A guide to hiring and managing remote teams
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A Guide to Hiring and Managing Remote Teams

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Are you thinking of hiring a remote team? This guide will cover all of the key areas regarding virtual recruiting, why choose a remote work setting, how to onboard a remote employee, tips to manage remote teams, and a list of useful tools for remote teams.

If you are a new or established business looking to go down the route of hiring (and managing) a remote team, this guide is for you.

Let’s get started:

What Is a Remote Team?

What Is a Remote Team?

A remote team refers to a group of employees who telecommute to work from various locations spread across cities, countries, and even continents. Today, a significant part of the global workforce consists of remote teams.

Remote teams offer an array of benefits for both enterprise and employee. However, if your shift to digitalization is still in its infancy, you are likely to encounter many challenges. 

Even with modern technology at hand, you and your team are bound to face difficulties adapting to new protocols and procedures involved in remote work.

Managing employees who are new to remote work will undoubtedly be challenging for you. But when handled well, remote teams can be equally efficient and productive, if not more, than their office-based counterparts.

Fully remote means an individual, team, or company that is not based out of a centralized office location. For example, a team may have a “fully remote” member who works remotely all the time while their colleagues work from an office. 

Conversely, an entire team or company may be fully remote, meaning that no employee attends an in-person office location. 

Fully remote companies are on the rise, too. Well-known businesses like Buffer, Zapier, Hubstaff, and GitLab are examples of making 100% remote teams work.

Why Should You Build a Remote Team?

The rise of remote work might be unavoidable, and you should want to take advantage. Allowing remote work can benefit not only your employees but you as a manager and the organization as a whole.

Access these stats:

  • 95% of respondents say that their productivity has been higher or the same working from home because there are fewer distractions. (Source)
  • By some estimates, allowing employees to work from home just half of the time can save employers approximately $11,000 per employee. (Source)
  • 94% of remote workers surveyed said they recommend remote work for others. (Source)

Recommended Read: 80 Employee Benefits Ideas for Remote Workers [2021 Guide]

Here are some benefits of building a remote team:

benefits of building a remote Team

Lower business costs

One of the great benefits of building a remote team is lower business costs. Living in these difficult times has made us tight on our budgets, barely leaving any room for non-essential functions. 

Building a remote team fits perfectly in this idea since it helps connect with all colleagues while saving day-to-day workplace costs. You can organize meetings, conduct one-on-one help sessions, and bond with team members with various fun activities, all at the comfort of their homes. 

By offering more remote work options, Dell saved $12 million a year in office space costs.

Recommended Read: 15 Effective Ways to Create a More Connected Workplace

Widening the talent pool

Building a remote team doesn’t create a lot of difference in the daily work of an organization. But, it adds immensely to the existing talent pool. You can hire employees regardless of their geographical location if you think they’re an excellent fit for the job. 

Employees can collaborate virtually and contribute much better to the project at hand. Team building ensures that people coordinate among themselves to complete a task at their convenience and save time.

Recommended Read: How to Successfully Hire Right Talent for a Startup: [2021 Updated Guide]

More engaged workforce

Virtual team building ensures that your employees remain more engaged with the organization. They can discuss, collaborate and accomplish as per their convenience. 

While working from home can make it difficult to concentrate, team building ensures that employees can work together, break the ice more easily and work collaboratively to accomplish their goals. 

One thing you can do is remind people of the good times before and ensure that you are with them in these challenging situations.

Trivia to engage remote employees

Recommended Read: The Ultimate Employee Engagement Guide for 2021 (Complete Explanation)

More diverse workforce

An organization that has employees from different walks of life brings in the best work culture. Be it different geographical locations, race, gender, etc., remote team building allows you to celebrate it. 

You can build meaningful relationships with your employees and nurture them to bring out their best. Remote team building also ensures that employees develop sensitivity to each other and learn to embrace and work in diversity.

Offer flexibility to employees

The average employee is willing to give up 8% of their wages for the option to work from home.

With remote team building, you can offer a great deal of flexibility to your employees when it comes to day-to-day work. While you can discuss, collaborate and achieve together, teams are free to work at their convenience. 

Constantly working under tight deadlines and adhering to strict work schedules can cause burnout. A virtual team building ensures that teams work cohesively without having to stick to definite work hours.

Recommended Read: The Do’s and Don’ts of a Flexible Work Schedule

Higher retention rates

Employees love an organization that boosts their morale helps them increase their productivity, and has a growth-focused work culture. At the same time, there should be an environment of enthusiasm at the workplace. 

With remote team building, you can work on all of these aspects effortlessly. Organize meetups and brainstorming sessions where everyone can present their ideas. 

Similarly, have a one-on-one session and fun time-out once or twice a week to give your hard-working teams a break they deserve. This way, your employees stay happy and loyal to your organization, knowing that they are valued. 

Check Out This Podcast: Niyati Goel on the Importance of Organization Design for Workplace Culture

How to Conduct Remote Interviews

How to Conduct Remote Interviews

No in-office interviews? No problem. Master the art of remote interviewing and find creative ways to highlight your company culture online so you can get to know your candidates from anywhere — and vice versa.

47% of employers use video interviews. (Source)

“Just sending a candidate a link to a video interview can be jarring. … Give guidance about the experience and what’s expected from the interview.” Imo Udom, Chief Product and Strategy Officer at OutMatch

Here are some quick tips:

Set clear expectations upfront

Let the candidates know in advance which video conference tools you use so they can download the tool ahead of time.

Have a tech backup plan

Guide the candidates on what to do if the connection is poor, like turning off the face camera or switching to a mobile device.

Active listening

Don’t look down at your notes while the candidate is speaking, and wait a few seconds before responding to allow for delays.

Choose a quiet location

Pick a quiet, well-lit location, check your video and audio, and mute all notifications.

Be friendly

Give a quick overview of what you’re going to cover in the interview and use positive body language.

Are you new to remote interviewing or want to improve your process? In this guide, you’ll discover ten amazing remote interview tips.

How to Onboard Remote Employees

How to Onboard Remote Employees

You need a great onboarding process to convince them that they’ve made the right decision. 

A successful virtual onboarding experience depends on two elements: creating effective lines of remote communication and getting your new hires set up with the tools and tech they need.

Recommended Read: Top 101 Remote Work Tools For Happy And Productive Remote Teams [2021 Updated]

Help them to set up

Order equipments, set up systems, and make sure their home office space is ready before the first day.

Create a roadmap

Set clear expectations for new hires by providing a detailed schedule.

Schedule a virtual meet-and-greet with the team

Let new hires meet the entire team or company, so they begin to form bonds with the team.

Set up regular check-ins

Schedule regular check-ins with their managers and set up virtual ice-breaker sessions.

Tech support

Create and share an FAQ for solving common tech issues during the onboarding process. 39% of employees have technology issues during the onboarding process.

This checklist will show you a few ideas for onboarding new remote employees.

The Challenges of Managing a Remote Team

The Challenges of Managing a Remote Team

Lacking the right communication tool

Managing a remote team has several challenges. One of the most notable of these is communication. While you can walk up to anyone in person at the workplace, things are slightly different when your employees work from home. That’s why you need the right communication tools to help you convey a message. 

Unfortunately, most organizations lack the right communication tool, which results in their employees being clueless about their day-to-day tasks, meetings, and other important information. 

Make sure that you leverage the right tool for clear communication and providing updates to your team.

Less transparency and visibility

Having a remote team means you cannot physically take a look at your employees and their tasks.  This means less visibility in terms of work. Similarly, since people cannot approach you in person, they might hesitate to talk about some matters. While this creates less transparency, it also makes people demotivated. 

In addition, if your employees are located at different geographical locations, coordinating the work time can be challenging.  The problem escalates further if your team members are from different time zones.

Cultural differences

Another popular challenge is dealing with employees across different cultures. The idea is that a global workforce has cultural, linguistics, and other divides, which must be kept in mind while dealing with them. 

These differences can impact employee interactions and lead to a discrepancy in the completion of tasks. In the long run, it can also lead to bitterness within the team and decreased productivity. 

As a team leader, you must note this fact and ensure that all team members are given adequate responsibilities without any favoritism on behalf of cultural familiarity.

Difficult tracking employee performance

Ensuring that your employees are performing their duties efficiently in a remote environment is quite difficult.

How do you make sure that they’re not just logging in and leaving their desks? While you must let your employees work flexibly, you also need to make sure they finish their duties on time. 

Additionally, you also need to know whether your employees are using their time efficiently and effectively. It’s best to have an open communication channel where you’re explicit about your expectations while your employees show their work transparently.

Employees can feel less engaged

One of the fatigues of working in a remote environment is reduced engagement. Intuitively, working in a physical office is a warm experience filled with enthusiasm. On the other hand, there are no in-person meetings, fun physical activities, office lunches, and more with a remote team. 

All of this leads to reduced engagement. Workers often feel left out of the organization and are left with low morale. 

As a manager, you must ensure that employees are engaged in your organization apart from delivering projects and tasks on time. You can leverage some team-building activities for this task to increase communication and help people bond with each other.

Recommended Read: 10 Employee Engagement Strategy Tips To Boost Productivity in 2021

Remote Team Management: 8 Tips for Managing a Remote Team

Managing a Remote Team

Whether your team is fully or just partially remote, remote management must account for various challenges that dispersed employees face. Wondering how to manage remote teams? We have got you some tips for managing a remote team:

Schedule regular check-ins

Trust remote employees to work autonomously, but staying connected is important too. Be sure to touch base regularly. Ask them about their day, how they have been feeling lately, and whether they face any challenges.

Create an easily accessible go-to playbook

Document and share processes in one centralized location, so employees always know where to look for information.

A playbook ensures that employees are motivated towards success. This guidebook also helps employees feel more connected to work and abide by the set of rules.

Set the clear expectation early

Set your expectations from every employee and establish a clear purpose to give your team a direction at work.

Set clear expectations for Working hours, Communication tools, Timely meetings, Key projects and deadlines, Roles and responsibilities, etc.

Focus on outcomes, not individual activities

With less visibility into employees’ day-to-day work, measuring outcomes is the best way to evaluate their productivity. You can conduct online one-on-one meetings. It’s a great way to give and receive constructive feedback.

Help employees feel connected to your culture

Organize virtual team-building activities and games so the whole team can get together beyond work. 69% of employees say they’d work harder if they were appreciated. This is why you must create an online recognition system for your remote employees.

Culture of recognition with EngageWith

Build strategic lines of communication

Teach employees to be responsive online, and schedule regular virtual meetings to share key information with the team quickly. 

Invest in the right tools and technology

Technology and tools can help remote workers to overcome communication barriers. Choose a specific team communication tool such as Slack or MS Teams to simplify remote communication.

Hone your remote communication skills

When you work remotely, your colleagues can only hear you on calls and talk to you over Slack or e-mail. There’s no physical interaction. Therefore, you must hone your communication (verbal and writing) skills to avoid ambiguity and help people understand more effectively.

How to Write a Remote Work Policy

Companies like Springworks, Square, and Twitter have announced permanent work from home. To make this decision successful, they’ll need a solid remote work policy that sets clear expectations and promotes a healthy work culture. 

Google’s remote work policy outlines virtual training and sessions they’ve made to help employees with the transition.

Here are some tips for creating a work from home policy:

Establish formal work schedules

Your remote work policy should specify the number of hours your employees have to stay active. Yes, they can choose to complete the work flexibly, but they must plan the work hours appropriately for communicating and working collaboratively. 

As a manager, you must define the work hours for your employees to work, share, collaborate and hold discussions without hassles. But, make sure you adopt a flexible approach while doing this.

Set up remote work review processes

Even if your employees work from home, you’ll still have to set up a review process to evaluate their performance. Create an outline of the remote work process making sure that everyone benefits from it and puts in their best efforts. 

It’s best to receive feedback on your performance evaluation policy from other department heads. This way, you can make up for points you might have missed in your outline.

Create a tech support guide

A vital component of the remote work policy is defining robust tech support. When working remotely, your employees may find issues dealing with software tools, wifi, laptop, etc. 

Therefore, you should help them deal with such situations by providing them with detailed instructions, necessary links to security tools, and data protection guidelines they might need.

Clarify remote work rules

Since your employees are working remotely, your organization might want to cover some expenses regarding their services. While employees have trouble understanding what’s covered and what’s no, make sure your remote work policy defines it suitably. 

Similarly, there’s often a lot of confusion regarding availing of sick days and vacations. Help your employees understand these and make the most out of their benefits!

Do regular policy reviews

It’s important to review your policy quarterly or when major events occur in or outside of your company to make sure it’s still relevant. You can also make your policy public like Mark Zuckerberg did.

Recommended Read: The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work In 2021

Resources and Tools to Manage Remote Teams

Sourcing and remote recruitment

SpringRecruit

Team Communication

Slack

MS Teams

Video Meeting

Zoom

GoToMeeting

Organization Tools

Google Drive

Dropbox

Evernote

Project Management

Asana

Trello

Notion

Remote Team Building Activities

Trivia

Employee Recognition and Reward

EngageWith

FAQs

Why do employees want remote work options?

Here are some reasons:
– They feel more productive
– It gives them the flexibility to achieve a work-life balance
– Remote work opens up positions beyond geographic borders
– Fewer expenses

What are the challenges of remote working?

Here are some remote work challenges:
– Time zone differences
– Technology issues
– Not a clear picture on project progress and team tasks
– Remote communication issues
– Dealing with cultural differences

How can you create a meaningful remote onboarding system?

For someone new to your company and away from the office from the start, consider these tips for your onboarding checklist.

What software do you use/suggest for remote working?

There are hundreds of remote tools out there – we have our ultimate list of the best tools that can get you operating in a fully remote fashion, broken down by purpose.

How do you manage a remote team?

In this guide, you’ll discover tips to manage your remote team.

How can you keep your remote team accountable and productive?

A few tips for you to ensure accountability and productivity:
– Empower your teams to create their ideal work environment
– Train your employees to succeed individually
– Check-in regularly with your staff

Pawan Kumar

I'm a Content Marketer at Springworks. I've been featured in many reputed publications and online magazines! I'm an avid reader and movie buff. Let's connect on Social Media.

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