10 years ago, ScreamingBox started doing web and mobile app development relying solely on our remote developers. When the pandemic hit, it didn’t affect us that much, since our whole company had been based on remote working from the beginning.
As we have learned over the last decade, remote teams have become more popular because they offer a wider talent pool and work-life balance for employees. However, not all companies are prepared to embrace this dynamic. It takes resilience, strong communication channels, and trust to make a productive remote team. With a decade of experience, we offer the following remote team knowledge and advice for those looking to use and set-up remote teams.
Setting Up a Remote Team:
There are many ways to find talent for your remote team, especially using online job boards like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Upwork. You can also hire an agency or outsourcing and team extension companies like ScreamingBox to get high-proficient employees for your team. If you already have a team but are switching to a hybrid or completely remote dynamic, you may still want to consider these aspects. Below, you’ll find some tips that’ll help you successfully build a remote team.
1- Define Clear Roles and Responsibilities:
One of the most common mistakes that can ruin your team’s performance is not having clear responsibilities. This is particularly important in a remote team because you won’t be there to supervise your employees. They need to understand their role clearly, so it’s important to clarify any doubts and expectations.
2- Establish Communication Channels:
To facilitate seamless communication in your team, you need to establish multiple communication channels such as video conferencing, Slack, Google, Microsoft and task management tools. This is more challenging than it seems, since there are so many communication platforms, and finding the ones that all members of the team are using or familiar with is more challenging than you might think.
3- Enable Access to Technology:
Provide your remote team members with the tools, hardware, and technical support to ensure they have the resources needed to perform their roles effectively.
Key Considerations for Remote Teams:
Communication and Collaboration:
Communication is key when building your remote team. That’s why it is important to foster a virtual work culture. This consists of doing regular checkups with your team, having daily, weekly, and monthly stands up, and non-work-related activities to keep them engaged and happy. It is also important to find a balance in doing this, too many meetings/call can also frustrate and burn people out – try to find a good balance.
Daily standups are great because they provide a sense of commitment and accountability, and they should include what they did the day before and what they plan to do that day. If they turn into long calls with only one or two people doing all the talking, then you might need to try something else.
Also, remember these standups can involve large Time Zone differences between remote team members and that they can take time away from clients, so keep them as short as possible. You may also need to create a work schedule that includes each member’s time zone and call hours, so that alignment time is used well..
Trust and Autonomy:
Remote work relies on trust. The idea is to have a high-performing team that is able to deliver good results on time without direct supervision. That’s why you need to create a culture of trust and autonomy. At the same time, your expectations of the workflows and how work is performed and delivered will need to be very clear in order for the team to know exactly what is expected of them.
Remote Onboarding and Training:
If you want your business to operate smoothly regardless of change, you need to have a clear, comprehensive, and accessible onboarding process. Create technical guides, manuals, and provide training to help team members transition to their roles.
Remote work relies heavily on written communication. This includes emails, messages, and written assignments. That’s why it is crucial to emphasize the use of concise, direct, and precise messages across the organization.
Documentation and Knowledge Sharing:
If you’ve already started your process of switching to remote work, you may have encountered a situation in which one of your employees needs a particular document that another team member sent to complete their assignment. However, they don’t have access to it and the other employee’s time zone is different or he/she is not available for whatever reason. This causes a delay in communication and the overall team progress.
The best way to prevent this from happening is by encouraging team members to use shared folders in Google Drive or any other storage system. This way, every team member has access to important documents and you improve collaboration.
Preparing for Remote Work Challenges:
Some team members may struggle with internet connection issues or any other communication challenge. You should encourage your team to have backup protocols in case something like this happens.
Distractions and Work-Life Balance:
Work-life balance for remote workers can be excellent. In fact, it is one of the reasons why many people want to switch to remote work. However, this may come with distractions at home. Family members may misunderstand their work-at-home job with a day off and they may interrupt your employees.
This is one of the challenges that come with remote work. However, you can encourage or help your team members to have a dedicated space at home to work.
Loneliness and Isolation:
Another huge challenge that may come with remote work is isolation and loneliness. The best thing you can do to combat this issue is by fostering a healthy work schedule and culture in your organization. Performing regular checkups and encouraging non-work-related activities at your company are crucial. You can have non-work-related meetings to share stories, and interesting facts about team members, or just to chat.
Having a remote team is great. It gives you access to a wider pool of talent, you create an autonomous team that can work with little supervision, and it can even improve your company’s productivity. Yet, managing a remote team can be challenging. There are at-home distractions, some people may need to get used to managing their own time, and some may suffer from isolation.
However, with the appropriate techniques, your remote team can thrive. Keep in mind you should encourage your team to have emergency plans, foster a company culture of trust and autonomy, and create communication channels to improve collaboration.
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