A remote team is composed of diverse professionals from different backgrounds, skill-sets, and geographic locations working together to fulfill a common goal set by their employer. Remote teams generally function similar to regular work teams, except the individuals that make up a remote team rarely meet in person. Instead, all communication and collaboration are done electronically, i.e., online.
Benefits of a Remote Team
The biggest advantage of a remote team is the expanded talent pool that the setup offers employers. Your hiring efforts are not limited to geographic proximity, so you have access to the best talent, all over the world. This international connection can also be helpful to companies who are looking to expand their reach to markets in other countries.
Another advantage of remote teams is the reduction of overhead costs. Office bills such as rent, electricity, and internet can be significantly reduced, if not eliminated. And if the company is not providing office equipment such as laptops, it can save a chunk of cash on what would have been technology expenses.
Remote teams also provide employers with a 24/7 workforce, if the company is spread around the globe since at least one person works every hour of the day. This can be useful for businesses that need global customer service, sales, and technical support.
Though some employers are wary of working with remote teams out of fear of unproductivity, surveys have found the out-of-office setup helps employees become more flexible, efficient, and self-sufficient.
How to Hire a Remote Team
The hiring process of a remote team follows the basic processes of regular hiring, except everything is done without meeting in person. This means that the hiring process is quicker, especially since it goes through some steps more quickly (e.g., posting job openings, vetting candidates, communicating with potential hires, etc.). That said, this scenario is only possible with a well-thought-out hiring process that is designed to facilitate a seamless experience that anticipates the challenges of remote work.
The onboarding process of a remote team is also different. Remote employees must be given a clear and comprehensive picture of what should be expected in terms of salary, responsibilities, policies, processes, and goals; expectations of the role should be communicated.
It is also crucial to make remote employees feel like a part of a team, which you can do by assimilating them into the environment through team introductions or team building programs.
How to Manage a Remote Team
Many of the challenges of a remote team fall on the shoulders of the manager. Aside from achieving the team’s goals, the manager has to ensure the happiness, productivity, and communication of the team. This poses some difficulty given the virtual setup, but there are some ways to make the experience beneficial for all those involved.
Burnout, a state of exhaustion caused by prolonged stress, is a common problem in remote teams. To combat this, employers should encourage boundaries between their employees and the work (e.g., an employee’s “off” hours)—and ensure that these are not crossed.
Be Transparent With Progress
It can be difficult for remote employees to clearly understand what’s going on in a project because of time and geographic differences. So managers must regularly communicate team progress so that everyone can work more efficiently towards achieving a common goal.
Keep Communication Seamless
Communication is everything in a remote team, so these channels should always be kept open. Encourage employees to give updates about their work, ask other team members for help if needed, and share quick tidbits about life to boost camaraderie.
Invest in a Good Project Management Program
A project management program helps employers get a picture of how the team is doing. It helps keep track of deliverables and due dates, helping pinpoint areas of improvement and achievements.
Encourage, Embrace, and Respect Diversity
Remote teams are typically made up of people from different backgrounds and cultures. So managers must foster an open and respectful environment so that everyone can comfortably do their jobs without fear of prejudice or discrimination.
Remote work is on its way to becoming the norm; more and more companies have shifted to operating with remote teams. To get ahead of the curve, employers should learn more about how to effectively develop a remote-based team. If you are on the lookout for remote employees, Guru can help you connect with qualified freelancers to round out your team.