CIOs report communication is the top challenge for managing remote workers

In a globalized economy, remote teams are increasingly relied upon to deliver timely results. However, for professionals charged with ensuring the productivity of these workers, changing from a visual management style to one based on results can often be difficult.

Traditionally, managers rely on their observations to determine the efficacy of their teams. But with the rise in remote work arrangements, where management can be separated from their teams by hundreds or thousands of miles, this style is not only ineffective, it can quickly frustrate managers as they begin to feel disconnected from the project.

Even with they myriad of new tools technology has supplied to ease communication, 30 percent of CIOs reported that communication is the greatest challenge they face in managing a remote workforce, according to a recent survey by Robert Half Technology.

"As remote work arrangements become increasingly popular, managers are often concerned that camaraderie and collaboration could suffer due to lack of regular, in-person interaction," said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology, in a press release accompanying the survey. "Even senior executives in a technology-forward department like IT can feel disconnected from remote teams because of limited face time with staff and lack of visibility into how work is being accomplished."

To address this concern, leaders or remote teams should move away from their previous observation-based management styles and adopt ones that draw judgments based on results. 

This can be accomplished through outlining clear expectations for remote teams. Remote employees should be given clear schedules for how often to check in by the manager's preferred means. Ideally, a clear schedule of tasks should be shared, so managers can be kept abreast of progress and set clear benchmarks to keep remote teams on track. 

Retaining a business management consultant can be an effective means of preparing existing leadership to manage remote teams. As this practice become increasingly commonplace, organizations should ensure that management are able to ensure productivity and continued success.