Whatever the industry, every manager is going to face challenges with its teammates. It comes with the territory of being a leader.
But when it comes to remote work, the challenges are definitely clear and ever-present. As we’re all getting used to this new era of remote work, you may have noticed issues arise already, in some form or another.
Below, we’ve identified three main areas that produce particular challenges for managers, as well as potential solutions.
Challenge #1: Scattered Information and Poor Communication
Communication is the bedrock of any successful agency. But when we pivot to remote work, there’s a barrier to fluid back-and-forth. Having everyone located in the same office provides obvious physical advantages, but when it comes to different locations, you need to unite your team in an agency management tool.
Problems can arise when different employees are using different tools. For example, one person’s done up a spreadsheet on Excel, while another person has to import that into Google Sheets before they can view or edit. That’s a very basic example, but compounded, it can lead to serious issues down the road.
No one likes scouring for updates for a program they’re not really familiar with. Not only is it a total waste of time, but it also drains energy from your employees and causes them to lose focus.
Use one tool to manage all aspects of your projects. Unite your employees under the same banner, and make sure they’re all on the same page when it comes to functionality and operations.
When your whole team is subscribed to the same project, they’re updated in real time. There’s no need for you to blast out a round of emails announcing any new changes, or indeed follow that round-up with another round amending those changes. It’s all done instantly, removing one of the biggest hurdles to successful remote work.
Challenge #2: Process Management
The best way to save time when managing processes is to create a template—a solid foundation you can use for any or most projects. As an agency matures, this is what they’ll look to incorporate within their structure.
However, remote work can muddy the waters of the process. Communication is often delayed, hampered, or misconstrued, thanks to people working different hours in potentially different time zones. If all your employees are touching base with each other at staggered times, you can expect serious delays. So how do you safeguard against this remote working hindrance?
Simple. You use a platform to set your team up with your best practices as a starting block, then build your template up from there. This will free up much more of your time, allowing you to get ahead of the curve, even while factoring in remote work challenges.
Every good manager needs a roadmap to success. Preparing and utilizing templates in advance will help you deal with problems more effectively when they show up. Templates will also ensure that your team members start from the same level when embarking on a new project.
Learn more about how to streamline your workflow using an agency management tool.
Challenge #3: Forecasting Upcoming Work
One big mistake a lot of agencies make is treating an uncertain climate as a stopgap. This leads to managers taking their foot off the accelerator, waiting for things to get “back to normal” in the coming months.
There is no guarantee, however, that things will go back to how they once were. You should be looking to make as much impact as you can right now. Don’t treat this like a break; treat it as an opportunity to review your office practices and optimize client acquisition.
Trouble is, you need reliable, real-time data on your employees to make sure they’re being utilized correctly. You need to be able to forecast the future so you can plan for it successfully. This is tough when you’re not working face-to-face.
Set up clear expectations regarding daily time tracking. Let your team know you’re going to be monitoring their output. Also, let them know you care about the quality of results rather than the number of hours they put in. Some people won’t be able to work remotely during previous regular office hours. That’s totally fine, and to be expected. Make sure those employees are aware that results are the bottom line.
Balancing out resources will depend on your employees’ consistency and honesty when it comes to time tracking. Make sure you address this potential issue as soon as possible. Let your team know that, even though you’re separated physically, you still need to come together as a team to keep productivity high.
It can be tough when all your employees are working remotely. However, by addressing some simple challenges and implementing a well-rounded agency management tool, you can keep morale up and hit the ground running.