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How to Manage the Workload of Remote Teams

By Michelle Laurey - May 20, 2021

Remote teams are a common component of the “new normal” workforce. Since 2020, remote work culture has evolved, with many companies implementing long-term strategies for either home-based or hybrid teams.

Allowing employees to work from home is an excellent way to cut costs in any business landscape. When you opt for remote workers, you don’t need to pay as much on office overheads, and you reduce your impact on the environment too.

 

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The only problem is figuring out how to properly manage employees in this new landscape. Some companies making the transition to the new world of work are struggling with distributing the workload fairly. Unfortunately, research tells us that 80% of global knowledge workers are often overworked and even close to burnout as a result.

By failing to assign work correctly, you risk pushing your employees too far and losing valuable team members entirely. Let’s see some of the ways you can reduce your risk of dealing with this problem.

Assign Priorities Correctly

Getting used to a new remote work environment isn’t just difficult for managers and business leaders—this process can also be very complicated for employees. When the pandemic started in 2020, many companies began using a selection of software services and tools to assign projects to their teams. Unfortunately, this made it harder for staff to know which tasks were most crucial.

Your employees will only have so much time in any day, so it’s up to you to make sure they’re using each moment correctly. Make it clear to see which tasks you assign to your staff should be considered a priority. You can apply deadlines to help with this and use automatic reminder systems to keep your team on track.

It is a good idea to experiment with digital solutions like project management tools or color-coding various assignments, so it’s easier for staff to determine what they need to do first. Then, combining your regular people analytics with employee surveys should help you to see if you’re making the right impact.

>> Read more: Remote Working, Crisis Management & Business Continuity During COVID-19

Establish a Deadline/Shift Schedule

One of the biggest benefits of remote working for your employees is that it often comes with more freedom. Many businesses allow their remote teams to set their own flexible schedules. This ensures that your employees can choose their hours based on when they feel the most motivated, inspired, or creative. The idea is that this tends to result in greater productivity and overall better performance.

However while offering schedule freedom can be great for cultivating creativity, it’s important to ensure there are some guidelines in place. For instance, you might need to look into assigning “shifts” to ensure that someone is always online in your marketing team when someone needs help bringing a campaign to shareholders. If you feel that shifts aren’t necessary, ask yourself whether you need all of your employees to be online at a specific time each week for meetings.

Deliver Resources Effectively

Your remote employees can only thrive if they have access to the right resources. In today’s hybrid work environment, it should be easy for your staff to unlock the tools they need whenever they need them. For instance, if you’re running a remote contact center, your staff should have access to desk phones when necessary, as well as webcams for video conferencing and call management software.

Resource management is a valuable process in any business, but it’s particularly crucial when you’re trying to empower a remote team. Make a list of all the essential equipment that your employees are going to need access to when they’re completing tasks from home or any other location.

Resource optimization systems can even help you to see where you may need to invest in additional tools or help for your team. Moreover, many of these solutions come with fantastic analytics systems that help you monitor the effectiveness of your remote workers’ equipment and see when changes should be made.

When teams feel as though they have the right tools, managing the workload becomes easier.

Keep Everyone Informed of Vital Details

Some of the assets you deliver to employees in your team will only be required on an as-needed basis. For instance, you may loan out hardware for a virtual meeting when your business leaders need to host an important online conversation.

Other assets, like information, should be available to employees at all times. Giving your employees all the information available about certain tasks and projects will help them to recognize when they might be better suited to certain tasks.

You can even ask your employees to volunteer for certain projects based on their skills or background knowledge. This process reduces the stress of choosing the correct employee to assign each task to for your business leaders and fosters a culture of proactivity and initiative in the workplace. Having valuable information about each project will also ensure that your employees are informed and empowered when starting on tasks. They don’t have to waste time tracking down details. You could even include a list of people to contact for extra help within your resources kit.

Maintain Frequent and Open Communication

In the age of remote work, few things are more important than good communication. When your employees can communicate effectively, they can access help from collaborators on important topics, find out crucial details faster, and even keep business leaders up to date about deadline issues. Your employees should feel comfortable coming to you with any questions or concerns about the projects you assign to them.

>> Watch: How to Drive Change Using Custom Communication

It’s also worth scheduling regular meetings where people can share any new information in a group environment. Regular communication should also include constant feedback from your team members. Listen to how they feel about the way workloads are distributed amongst them. Your teams will be able to tell you if something about your strategy needs to change.

Good Luck With Managing your Remote Team!

Managing a distributed team can feel like a complex process, but it doesn’t have to be as confusing as it seems. With the right intentions, software and a plan of action for dealing with projects in an efficient and productive manner, you can make the most out of your employees, wherever they are.

 

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About the Author:

Michelle Laurey works as a VA for small businesses. She loves talking business, and productivity, and share her experience with others. Outside her keyboard, she spends time with her Kindle library or binge-watching Billions. Her superpower? Vinyasa flow! Talk to her on Twitter @michelle_laurey.

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