One of the most challenging projects a company can do is a construction project in remote areas. Remote project management involves ensuring projects run smoothly and are completed on time and budget while managing a remote team.
It’s not easy. Communication and scheduling are the main concerns of remote companies, and both are important for good project management.
Remote sites may mean extreme operating conditions, usually in an isolated area without cellular network coverage or other standard services generally regarded as essential. Still, remote working, in general, has several benefits that apply to the construction business.
Why is Remote Management Gaining Traction in Construction?
The construction is slow to implement new technologies. Many different technological challenges in the construction industry contribute to the slow pace of digital installation.
However, this picture has been changing over the past few years. Technological advances such as RFID scanners, GPS trackers, 3D mapping software, and drones are now widespread in construction sites.
Project management tools have also enabled project managers to carry out their regular duties even from the construction site.
Remote management is one of the next logical steps in developing the construction industry. As more construction projects increase in size and complexity, managing staff schedules, assigning tasks, and monitoring progress can improve work efficiency and productivity.
Other vital elements include back office liaison such as accounting, lien management, and marketing with on-field staff. The benefits of remote management tools also have created new challenges that project managers need to overcome.
Construction technology is unprecedented, and many project managers can find the tools to manage staff remotely.
What are the Benefits of Remote Project Management?
Managing projects remotely has its advantages and disadvantages.
Nearly 60% of workers say they are most productive when working from home. Additionally, 86% of remote workers describe their productivity as good or excellent.
Research shows that remote team members have a 13% chance of staying with their current company. The main reason for this is that they are usually happier working in another location rather than the office.
Access to top talent
Managing a remote team means you will be able to hire people from all over the world. This ensures that you will not be limited to hiring local talent. Instead, you can hire the best fit for the position regardless of location.
Remote groups are usually more affordable than local ones. Companies can save up to $ 2,000 per job if they switch to remote operations.
Remote Management Tips for Construction Project Managers
Managing a construction job site with limited supplies and information is often quite a challenge, especially when it’s miles away from the office. Here are seven tips to make remote project management more effortless.
1. Look for a good communication platform and stick to it.
Another challenge that project managers have to deal with is communicating with team members on the field. Effective communication and collaboration are essential when it comes to time tracking for remote employees.
But if team members are scattered across multiple sites, this can be a real challenge. Lack of a well-defined communication system will result in team members reaching out to each other through different channels. Using different platforms leads to inefficiencies and uncoordinated communication.
The first thing in establishing good communication is determining which platform to use. Fortunately, there are several communication tools available for project managers designed for construction teams.
You have a few options for currently available communication tools on the market that you can use for online meetings, text and video chats, and emails. Ideally, you want a collaborative platform to integrate construction site information and control how it is distributed. Here are a few types of software required by any developer remotely:
Project Management Software – The complexity of construction projects can make management difficult. Project management software where you can submit tasks can ensure that all participants are on the same page.
Team Conference Software – If instant email is not enough, face-to-face contact with team conference software can make communication flow more freely between you and your remote team.
Employee Planning Software – As many sites work with extended hours covering multiple shifts, you may need to use employee planning software to manage your employees.
Whatever your preference, use only one communication tool and stick to it to maintain consistency.
2. Use project management software tools.
There are two things you need to do when managing construction work. First, you need to have all the team members on the same page. And second, you need to be able to deal with problems quickly to prevent delays. To do this, you need to use a project management tool to identify site problems, track activities, and set deadlines.
Also, there are many project management software tools available on the market. No matter what you use, look for a tool that allows you to organize your tasks by type or urgency, specify the work to be done, and set up a plan to prevent project delays.
3. Track employee hours using digital time tracking
Punch cards, time records, and paper timesheets became the standard for time tracking in many industries. Even now, many construction firms are using them simply because the system has been in operation for some time.
However, this process is highly inefficient, inconsistent, and prone to human errors that cause payment errors. Compiling data takes a lot of time and does not prevent time theft.
Employees who use time tracking systems may view daily interruptions as inconveniences. Some may also turn to punching in for colleagues who are running late. A few minutes lost here and there may not seem much, but it certainly adds to the wage bill.
In contrast, digital time tracking in the clouds allows project managers to eliminate time theft, buddy punching, and other typical time-tracking inconsistencies. It also allows real-time tracking and requires minimal care, which frees up HR time and project managers who can use it for more productive tasks.
4. Handle Expectations
Managing remote employees also entails managing expectations. Expectations should be defined, and your team should be aware of vendor skills, transition times, communication principles, and other broad-related changes. If expectations are not set, performance will not go smoothly.
Expectations are inevitable and will affect projects in a variety of ways. By managing expectations, you will have more successful projects, satisfied stakeholders, and engaged teams. This includes meeting expectations during project planning and implementation, communicating regularly, and focusing on practical goals.
5. Invest in regular training
While it may seem absurd, staff training is one of the lowest aspects of human resource management in the construction industry. An efficient construction business will see that training contributes to all primary business objectives:
- Staff retention
- Hiring efforts
- Staff quality
- Bottom lines
Training should not be done during the onboarding process only. It should be an ongoing, ever-changing process for an employee.
6. Create robust technical support teams
Employees can become frustrated if their remote working tools aren’t running, especially if they’re working remotely. A robust IT support team that’s available 24/7 for emergencies can get remote employees back to work more quickly.
Whether your in-house IT team handles all IT support or you outsource the services, develop a system for quickly resolving IT issues for remote employees. Allow users to call a support desk directly and aim for short resolution times.
If you’re outsourcing, consider opting for fully-managed services – whereby the vendor’s technicians can work directly with users and access your IT systems – rather than a break-fix arrangement.
If your team is based in a single time zone, then providing 24/7 support may prove difficult. However, everything depends on the company you select to provide the support. If you sign an agreement with a reliable company with a proven track record, then there is no need to worry.
7. Make Safety a Priority
Lack of employee health and safety training can create legal problems in your business. Construction companies have to invest in the safety of employees from the time they are hired and throughout their work.
Prioritizing the safety of your employees will overall reduce any risks present. Providing your employees with adequate occupational safety training will reduce the chances of injury on-site and increase employees’ self-awareness.
For the benefit of employees, you can use online software that allows employees to access any training content at any time. This can be updated and changed, simplifying the process of keeping employees informed of any changes.
Remote management in the construction industry is not very difficult, but it is very challenging. Collaborating in a remote work environment takes commitment from each team member.
To create effective relationships with your employees, make sure you use the right platform for effective communication. Regular communication, tracking of records, and actively reviewing work assignments will allow you to run your project successfully.Industrial construction companies must work by adopting the latest technology and tools to manage their remote work effectively. You can contact us to have your questions answered.