Since the pandemic, many companies worldwide have adapted to the changing realities of the new world. Among these are the digital environment and the new way of working. Thanks to technology, so-called virtual, remote or telecommuting work have developed.
However, after two years, there are still organizations that don’t know how to implement it or how to manage the company remotely. There are questions about the organization, collaboration, schedules, and even communication. That is why in this article we have decided to answer the most frequently asked questions among users about remote management.
- We have been working in offices for years, in fact, the first offices were built in 1729 (1). That’s why changing the way we work was a radical change for both employees and companies.
- Remote management is the action of managing work teams and projects without being in an office.
- The remote mode makes work opportunities more affordable. It is an option for foreigners, women, or men who are heads of households, people with special abilities, etc. (2).
What you should know about remote management
Remote management is a development of remote working, but they are not the same thing. The primary difference is the degree of responsibility. As part of the team, you perform your tasks and duties and report to your leader. As a leader, managing is an activity that requires commitment and strategies to meet the objectives set (3).
How do you manage the team from a distance?
This is the most repeated question among users. There are many ways to manage your team remotely, with weekly meetings, daily reports, etc. However, you have to take into account some factors that are key for your management to be effective. These are:
Before starting any work, objectively analyze the goals and projections. Strategically establish what is to be accomplished, the time frame, the results and the team members.
Divide the objectives into small parts and set tasks for each of the members. So that everyone contributes to the goal with the correct procedures.
Establish the necessary rules. By this, we mean work schedules, deadlines, reports, vertical and horizontal communication.
Establish efficient channels and networks of communication. It is important that you are in constant contact with your team to guide and inform. Create follow-up meetings, group chats, individual chats, video calls or videoconferences.
Encourage your team to cooperate with each other. Technological resources have eliminated the limitations of proximity (4). In other words, everyone can now communicate with other departments without leaving their workstation.
Working remotely is not synonymous with being at the computer all day. Manage your team with healthy habits such as breaks, flexible schedules, and time for reflection and disconnection.
What type of leadership is best for remote management?
There are different types of leadership, their characteristics make them fit the company and its way of working. However, managing the team remotely implies other types of leadership qualities. A recent study revealed three types of leadership that adapt to and meet the needs of the leader and the team (5). Below is an illustration of the types and their main characteristics.
How do you measure team performance in remote management?
Once the strategy and objectives are clear and stated, the appropriate metrics are sought. This will boost and help remote management, since doing many tasks every day does not mean productivity. You have to do the right tasks and prioritize them so that they add up. In the following table, we have gathered some digital tools that can help you manage virtually.
|Trello||Organize, prioritize and manage tasks|
|Open Time Clock||Manage work schedules|
|Zeppelean||Use gamification as an evaluation for the team|
|Zoom||Virtual communication tool|
|Toggl||Indicates the time spent on each task|
|Nectar||Recognizes team achievements|
How are projects managed remotely?
Projects are defined goals that are set in organizations. These can be to increase sales, expand the workplace, bring out a new product or service, etc. Basically, it is similar to team management, the difference is the planning, with whom and how you communicate.
Now, managing projects remotely is different from managing in an office. As a manager, you must develop communication and mediation skills, specialize in digital tools, planning and visualization of processes. For many people this is tedious and complicated, for others it is beneficial.
What are the advantages of remote management?
As we have mentioned, remote work arises from the need to maintain positions and jobs in companies. Consequently, this generated an impact on the work environment and its collaborators. Many studies point out that virtual work has brought changes in different areas such as personal, labor, financial, etc.
There are a number of advantages such as technological learning, changes in organizational structure and work flow (6). Below, we will explain each advantage gained from remote management.
Productivity and Efficiency
At first, many people did not know how it was going to work or what they had to do. After a while, employees have learned and managed their work areas technologically. Then, productivity levels began to rise, because remote management started to be associated with:
- Autonomy in the workplace.
- Work-life balance.
- Less stress.
- The flexibility of schedule.
- Growth and job performance (7).
Thanks to the internet and its websites, we can now manage our work remotely. This is undoubtedly the biggest advantage. It opens a range of options to find a job or a talent. In addition, it removes a lot of limitations for individuals and companies.
By managing your work remotely, the organization, you and the environment benefit. Considering, you save or minimize the use of important resources such as your car or office. Here is a table with some of the advantages of remote management.
|Collaborators||Companies||Environment and Society|
|More family interaction||Saving of physical space||Less pollution|
|Autonomy||Decrease in absenteeism||Increased employment|
|Savings in clothing and transportation||Savings on basic office services||Reduced traffic|
|Flexible scheduling||Results-based management||Reduced paper usage|
What challenges can be met with remote management?
Many people are negatively impacted by the transition from physical to virtual. That is why opinions are divided. Employees were forced to use and learn technological tools in order to keep their jobs. On the other hand, physical interaction cannot be compared to virtual interaction.
In fact, there are companies that cannot be managed remotely and have adapted to the hybrid mode, based on a mix of virtual and face-to-face. However, we have put together the disadvantages of remote management so that you can create your own criteria.
Having a team from different parts of the world sounds amazing until you have to schedule a meeting. Keep in mind that the Earth has 24 different time zones (8). So, remote management becomes complicated. In the event of an emergency, some may be awake and others may be asleep. It is not always possible to coordinate a time for everyone, and this can cause delays in deliveries.
When you’re in a physical location, it’s easy to go in and monitor the team’s performance. Virtually, it’s a bit tricky. Especially if you have not implemented a good task-tracking system. Managing remotely demands a lot of responsibility and organization on the part of the leader and collaborator.
In addition, offices are designed to separate home from work and avoid distractions. If your team does not have good time and task management, problems will arise. Problems with backlogs, delays, or poor-quality deliveries.
Communication is a pillar within the office and if it is virtual, even more so. Many companies have their channels of communication through chats or emails, which are often misunderstood. Through words, the tone of the message is not distinguishable and, generally, punctuation marks are missing.
Security and transparency
This is a sensitive issue in and out of the office. Your work is unpublished, and you maintain confidentiality about certain issues in the organization. In fact, there are contracts that stipulate this and it is signed by both parties. However, the problem is that if you keep everything virtual, there may be a data leak.
This is where the company’s reputation and economy are at risk. A data breach is very likely if you don’t have a good virtual security scheme. Also, if you work with people remotely, the probability goes up a bit. We don’t know who you surround yourself with, or where you store the information.
Virtual work is here to stay. It is important for organizations to be prepared for this new way of working, especially with administrative positions. Remote management has different advantages and disadvantages. However, with the right strategies, it is possible to take full advantage of its benefits.
In this article, we have mentioned each part, so that you as a manager can choose the best option for your company and your collaborators. In this digital era, it is essential to take advantage of all the resources that the Internet has to offer.
1. Kellaway L. How the office was invented [Internet]. BBC News World. BBC; 2013
2. Orlando C. ANALYSIS OF THE IMPACT OF TELEWORKING ON THE MANAGEMENT RESULTS OF ORGANIZATIONS [Internet]. Edu.co. 2015
3. Orlando C. ANALYSIS OF THE IMPACT OF TELEWORKING ON THE MANAGEMENT RESULTS OF ORGANIZATIONS [Internet]. Edu.co. 2015
4. Cortes G, Henao N, Osorio V. Remote work in times of covid-19 and its impact on the worker [Internet]. Institutional Repository – Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. 2020.
5. Ruiz V, Diana I. REMOTE LEADERSHIP FOR MANAGING WORK TEAMS IN TIMES OF PANDEMIC [Internet]. Edu.co.
6. Santiago J, Ramirez D. ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF THE TELEWORKING MODALITY IN SEGURIRED AND REDTRACK COMPANIES IN BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA [Internet]. Edu.co. 2021
7. Song Y, Gao J. Does Telework Stress Employees Out? A Study on Working at Home and Subjective Well-Being for Wage/Salary Workers [Internet]. Iza.org. 2018.
8. General Directorate of Civil Protection and Emergencies – Ministry of the Interior – Spain. National Emergency Radio Network – REMER. VADEMECUM REMER – Timetables and calendars [Internet].