More companies are turning to remote working solutions than ever before. Not only is remote work more convenient, but it also decreases stress and anxiety among workers. However, for remote projects to get the best results, companies require adequately trained and highly skilled project managers to lead remote teams. MANCOSA offers a Bachelor of Commerce in Project Management that helps train your employees to become excellent remote project managers. This article will discuss the shift to remote work in South Africa and its challenges to companies. We’ll also talk about the best solutions to these problems and how you can ensure your remote teams are appropriately managed.
The shift to remote working in South Africa
South Africa’s work landscape is changing, with far more employees working remotely than before the global pandemic. A new study found that more than a third of South Africa’s middle-class split work between home and office. Remote work has opened doors for new job opportunities and work styles. In many instances, it improves work-life balance and employee satisfaction. While it’s clear that remote work has many benefits, it does come with several challenges — especially for project managers who are expected to manage a team, the project, and deliverables.
Challenges of remote project management
Below are some areas that could pose difficulties for a practitioner who manages remote projects.
- Miscommunication issues: Communication is a vital aspect of project management. A lack of seamless corporate communication can significantly impact a team’s efficiency and project turnaround time. This is especially true if the team takes long to respond to each other to get clarifications or receive feedback.
- Lack of personal interaction: Remote teams can feel disconnected since technology often removes the personal element of interaction. This can also cause a lack of cohesion since it’s harder to build interpersonal connections. Instead of having an attitude of “we’re a team,” team members may feel like they’re a team of one.
- Time zone issues: If your remote team is situated in different countries, the difference in time zones may be challenging to navigate. Finding appropriate times for team meetings could be tricky — especially if the time difference exceeds eight hours. Sometimes, team members may even need to sacrifice their personal time to attend these meetings, which decreases employee satisfaction.
- Tracking progress and accountability: Tracking remote employees’ progress and working hours can be challenging. This makes keeping employees accountable and ensuring they do the expected work more complex. You also don’t want to micromanage them since this could break trust and lead to high employee turnover.
- Cybersecurity and data breaches: Technology opens up a new world of communication and systems for companies and their employees. However, with technology comes an increased risk of online hackers that can breach systems and get their hands on sensitive data and information.
- Lack of internet connectivity: Loadshedding poses a massive threat to remote work in SA since it often results in a lack of internet connection. With some load-shedding time slots spanning up to four hours, employees who do not have power during that time lose their internet connection and cannot work.
Solutions to address remote project management challenges
While there are several challenges associated with remote work, many of these challenges have simple solutions that training with a Project Management Degree, could help overcome these possible issues.
- Effective communication strategies: Project managers can use tools and platforms like Slack or Spinach.io to streamline communication and help employees get immediate feedback. They should also work towards normalising informal interactions between workers so they can build better relationships and improve overall company culture.
- Setting work procedures and protocols: Companies can develop specific guidelines, procedures, and protocols to make remote working easier for everyone involved. For example, employees must have a quiet, distraction-free workspace when working from home.
- Time zone solutions: Businesses can divide teams into geographical regions and similar time zones. For example, South African and U.K. workers could be on the same team since they have a time difference of one hour. This would make working together far more convenient and accessible for team meetings and follow-up calls.
- Virtual team-building activities: To build stronger remote teams, companies can implement virtual team-building activities, such as remote get-togethers, and online group games, such as Escape Rooms, Scavenger Hunts, or Bingo Nights. Companies could also host online year-end functions where team members of different departments get to know each other.
- Remote-aligned tools and technologies for remote working: Companies can get project management tools to help navigate specific projects and ensure deadlines are reached. Some popular tools include ClickUp, Asana, and Air Table.
Having a dedicated project manager organise and manage remote teams in your business could help improve all remote processes and lead to higher productivity and better project results.
Project Management Degree and Courses: Future trends
As more teams start to work remotely and with the rise of AI and technology, a Project Management Degree becomes even more vital and relevant. All companies require educated project managers to help manage their projects and teams. This is why having managers appropriately trained with a solid training programme, such as a Bachelor of Commerce in Project Management, is vital for your company’s success. A Project Management Degree will equip your workforce with essential skills to execute and complete tasks and projects on time. They’ll gain crucial leadership abilities so they can lead teams across different departments.
Register for Project Management Courses with MANCOSA
If your company needs more qualified project managers to help lead your remote teams, investing in a Project Management Degree is the best action. Having qualified personnel will help you increase productivity and employee satisfaction and help you remain competitive in your industry. Learn more about or register online for the Bachelor of Commerce in Project Management.