Remote Project Management: The Pros and Cons

August 31, 2021 / by Frederid Palacios

The remote workforce is growing at a drastic rate. As a result of the pandemic, companies were forced to send their employees home, and a year later, most professionals have grown accustomed to remote work. Even though some companies are bringing their team members back into the office, the vast majority are planning to remain remote or offer remote options. While remote project management can be highly beneficial, it does come with some challenges that are critical to be aware of. To ensure the success of your remote team, take into consideration this in-depth list of the pros and cons of remote project management.

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1. Flexibility

Perhaps the most significant benefit of working remotely is the flexibility that it offers. Employees can work in the location that best suits their needs. Not only is this beneficial for safety reasons, but it can also provide employees a better work/life balance. While working from home, employees can eliminate commute time and spend more time at home with their families and pets.

In addition to a flexible location, many remote teams are also allowed to maintain a more flexible schedule. As long as employees meet with their teams at specified times and work the correct number of hours, they can manage their time as they please. This autonomy allows employees to work in a way that works best for them, leading to even more benefits.


2. Employee Satisfaction

The flexibility offers to employees through remote work often translates to greater employee satisfaction. A significant stressor for many professionals is how to balance their personal life with work. Fortunately, with a flexible schedule and workspace, this is possible. As employees no longer experience a lengthy and stressful commute and can remain at home, they have more time in their day for the things they enjoy.

Additionally, because employees are in a comfortable and familiar workspace, they may feel more relaxed while working. For employees to be satisfied in their jobs, it is critical that stress is minimized. If employees have to make personal sacrifices for their job, they may start to resent it. For this reason, ensuring that your employees have a healthy work/life balance is instrumental in reducing stress and increasing employee satisfaction.


3. Productivity

Job satisfaction directly correlates with productivity. The more that an employee enjoys their job and the work they do, the harder they will work to succeed. Allowing your employees to work in the environment that best suits their preferences is critical to increasing productivity. While many believed that work-from-home employees would see a decrease in productivity, the opposite is true. As employees can better control their schedules and location, they can work in a manner that best suits them.

Many professionals find the office to be very distracting, as there are more people and factors outside of one's control. On the other hand, while working remotely, employees can control their environment to ensure that it cultivates focus and productivity. The flexibility to work when and where one wants allows employees to adapt to their natural energy cycles, drastically increasing productivity.


4. Improved Retention

Employee retention is critical for the success and longevity of a business. Not only is retention necessary for maintaining the talent you have invested in, but it is also expensive to replace and train new employees. As a manager, it should be one of your top priorities to ensure that your employees stay, and want to stay, with your organization. Fortunately, offering opportunities for remote work is believed to improve employee retention.

As remote work enables a better work/life balance, employees are happier with their jobs and more inclined to stay with your company. Furthermore, the more productive your employees are in their roles, the better their performance will be. Everyone likes to succeed in their job, so the better your employees perform, the more likely they will be to stay with your organization.


5. Deeper Talent Pool

Another excellent benefit of remote work is the increased access to talent it offers. As a specific geographic location does not define your talent pool, you can obtain top talent from any location. This opens your options for new talent tremendously, ensuring that your organization is equipped with the highest quality of team members. The better that your workforce is, the more successful that your business will be.


6. Savings

Remote work can also be a highly cost-effective option for companies. As there is less office space to be acquired and maintained, you will save significantly. With these savings, you can invest more in technology and tools that will drive your business forward and allow remote employees to work together seamlessly.


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1. Scheduling Challenges

Perhaps one of the biggest disadvantages of remote work is the potential for scheduling challenges. As employees may not all be working the typical 9-5 or work from a different time zone, employees will need to be flexible when scheduling with one another. Employees also need to respect one another's time and understand that scheduling flexibility is required. It is not reasonable for an employee to have a meeting in the middle of the night because it is more convenient for another team member.

Even though team members are not working in the same physical space, it is still critical that they collaborate. Utilizing a shared calendar can be beneficial in managing time conflicts and scheduling meetings.


2. Poor Communication

Another challenge that remote project managers often face is a lack of communication. As employees are not working in the same workspace, they rely on technology to communicate. For this reason, employees must be reliable in attending meetings and responding to emails and messages. While employees should not be expected to reply immediately or be available 24/7, they must communicate with team members for remote work to be feasible.


3. Lack of Accountability

Hand-in-hand with poor communication is accountability. In the traditional office, if an employee misses a meeting or ignores an email, they can be tracked down in the office. For remote work, this is not possible.

It can be challenging to hold employees accountable when working remotely, so managers must trust that the team members they have chosen will be accountable and present. Fortunately, time tracking software and regular check-in meetings can be beneficial to hold employees accountable and ensure that they are on track with projects. Setting policies for remote work is vital to holding employees accountable.


4. Cultivating Company Culture

Company culture is a significant aspect of being a member of any organization. For work not to feel cold and transactional, employees build workplace relationships with one another and experience the company's culture. This can be difficult to achieve with remote employees, but there are methods of doing so. Implementing virtual "happy hours" or social meetings can allow remote employees to experience your company's culture from their homes.


The Modern Office is Remote

Remote work is a new concept for many organizations, but it can provide your business with countless benefits if implemented and managed correctly. With a reliable and responsible workforce, remote work is a feasible option for every business. Allowing your employees the flexibility to choose their workspace can increase job satisfaction, employee retention, productivity, and more. With these pros and cons in mind, your organization will be ready to establish remote project management.


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Tags: Project Management, Remote Work

Frederid Palacios

Written by Frederid Palacios

Fred Palacios is a seasoned software architect with more than 20 years of experience participating in the entire software development cycle across a host of different industries--from automotive and services to petroleum, financial, and supply chain. In that time, his experience working closely with high-level stakeholders has provided him with a strategic vision for developing the right solutions to flexibly meet critical business needs. As CTO of Intertec, he's continuing to focus on the creation of business-critical applications for large enterprise projects, particularly those that handle high concurrency and large datasets. He is passionate about using technology as a tool to solve real-world problems and also mentoring technical teams to achieve their maximum potential and deliver quality software.

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