11/5/2019

A Beginner's Guide to Building a Remote Team

A few years ago, very few companies would have wanted to hire employees on the other side of the world. Nowadays, as freelancers and digital nomads become increasingly common and tech catches up, remote teams are becoming commonplace. That said, they can still be confusing and intimidating for some managers, so here’s what you need to know to get your own remote team off the ground. 

What Does a Remote Team Look Like?

Anything you want it to! Some companies operate 100 percent remotely, with no permanent office space and employees distributed around the world. Most of these are in tech, as this is a sector that is inherently digital. 

Others opt for a more blended approach, with some in-house employees and some remote ones. A common arrangement, for instance, is to allow existing employees to select how often they would like to work from home, while also hiring people for fully remote positions when appropriate. 

What Are the Benefits of Remote Teams?

There are several great perks to working with a remote team:

● Cost

You save on overheads such as office space and energy bills, and you can also hire workers based in areas with a lower cost of living. The savings also extend to the employees: Remote workers can save up to $5,000 a year, which is a good incentive for them to do a good job.

● Quality of Talent

With a practically limitless, global pool of talent, you have a much better chance of finding the exact person you need. Even if you hire within your own city, you won’t be limited to those people who can commute to your office every day. 

● Productivity

77 percent of workers report higher levels of productivity when working from home. Anyone who has ever worked next to a loud coworker, sat through a pointless meeting or known the allure of the vending machine break will understand why.

Pitfalls to Avoid

Remote working is great, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges. When you are setting up your first remote team, make sure to focus on the following areas:

● Accessibility

You’ll need to train your employees on making your projects accessible to everyone. This can get overlooked when you’re working with a remote team, but it’s crucial to retaining more clients. For instance, any videos you post on your website should have subtitles attached to them so that individuals with a hearing impairment or those who have to mute their computer’s speakers can fully benefit from visiting your website. Rather than handing this task over to the admin or IT department, outsource it to a subtitle specialist. Such companies can generate captions quickly and produce highly accurate work at a reasonable cost.

● Employee Isolation

Employees or freelancers who never interact with their teams are likely to feel isolated. According to Forbes, this goes beyond social isolation: Other forms of isolation to watch out for include resource, opportunity, and development isolation. In other words, it’s not just about scheduling hangouts and parties; you also need to make sure employees have the professional benefits that come with face-to-face interaction.

● Trust

Many managers worry about how they can trust remote workers to do their jobs and, as a result, turn to micromanaging. This is not only a waste of time for you, but it can make the employee resentful. To build trust, start by hiring people with a good track record of working independently, offer trial runs, and maintain good communication.  

How to Find Remote Workers

If you’re looking to hire freelancers, there are plenty of good job boards to post your job ads. Freelancer and Guru let you post job ads for free, while Fiverr encourages you to pay freelancers only if you approve of their work. If you’re in the market for a live phone receptionist or someone to help out with your website’s live chat feature, Davinci Virtual Office Solutions has you covered. 

Alternatively, a good way to start is to give your existing employees the choice of whether they want to work from home. With a whopping 96 percent of U.S. workers claiming they would like flexibility at work, chances are your employees would readily embrace the opportunity.

It’s easy to dismiss remote working as some sort of trend, but the truth is that it’s very much looking like remote teams are the future. The number of freelancers worldwide only keeps on growing, and the conversations around employee well-being are increasingly focused on freedom and flexibility. You can make the switch as gradual or sudden as you like; all that matters is that you get onboard. 

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