Managing Work for Remote Teams
These past few weeks have been big for many in Canada, specifically Toronto, as many headed back into the office to work for the first time since leaving it in March 2020. And while some are choosing to come back in-person at least part-time, others are seeking flexible schedules that accommodate their needs to work from home full-time. Particularly following the Great Resignation of 2021, many companies are offering flexibility in work models to ensure employee retention. As Rebecca Stropoli writes for Chicago Booth Review, “Companies that offer more flexibility in work arrangements may have the best chance of attracting top talent at the best price.” But managing remote teams isn’t as simple as offering hybrid work models upon request. It all comes down to who is best suited for remote work and how you’re managing these teams effectively. Let’s start with the first part of that equation.
Curating Remote Teams That Really Work
As a manager, you want a team full of members who are top performers in their field. And sure, you can find more of the same candidates who fit benchmarks of existing top performers within the company. But remote teams are particularly unique in how they function. They require different skillsets than those working in-person with hands-on tasks full-time. And even if you can offer remote work to a worker based on their position, that does not mean they will succeed in doing so. This is often an assumed case with jobs in tech, telecommunications, and asynchronous work. The reality is, the job is only one of many factors that determine if a worker can effectively work from home.
Hard Skills: What Can Be Taught
Hard skills, as we’ve established, are those that are trainable and improvable with time and effort. Workers can gain hard skills, even while working remote, by taking online MOOCs or attending virtual workshops. These might include credentials that are relevant or transferrable to the worker’s field, like languages, certifications, and experience working with software or hardware. Many equal opportunity employers are looking for less and less hard skills and are instead offering training on-site. Nonetheless, there are some skills that either are or are not part of someone’s personality.
Soft Skills: What Cannot Be Taught
As we’ve shown in Stephen Brennan’s success story, soft skills are crucial to measure, especially for determining a worker’s suitability for a position. In this article, Stephen showed how looking at a candidate’s soft skills, as assessed by Packfinder, can determine their suitability for a job. It’s highly contested that soft skills are those that are not easily or cannot at all be changed. These include a person’s tendencies in working in groups, habits when working in specific environments, abilities to work under pressure or with conflicts, and so on.
These are extensive, to say the least, because they can range from one extreme end to the other. And the necessary skills vary, especially when looking at those needed to work online in particular job functions. But for remote work, you may find time organization and self-motivation crucial soft skills to have.
Packfinder, our self-assessment tool, is our number one method of filtering candidates for soft skills necessary for working online. Packfinder uses psychometric profiling to determine a candidate’s suitability for 60 unique job functions. Did we mention it’s online and free? (Have we piqued your interest? Check out more about Packfinder here!)
Tips for Managing Long-Term Remote Teams
With all of the above said, it’s important to remember that building teams made for remote work is just the beginning. Your job as a manager or hirer is also to help workers function as effectively as possible. This means running meetings effectively, building a good sense of community, and keeping your employees well compensated and taken care of, even when working from home.
1. Manage and prioritize tasks
As Reclaim Ai notes, task management tools like Asana, Jira, and Trello can be particularly useful for managing tasks across entire teams or departments. Some of these platforms are better at managing certain tasks than others, depending on the type of work involved. However, all of them offer means of sharing workloads across teams to encourage collaboration. They can also help teams prioritize tasks through their design to determine next steps.
2. Distribute tasks evenly
One of the main problems with team members who are working online particularly post Great Resignation is a lack of staff. As more workers resign, those who do remain are forced to pick up the slack. With the amount of tasks piling up, workers begin to feel overwhelmed and worn out. This is particularly common with remote workers, as this may encourage them to start working longer hours. To avoid this, make sure to evenly distribute prioritized tasks. If this means hiring another person even temporarily until a permanent replacement is found, do so! As well, encourage all employees to fully disconnect after-hours, meaning no work-related emails, text messages, or phone calls.
3. Defend your own time
A big part of your abilities as a manager is managing your time to ensure you’re managing others equitably. This may include refusing invitations to meetings that may not be beneficial to your workflow (and that’s okay!). Block out your calendar on the platform you use to meet virtually with your teams so that meetings cannot interrupt your day. Then, prioritize your time the way you would want your teams to prioritize theirs.
That’s not all! We have even more articles to help you navigate through these concerns as soon as they arise. Click here to sign up for our newsletter with our latest updates on Packfinder, all you need to know about managing and hiring teams for working remote, and so much more.