Many organisations are recognising the benefits of remote working for both the employer and employee. Staff can communicate from home or regional offices around the world. This can mean faster reactions on the ground, proactive operations and the ability to adapt to changes in the marketplace more quickly. These are the foundations for sustainability in today’s global economy. Together with economic savings made on office costs and the ability to attract talented staff from around the world as well as the local region make remote teams a viable business proposition.
Employees have more autonomy, personal flexibility and consequently greater engagement. However, for companies and their managers, the change in the way they were working brings new challenges.
Virtual teams are becoming common practice in many organisations, where leaders are having to manage a mixture of office-based and remote team members. For today’s leaders their virtual management skills are being tested as never before. With financial recession creating cutbacks to the workforce, patterns of employment changing, and recent global pandemic diseases; it means leaders are often managing teams spread across different countries as well as their traditional regional teams.
Managers must maintain motivation, engagement and creativity from a distance whilst considering working across different time zones and cultures to create a ‘virtual office space’ that unites the team to optimum performance. Managers of remote teams need to drive results, engage, inspire and build trust in their team with technology as their main form of communication.
If they get it right and the rewards can be derived through greater flexibility, speed and productivity. But if they get it wrong, the company will have a disengaged and under performing team with negative results.
Good News – when a remote team is managed effectively, distance does not affect success. With the appropriate leadership focus, remote teams often outperform office-based ones even when some of them have never met face-to-face. Leading a remote and virtual team does not come naturally to many managers and requires skills that need to be taught, refined and constantly developed. This is why the Oxford Managing Remote Teams training course focuses directly on these skills to leverage the benefits of the virtual team.