping track of legal changes and local laws from every employee’s country can be a hassle. But this should never keep you from accessing the best talent that’s available out there.

A service like Panther takes care of the hiring, benefits, and payroll in a matter of minutes so you can focus on your business, prospects, clients, and, above all, on keeping your team happy.

Keeping your employees engaged

First, how can you tell if your team is disengaged?

There are hundreds of potential signs but the most common issues are:

  • Missing deadlines regularly
  • Not communicating with their team as often
  • Refusing to talk during meetings
  • Making unfounded excuses when it comes to participating in team-building activities
  • Delivering work that’s of lower quality than before

Now on to how to keep these individuals engaged in a remote work setting:

  • Offer a list of clear goals, requirements, and tasks they need to complete
  • Make it a rule for all team members to participate in your daily stand-up meetings or fun Slack channels to keep them in the loop
  • Prepare remote team-building activities within regular work hours like a board game day or virtual scavenger hunt
  • Use anonymous employee engagement surveys to pick up on their complaints and fix threats in a timely manner

Leveraging the Hawthorne effect without being intrusive

Another remote work challenge closely tied to designing is employees lacking the motivation to work or give their best.

The Hawthorne effect happens when employees behave in a positive manner once they know they’re being watched. While you don’t want to keep an eye on their every move, note that there are a couple of handy ways to reinforce this effect:

  • Hold regular performance reviews
  • Reward your team when they go above and beyond the scope of their work
  • Have them track their time even if just so they can get a better idea of where their work goes

Fostering a lasting team culture

Keeping employees engaged brings in numerous benefits for retaining talent, increasing profitability, reducing absenteeism, and, the overarching goal, building a solid remote team culture.

Employee feedback in particular is a gift that will help you continuously improve and support your team. Showing them you care and want to fix any current remote work challenges will set the core pillar of a healthy team culture: trust.

To handle most remote work challenges and create lasting team bonds, the most important thing remains catering to individual needs. Many employees are dealing with sensitive challenges like loneliness. You can help them overcome these feelings of isolation without being too intrusive by simply asking how they’re feeling or if there’s any issue that’s been on their mind lately.

Staying in touch with your team

Not in the same office anymore? Staying connected still matters even if you have to find new ways to replace spontaneous conversations and maintain team morale high. The main benefit of staying connected though is helping your team with common remote work challenges like not being able to unplug after work, feeling lonely, or lacking focus [Buffer, 2020].

How to do that?

One-on-one meetings are the perfect chance to identify any hidden problems or fears. So make sure you’re not skipping any of your regular catch-ups.

The bottom line of remote work challenges

All of us have different personalities, but most companies overlook that. For example, introverts will appreciate the moments where they get to have fun with the team online and talk with them. They might also be highly demotivated and mentally exhausted if they had to sit through daily stand-up meetings—clearly this is not the approach you should take.

So handling all existing and impending remote work issues remains a matter of getting to know your team and maintaining an open communication channel.

To leave you with enough time for this, Panther helps you make remote work as uncomplicated as possible by taking over your payroll and compliance duties.

Give yourself some peace-of-mind and let us take care of the rest.

Related articles.