Advantages and challenges of working with remote teams

Working with remote teams can be more economical and result in increased productivity for your company.

According to data compiled by the Growth Everywhere blog, at least 20% of the workforce at present corresponds to remote work teams within growing digital companies.

For example, Workana recently published a case study of the Asian multinational Ctrip, one of the major travel agencies in the world, with over 16,000 employees.

Through a project that allowed a large percentage of its employees to work at home, the company increased its productivity by an amazing 22%, saved an estimated US$2,000 annually per remote worker, enhanced its satisfaction levels and achieved a lower turnover rate.

Being open to remote working allows, among other things:

  • More economical operations: This is especially related to physical workspaces, electricity, and hiring.
  • Greater worker satisfaction: Since employees can balance their professional and personal life much better.
  • Increased productivity: Remote workers report that it’s easier to stay focused without the common distractions that take place in a traditional office. Besides that, they can better manage their schedules and tend to need much less days off due to illness.
  • Access to talent in different geographical areas: Remote work allows you to dramatically expand the talent pool available to businesses, and reduce the amount of time that is necessary to find a suitable candidate for the job.

Working with remote teams obviously represents many advantages, but for a virtual work team to well, work, one must have an organisational culture that takes into account their particular needs.

This means that companies that want to begin to integrate virtual work teams into their dynamics must undergo some general changes so that they can fit properly and achieve maximum performance.

Today’s post offers a detailed guide of the most common challenges that companies that use remote teams face as well as a list of best practices and strategies that will allow your company to overcome or avoid these problems in the best possible way.

Challenges of working with remote teams

Some remote workers say they face difficulty in getting visibility for their work, including promotions and salary raises.

First, the difference between the objectives and challenges involved in working with remote teams must be very clear to you – both for companies and for employees – and the many unfounded myths that exist about it.

Among the myths, it’s common to hear that remote workers:

  • Aren’t committed to the company.
  • Have lower rates of productivity.
  • Are more likely to leave the company.
  • Incur more easily in unethical behaviours.

In reality, none of this is true and only reflects the ignorance that still exists over the tools and methodologies of remote working.

On the other hand, that doesn’t mean it’s free of potential obstacles. Here are some of the more common challenges of remote working:

  • Communication difficulties: Relating to different time zones/language or cultural barriers.
  • Following up on work and productivity: It can be difficult for a boss to measure the critical performance indicators among remote employees.
  • Feeling of being less important: On many occasions, remote workers don’t feel part of the company and consider that it gives more importance and benefits to on-site workers.
  • Lack of integration with the team: By not sharing the same physical space with their team, the remote employee loses most opportunities of creating personal bonds with colleagues.
  • Professional growth: Often, remote workers report that it is difficult for them to get visibility for their work, promotions and raises when working from home.
  • Feeling isolated: In their study of the state of remote work in 2018, Buffer reported that the feelings of loneliness and isolation was a major problem that 21% of virtual workers faced.

Fortunately, the positive experience of hundreds of companies with remote teams shows us that, by implementing a series of good practices, it’s perfectly possible to overcome all obstacles assertively from planning dynamics of work.

Watch out for Workana’s upcoming article on the “7 strategic points that all successful remote teams share.”

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