As technology improves every day, more companies realize that they might not need to have employees physically working at their offices. Indeed, some businesses run by successful entrepreneurs might not need an office at all, as work can be done online. It’s now possible to hire people from all over the world to be part of a professional team.
However, building a remote team is not without its challenges. Because employees won’t be seeing each other every single day, it’s important to have systems in place that promote effective communication and collaboration. The team members also need to be comfortable working remotely, and every new member should go through a detailed onboarding process to ensure consistency.
Hire People Who Are Comfortable With Remote Work
It’s important to note that working remotely is not for everyone. It requires a high level of discipline and motivation coupled with a distinct can-do attitude. Many companies tend to hire highly skilled freelancers because they naturally fit the position, but many employees would work remotely if given the chance.
Communication should be the priority of any remote team in order to compensate for the lack of in-person interactions. So instead of just using emails, the company must invest in a platform for instant messages, such as Slack, and for video calls, such as Skype and Google Hangouts. It’s also important to encourage conversations and endeavor to create a company culture.
Have Tight Systems in Place
Businesses with remote workers need to have strong standard operating procedures to create consistency and keep everyone sane. Any task that’s likely to be performed by different people needs a detailed step-by-step guide. For instance, a publication working with content creators might need a standard operating procedure that specifies fonts, grammar style, and photo sizes for publishing blog posts.
Use Online Collaboration Tools
Employees will also need tools to collaborate adequately and in a timely manner. A company can use Dropbox or Google Drive to manage files, 1Password for security, and maybe Trello or Asana for project management. It’s also possible to use cloud services for bookkeeping solutions and even time management tools.
Create a Detailed Onboarding Process
It’s not uncommon for businesses to create an induction program for new employees, but for remote teams, the onboarding process is essential. A good idea is to develop training videos so new members fully understand their roles and how to perform their tasks.
Make Sure You Also Meet in Person
It may sound contradictory to expect remote teams to meet in person, but when employees get to know each other, they strengthen their friendships. This is beneficial to the company. Some startups, for example, create week-long events in exotic locations a few times a year to reinforce the culture and praise employees.
All in all, managing remote teams isn’t too dissimilar to managing normal office workers. It’s just necessary to focus on specific areas such as communication and collaboration. The great benefit for companies is being able to source talent internationally. In many cases, this can decrease costs considerably.