Many businesses are investing much of their time and money into turning their companies into hybrids that employ a staff of both in-office and remote workers. And when you consider the benefits of remote work, it’s easy to understand why. Its virtues include boosts in productivity, less stress for employees, improvement in morale, and flexible schedules.
In fact, research suggests that remote work is here to stay. Since 2005, the number of people who work from home has increased by 140% and it’s expected that Gen-Z employees will be well-equipped with the digital skills required to handle remote demands. However, despite the many benefits of remote work, business owners still wonder how they can ensure that they have a solid staff if most of their interactions are virtual. Here are a few tips for building a remote team that you can be proud of.
When building a remote team, you must first consider the current culture of your company. Of course, the individuals that you bring on board will alter the company in some way, but it’s important that you consider how your leadership affects the values and foundation of your business. Do you encourage transparency? Is your culture one that’s conducive to learning from failures? Do you place a value on work-life balance?
Whatever your priorities are, you need to ensure that they’re well defined. Once you have concrete information, you need to pass it on to both your in-office and remote employees. This way, they’ll always have something to defer to when interacting with co-workers and clients. And most importantly, those in leadership roles will be able to make better decisions.
The best teams are those that consist of individuals from various backgrounds, with diverse skills and knowledge, and who have different points of view. In order to achieve this balance of people, it’s essential that you put just as much time and effort into the hiring process for remote workers as you do for those in-office.
During the onboarding process, make sure that the remote employee understands the mission of your company. Introduce them to the rest of your staff. Supply them with all of the tools and resources that they’ll need in order to give their best performance. In other words, for all intents and purposes, this individual is an in-person employee who’s simply away from the office.
When forming your remote dream team, there’s nothing more important than communication. The more you communicate, the better. The good news is that the rise in telecommuting has given rise to the creation of digital tools that make it easier to keep in touch and collaborate with your online staff.
Connect with your team through chat. Communicating through the written word helps to ensure that your staff knows what’s expected of them. Unlike email, chat apps keep communication swift and up-to-date. Also, these apps can help to make your interactions more personable and your staff can become better acquainted. Ideally, your employees should be encouraged to build great working relationships
There are also a lot of collaboration tools. Be on the lookout for tools that give you the ability to manage your projects. Find those that help with content creation and allow you to set and track deadlines. This is an excellent way to remain transparent and impart a sense of accountability without your having to micromanage your remote employees. It’s essential that everyone has a good grasp of what others are working on and where they fit into the equation.
You may also consider using video tools. Sure, written communication can help to set things in stone. However, sometimes it’s a good idea to use a medium that’s a little more engaging. And this is exactly what you get with video tools such as Zoom and Skype. They give you the ability to check-in with your remote employees. These face-to-face meetings can be done once per week or even once every other week.
When communicating your needs to your remote staff, it’s always a good idea to offer positive reinforcement so that they know you appreciate their job performance. For instance, when you set meetings during certain times of the day, make sure that you make it a point to thank everyone for being on time. When you encourage your staff to interact with each other through chat, make it a point to thank them for keeping the lines of communication open. If you always encourage your staff to offer their input and ideas, immediately thank people for their contributions to the discussion.
Another huge benefit of a remote work environment is that it will save your company a significant amount of money. You won’t spend as much on utilities and overhead because there won’t be as many employees physically present in your office space. However, if you want to keep the morale up, you should reinvest some of these savings and invest it in your staff.
Specifically, you should consider paying for your remote employees to travel to your place of business for in-person meetings. Perhaps you could send your entire staff to a team-building retreat or conference. This will help to reinforce the culture that you want.
One of the best ways to measure how satisfied and engaged your employees are is by routinely asking for feedback. You may define the culture of your company, but ultimately it’s your staff who is tasked with working according to these values. And these values can occasionally get lost along the way.
So instead of only monitoring their performance or waiting for it to show up in the way in which they communicate, you should consider taking the proactive approach. Have your remote employees fill out surveys about their experience. You may ask them to submit their surveys anonymously so that they’re able to be a bit more upfront about how they really feel.
Not all feedback needs to be anonymous. You may also invite your employees to share their thoughts during meetings. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and that you’re being as productive as possible. Not only does feedback give you insight into things that you may need to change, but it also makes your staff feel more empowered.
There’s no doubt about it, remote work can be extremely beneficial to both the company and its employees. However, if you want to get the most out of this structure, you must be willing to put the time and effort into crafting your ideal team. Building a great remote team requires you to focus on communication and cultivating strong relationships.