Thanks to technological advancements, the popularity of remote work is at an all-time high. Globally, 16% of companies have a fully remote setup and there’s reason to believe that work-from-home opportunities will only continue growing. After all, it brings great time and cost benefits to employees and employers.

However, there are also downsides to remote work. In this article, ControTask discusses the challenges of managing remote employees and offers solutions.

Managing a Remote Team: Top Challenges To Expect

The following sections explain some of the most common challenges of managing remote employees.

Social Isolation

More than a third of remote workers said remote work made them feel lonely and isolated, and it’s easy to see why. People are inherently social and rely on interpersonal relationships to thrive. As work-from-home setups limit the chances of interactions and conversations with team members, they can elicit feelings of loneliness and make it difficult to feel a sense of belonging. This can impact workers’ abilities to perform at their best—reducing creativity, eroding performance, and boosting turnover.

Risk of Burnout

Sixty-nine percent of remote employees experience burnout. The inability to disconnect and the lack of workplace inspiration makes them less engaged and productive at work, causing companies to lose $1 trillion each year. Moreover, those who feel burnout are 63% more likely to take a sick day, which can add to their team’s workload.

Burnout often leads to unrelenting stress, which can create distinctive changes in the brain’s anatomy and functioning. It impairs several cognitive abilities, eventually disrupting creativity, problem-solving, and working memory.

Lack of Guidance

Remote workers don’t have the option of directly asking their team leaders for guidance or feedback. The lack of face-to-face interaction can make them feel disconnected and lead to uncertainty, especially when they’re working with a new client, which can be detrimental to productivity and morale.

Maintaining Security

Remote work can open up a myriad of cybersecurity issues. If your workers are handling sensitive information, non-secure or poorly protected Wi-Fi networks could heighten the risk of a data breach. This costs businesses billions of dollars each year.

No Company Culture

Remote work doesn’t do away with workplace culture, but when there is little to no personal interaction, it can lead to a lack of motivation and feelings of insecurity among employees. The lack of clarity regarding company values could result in a lack of loyalty and employees may feel as if they were just cogs in the organizational machine.

Combined with poor communication, the absence of a definitive company culture was the leading cause of workplace turnover before the pandemic.

Personal Distractions

Eighty percent of employees who work remotely unintentionally lose work hours to distractions. Their attention is constantly going back and forth between social media, their smartphones, gaming, online shopping, pets, partners, and Netflix shows.

It may seem inconsequential, but distracted workers have been known to cost organizations 14 to 15 times more than health-related absenteeism (sick leaves).

Effective Communication and Collaboration

Remote workers spend about 25% less of their time collaborating with colleagues across groups. Because remote teams’ communication relies heavily on text and email instead of face-to-face interactions, messages may be misinterpreted or misunderstood due to cultural differences or lack of context.

Seven Ways To Resolve the Challenges of Managing Remote Employees

These challenges may seem daunting, but there are ways to manage them effectively. If you have a remote team, take the following steps.

1. Offer Flexible Schedules

Flexible schedules pave the way to a better work-life balance and heighten productivity. In fact, employees who operate remotely work 1.4 more days every month than their office-going counterparts. Implementing flexible schedules may feel uncomfortable because you won’t be able to monitor employees as much, but there are time and productivity tracking tools such as ControTask that can help.

2. Implement Weekly Check-ins

Having regular check-ins too often will make your employees feel like you don’t trust them and make them lose their confidence. On the other hand, if you don’t conduct check-ins often enough, employees may feel lost and uncertain about their responsibilities. For most companies, weekly check-ins are the ideal frequency.

These check-ins offer opportunities to forge stronger ties with your people because they let them know you care about them as people and not just as salaried employees. During check-ins, ask and answer questions, provide solutions, and offer guidance when necessary.

3. Deploy a Zero-Trust Framework

Zero-trust is a security measure that requires all users, whether they’re from your organization or outside of it, to continuously validate their access to company information and software. It’s gotten a bad rep for slowing down app and software performance, but it’s worth considering given that the frequency of cyberattacks increased by 205% since 2022. Additionally, the severity of these attacks grew by 53%.

To enhance information security, you can also offer security awareness training.

4. Invest in Team-Building Activities

If you’re looking to take your business to new heights, you need to ensure all your employees are on the same page. Here are some initiatives that will help your remote teams connect:

You can also organize group chats for non-business-related topics. Remote employees can use them to talk about personal interests like their pets, hobbies, and favorite food.

5. Make Virtual Coffee Breaks the Norm

Remote workers are often hesitant to take breaks during working hours. Do a 180 by encouraging your workers to take planned (but informal) online breaks. It’s a great way to take a step back from the demands of their role, socialize with colleagues, engage in casual discussions, and build relationships outside of work.

6. Shut Off Access to Company Resources

Okay—this sounds tragic, but allow us to explain. Research shows that productivity falls sharply after 50 hours per week. Meanwhile, 37% of remote workers said they’re working longer hours than before.

When employees work overtime, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll produce great results. It may do the opposite as extra hours can erode their personal boundaries and affect morale. Help them maintain work-life balance by shutting down your systems after their shift ends. This will encourage them to make the most of their working hours while discouraging overtime.

7. Use Employee Tracking Systems

Almost 80% of employers use monitoring software to track employee performance and online activity. These tools allow you to keep a close eye on your workforce while giving you insights into user behavior, time spent on different tasks, potential issues, and KPIs.

There are privacy concerns regarding the use of these tools. However, if you’re transparent about their intended use—like eliminating redundant tasks and making employees’ workloads more manageable—the insights they offer can enable you to enhance productivity, work satisfaction, engagement, and employee retention.

Manage Remote Employees With ControTask

There are many challenges of supervising remote employees. ControTask can assist by giving you rich insights that can help you manage your people. When employees know they’re being monitored, they’re more likely to stay focused on their projects, which can increase their productivity by 46%.

So, if you’re looking for a remote management tool that has tons of practical and Keep Meetings on the DLeasy-to-use features, consider ControTask. It offers real-time operation, cloud-based control, detailed logs, and screen views.

Choose a pricing plan and get started today.