How to build a remote team
Since the pandemic, which saw a boom in the remote work structure, businesses have recognized the benefits of leveraging a global talent pool, experiencing higher productivity and improved employee retention. A recent McKinsey survey revealed that 35% of employees were offered to work remotely full-time. In comparison, 23% were offered remote work on a part-time basis.
Growing a remote team offers unique challenges and different strategies. In the traditional office, it’s easier to promote camaraderie and monitor productivity than in a remote working culture, which demands self-discipline and other methods of accountability.
With so many compelling reasons to operate as a remote-first company, it’s no wonder that many organizations are taking advantage of the opportunity.
So, how do you build a remote team? We’ve put together the basic steps to help businesses effectively build a team of remote employees.
Establish remote-first processes
Persuasive remote work statistics highlight the benefits of productivity. Before diving into the deep end and becoming a remote company, you must lay a strong foundation for the remote structure to work. Begin by establishing remote-first processes with these steps.
Conduct research on remote work
The remote work environment differs from the traditional office setting. Consider how remote work will fit with the team and impact the company culture.
Key research questions include:
- How will remote work impact hiring and recruitment processes?
- What efforts are needed for cultural inclusivity?
- What will employees expect when working as remote workers?
- How will KPIs be measured?
- What action is necessary to monitor burnout, accountability, and productivity?
- Will the company offer custom workspaces for remote workers?
- What communication gaps need to be addressed?
- How will the organization remain compliant?
- What digital tools are required in order to succeed?
- How will remote work policies be introduced?
Draft a remote-work policy
Establishing a remote-work policy ensures that expectations for deadlines and working hours are met, guidelines are set, and repercussions are stipulated. Document the remote-work policy in a way that can be shared easily with each employee.
Outlining the remote-work policy in the handbook effectively documents rules and procedures and trains employees during the onboarding process.
Include the following in your remote work policy:
- Eligibility for working remotely (especially across different time zones)
- Frequency of how often employees can work remotely
- Request processes for working remotely
- Availability of remote work schedule
- Requirements of a trial period
- Set expectations for external meetings and work requirements
- Process for relocation
- Outline equipment needed and expenses for reimbursement
- Remote work benefits
- Security and privacy requirements
Once established, communicate the remote work policy to all existing employees.
Ask for feedback on the remote work structure
Employee satisfaction is essential for productivity and the success of remote work structures. Make an effort to check in with the remote workforce and ask strategic questions about what is working well, the obstacles they are facing, and where there is room for improvement.
Regular performance views, one-on-one check-ins, and pulse surveys help employees stay on top of employee satisfaction and offer insight into areas for improvement.
Helpful questions include:
- Do you feel you have a positive work-life balance?
- Do you have a productive off-site working space?
- Do you feel connected to your teammates?
- How can I help improve your remote work experience?
- Are your career goals still on track?
- Is there anything you believe I should be aware of?
Establish communication strategies
Communicating within a distributed team can be challenging without random water cooler conversations and the opportunity to stop by a colleague’s desk.
Effective business communication stategies and techniques are essential for the success and growth of the organization, fostering good working relationships, improving morale, and streamlining the workflow.
Establishing different communication channels for remote team members improves team culture. It allows team leaders to stay on top of day-to-day progress.
Communications strategies include the following:
- Investing in asynchronous communication tools
- Scheduling regular team meetings for status updates
- Incorporating remote team building into the schedule
- Investing in online collaboration tools for improved teamwork
- Insisting on video calls to guarantee face-to-face time
Foster a remote-first mindset
Rules, communications strategies, and relationships shift when adopting a remote-first structure. Making the mental switch from in-office methods to remote practices is easier with the following tips.
Adopt remote hiring processes
Access to a diverse, global talent pool is one of the major benefits of hiring remotely. Nuanced differences exist between traditional and remote hiring practices. For example, it’s essential to be transparent about the company’s mission and expectations and ensure that you hire the right fit.
- Use video interviews to gauge an appropriate candidate
- Conduct technical skills assessments
- Assess soft skills such as discipline and responsibility
Consider appropriate compensation packages
Ensure compensation packages are competitive when hiring from a global talent pool. Research fair compensation and consider benefits or perks that other companies offer for the same role.
Prioritize remote management
Remote managers find other ways to manage their teams without face-to-face supervision. For example:
- Use online tools to communicate synchronously and asynchronously
- Establish project management processes to monitor progress
- Set remote-specific KPIs
- Schedule regular one-on-one meetings to check in with employees
- Recognize the signs of employee burnout
Hiring across state or national lines requires the correct documentation to reduce legal and financial repercussions. Small mistakes can lead to significant compliance issues. Researching local law and having the proper contracts protects the business from compliance issues.
Put the right tools in place
Technology facilitates the globalization of business and the success of remote teams. When growing your remote team, the following tools are essential.
Asynchronous communication tools
Remote work allows team members to work productive hours across various time zones. While this improves efficiency and productivity, it presents a challenge for communication. Asynchronous communication tools, such as Slack channels and messaging apps, streamline communication, serving a purpose in real-time and delayed communication.
Collaborative work tools
Different collaborative work tools exist to help remote teams work as a collective unit. Various tools suit different purposes, from Google Docs for collaboration to project management tools such as Trello.
Building trust and accountability demand an effort in a remote environment. Online tools help with accountability through video chat features for check-ins, online/offline symbols for sending messages, and shared project management boards to identify the status of a project.
How we do it at Roots
With the help of technology and the rapid development of globalization, it’s never been easier to transition from a traditional office setting to a fully-fledged remote team. Roots assists with this transition by helping the HR department manage and monitor a remote team, positioning the organization for growth.
At Roots, we use technology and collaborative tools to streamline productivity and help virtual team members stay connected. Our flexible HR management platform consists of HR Slack plugins that help HR professionals and managers better manage, monitor, and engage their workforce.
Our features include:
Roots plugins are designed to work together and create a powerful hub for managing performance and employee health. Are you ready to get started? Find out more about how Roots works today.