Accountability plays a vital role in ensuring efficiency in the workplace. Accountability in remote workspaces can be a challenge, although it is easy to demand responsibility when there is physical interaction.
In this interview with renowned management consultant and business leader Koen Vanpraet, he shares his thoughts on remote work and how to offer accountability while overseeing remote teams. Koen Vanpraet also loves to inspire teams and is a client advocate.
There has been a surge in remote work since 2020. Do you think remote work has made teams more efficient since then?
Yes, I believe remote work has made teams more efficient. With remote work, you have a group of people who can work mainly at their convenience and in their own spaces.
Also, remote work has given teams the chance to interact with different people worldwide. Eventually, you will have a team rich with expertise and knowledge, all working on a common goal.
Remote work even made it possible to let new business managers oversee an existing team likely, which was not achievable before.
Koen, do you believe every person is fit for remote work? If not, what qualities would you look out for when hiring people to work with other team members remotely?
No, I do not believe everyone is cut out for remote work. I would say the first trait is the ability to communicate clearly.
Remote work requires back and forth communication since there are no physical meetings. A person who can clearly communicate a task’s objectives and values is a good fit.
It is also essential to look out for someone who has an excellent attitude to work and is teachable. Simon Sinek, the author of Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others, doesn’t recommend hiring based on attitudes, not skills.
Skills can always be taught.
What problems do remote teams primarily face over time?
I have observed that it’s the lack of communication. That’s the first problem remote teams struggle with.
Since there is no physical contact, it can be challenging for team members to interpret tones and messages correctly. They cannot read moods and body language, giving room for misinterpretation.
Another problem is the lack of personal interaction. Remote team members feel a sense of isolation and detachedness in the workspace.
How can management establish strong communication with remote teams?
There are many ways they can do that. It starts by creating break hours for workers, running a 24/7 chat room, and paying attention to workers’ struggles. That way, they establish a sense of trust with the team.
Another option is for management to spend more time with the remote teams. This is essential for business managers and CEOs to remain effective, especially while growing a remote team.
This point was made by the Successful American entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, who said that he spends most of his time with his employees, figuring out the ins and outs, which has paid him immensely.
Finally, are there ways to implement more accountability when overseeing remote teams?
Yes, there are several ways to implement accountability when supervising remote teams.
Foremost, it is essential to set clear and straightforward remote work structures and policies. These include allocation of tasks, dress code, work ethics, duration of working hours, goals, and objectives, and they should all be well mapped out.
Again, implementing the right tools can foster accountability. This can be achieved by using software and programs to log in progress, delegate tasks, set deadlines, and send reminders.
These will go a long way in improving the accountability of teams.