Thirty years ago, the workplace was a pretty consistent environment. There were cubicles, some conference rooms, and a few closed offices for high-level executives. People came into the office to work, and the idea of a “flexible” work environment was unheard of. Remote teams and your overseas expansion.
Times have changed, not only are office workspaces more creative and collaborative than ever, but companies are also more encouraging of working remotely. About three in four workers spend at least two days per week working from home, taking advantage of audio recorder technology and the comforts of a remote space.
Statistic after statistic extols the virtues of remote work; it’s a boon to productivity, it boosts morale and lowers stress for the majority of workers, and it reduces operating costs. As the practice grows in popularity, many have called it the future of work, and the new normal.
Whether your business is all remote-based, or just one segment of your team works off-site, here’s how to build a great remote team.
Because remote workers aren’t entering a building where the lobby and hallways are decked out with company logos and motivational company taglines, it’s easier for remote workers to feel disconnected from the company brand.
Sending company swag (t-shirts, phone cases, coffee cups, etc.) to your remote team can help to keep them connected to the company brand. Consider sending the swag to the remote worker’s entire family since they are essentially sharing the same “office” at times.
You can’t cut corners when hiring for your remote team. Put your remote workers through the same rigorous hiring standards you would anyone else. Hire a balanced team consisting of people of different upbringings, experiences, and ages, in order to bring a wide array of viewpoints to the table.
Early on in an entrepreneur’s startup journey, many tend to be skeptical of implementing a management hierarchy as it’s sometimes seen as unnecessarily bureaucratic , however, having a strong management backbone is integral for any remote workforce. Without this, teams often find themselves unsure of what to do or disconnected from the company’s goals.
Make sure project managers have weekly one-on-one meetings with each team member to ensure everyone is connected to the company mission and on track with their tasks. With this being said, make sure to avoid scheduling unnecessary meetings or creating an environment of constant check-ins. Respect their autonomy, provided they accomplish goals and tasks on time.
Whether it’s Slack, Skype, or something else, using a team messaging/collaboration program makes it easier for your team to stay in close contact. In addition to helping your team work more smoothly, these tools are great for the casual chatter that helps forge relationships. In Slack, you can create individual channels on various work topics, for specific teams and for off-topic chatter.
Showing recognition and expressing gratitude goes a long way with employees, especially those who are remote or freelance and probably feel less connected and visible than in-office staff. There are lots of ways to do this. You could give out bonuses for work well done, start a recognition program, or highlight employees in an internal newsletter. You could send remote freelancers a holiday gift, so they feel as valued as your employees.
Managing remote workers comes with its challenges, sure. But if you make an effort to build healthy relationships, get face time, communicate well and express gratitude, you, your remote team and your business will all benefit.