We outline nine common challenges when working with hybrid and remote teams, and how to avoid or fix them.
So what are the challenges you face when working with remote and onsite hybrid teams? I find managing a remote and onsite hybrid team very challenging. It can be due to the communication styles between the team members. Depending upon which stage of your project you are in, there will be different requirements for remote and onsite work, making it even more challenging.
The idea that you can work from wherever you want, whenever you want, has long been an attractive proposition to many people.
Remote working offers flexibility, freedom and a healthy working/life balance; but, it also brings with it some challenges.
This article is one of a series, which explores some of these challenges.
The biggest challenge with remote and onsite hybrid working is managing communication.
When you’re working remotely, it can be difficult to keep track of what everyone else is doing. You might not know if someone has finished a task, or if they’re stuck on something and need help.
Onsite hybrid working can be easier because everyone is in the same physical space and can talk face-to-face. However, there are still challenges when it comes to communication—especially if someone needs help from another department or if there’s no clear hierarchy in place, which makes it clear who should be answering questions or taking charge of certain projects.
Feeling in the loop
One of the challenges of working remotely is feeling like you’re not in the loop with everything happening. It can be hard to stay up-to-date on what’s going on with your team and projects when you’re not physically present.
If you’re working remotely, you may feel like you need to spend more time at work than people who are on site, or they’ll think they can bother you when they know you might be busy. If this is a problem for you, try setting up a virtual office space where people can drop off information for you and schedule meetings online.
If you’re working remotely, you may not get the same level of collaboration and communication as you would in an office setting. It can make it harder to feel like a part of the team, which can affect morale.
Another challenge is remote workers are often expected to be more independent than their in-office peers. When they come into the office, they’ll have less support from other employees, so they need to be able to handle their own tasks without help from others.
This lack of support can lead to stress or even burnout over time if you don’t have the right tools in place to manage your workload effectively.
Remote workers have less opportunities to interact with other people, which can lead to a reduction in creativity. This is because creativity is often sparked by interaction and discussion with others.
However, there are ways in which you can encourage creativity in a remote work environment. One way is by creating an environment where employees feel comfortable asking their colleagues questions or sharing ideas.
Another way is by creating a space where employees can come together and collaborate—for example, by creating a shared space for remote workers to meet up at least once per week.
Weakened team culture and relationships
When you have people scattered across a company and working remotely, it can be difficult to foster the same sense of camaraderie, which you might get from working side-by-side in the same office. This is especially true when it comes to teams, which are spread across multiple time zones as well.
Not only does this make it harder to come up with new ideas and strategies, but it also makes it more difficult to build trust between coworkers, which is essential in any organization.
Integrating new hires into the mix
Another critical challenge you face when working with onsite and remote teams is integrating new hires into the mix.
The problem is there are two entirely different ways to do this: the onsite way, which is what most people do, and the remote way. The two work differently, but they both have their own set of benefits and drawbacks you need to understand before starting a new project.
The onsite way involves hiring employees who stay in one place at all times. This means they’re available to work whenever needed, which is perfect for companies that want people who can be relied upon to be there when needed.
However, it also means employees’ lives become isolated from those around them — especially if they live far away from their offices or don’t have any family members nearby.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean your employees will have little chance of making friends or finding other sources of entertainment outside of work hours. It’s also harder for them to make connections with other people in their community because they’ll only be around each other during business hours.
Security is a big issue when it comes to onsite employees and remote employees. This means having a firewall between the two locations, as well as employing a strong password policy.
You can also set up a VPN connection between the two locations, but even then there will be an issue if your employees are using public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Another concern is what happens if someone at the remote location needs assistance with an issue? What happens if they are not on-site? Do you have someone in place who can help with this?
Another challenge is having consistent communication between both teams. This means being able to communicate via email, chat or video conferencing software.The same goes for sharing files and documents.
Overcoming cultural differences
The biggest challenge that you face when working with onsite and remote teams is the cultural differences. As you know, there are many different cultures in the world, and each culture has its own norms and values. It can be difficult to deal with these differences when it comes to hiring people.
For example, some companies prefer to work with people who are local to their area. Other companies prefer candidates who live far away from them or are willing to move closer to their team.
There are also some companies that prefer applicants who have experience working remotely for other companies before applying for a position at your company.
If you want your team to succeed and make improvements, then it’s important to find candidates who share the same values as yours and can successfully work together as a team.
Guiding the right processes along the path
Too often, employees move from one role to another without any real guidance or direction. They might be given a certain set of responsibilities but not told where they should go next or what will be expected of them once they’ve mastered their current tasks.
This can lead to employees feeling lost and confused about how best to proceed. They might feel like they’re not doing enough or are never given enough credit for their work, so they become demoralised and frustrated.
The best way to overcome this challenge is by creating a roadmap, which outlines your company’s vision, goals, and processes for each step along the way. This will help workers know where they’re going and what they need to do in order to get there.”
Providing robust training opportunities for both levels of employees
As a leader, you need to make sure that your remote employees have the same access to information, tools and training as their onsite counterparts.
The best way to do this is to ensure all employees are given access to the same resources. If you only have access to one type of employee and not another, your organization will either be missing out or paying for a level of service it doesn’t need.
You should also ensure all employees are given access to the same culture and values within your company. This means providing them with regular updates about company events and sharing with them any new policies or procedures as soon as possible so they can get involved in making changes where necessary.
Making sure not to micromanage
You can’t always be present in every meeting and see everything that’s going on. It’s important for you to trust your team members and give them room to work without feeling like they’re being watched too closely.
When you’re an executive, it’s easy to think that everyone needs to answer questions or follow up with specific tasks if something doesn’t get done right away.
If a task isn’t completed in a timely manner, it can throw off schedules and cause unnecessary stress among coworkers who have other priorities at hand.
When you are working with onsite and remote teams, there are always challenges. But when your team is working together from different locations, it is even more important to celebrate success. To do this, you can use technology to make the celebration happen.
You can use tools like Skype for Business or Google Hangouts Meet to have everyone in the room see what everyone else is doing and share their screen so they can see each other’s faces.
This makes it easy for everyone to connect with each other and celebrate the success of their work.
Treating all your employees fairly
The most important thing you can do as a manager is to treat all your employees fairly. This means giving them the same opportunities and resources to perform, regardless of where they work.
If you have an onsite team and a remote team, you may find yourself in a situation where one group feels like they’re being treated unfairly by the other group.
You’ll have to make sure everyone is treated fairly and given equal resources, or at the very least, there will be resentment among some employees who feel like they’re being left behind by their colleagues who are working remotely.
Managing their work-life balance correctly
When it comes to managing remote workers and their work-life balance, there are a few things to consider.
It’s important that you have an environment that allows for communication and collaboration between team members. This will help them feel part of the company culture and understand the importance of working together with others.
It’s also important that managers are able to communicate clearly with the remote workforce. To do this, they should be involved in regular meetings with each employee and set clear expectations for what needs to be done.
Managers should also keep track of how much time each employee spends on projects and ensure that they’re not overworking themselves too much. This can help prevent burnout among your employees, who may begin to resent working from home instead of using their skills at work.
The benefits of remote working are largely contingent on the organisation, managers, and culture of the company you work for. While some aspects of the job may change, like more autonomy and fewer interruptions, it is the people who work there who have a huge impact on how those benefits are received.
If you manage to find an environment which caters to your remote lifestyle then it will likely be beneficial to both you and your company to make it work. Active communication, clear expectations, and trust will likely go a long way in helping you establish yourself as someone who gets things done.
About the Author
Vartika Kashyap is the Chief Marketing Officer of ProofHub — a project management software loved by thousands of teams and businesses across the globe. A noteworthy personality in the global marketing community, Vartika writes to create awareness about new trends in marketing and business management.