It’s not too long ago that most colleagues would work in the same town and building, and perhaps even live close to one another.
But technological advances and different business models mean that many firms now operate effectively with remote teams — members live in different cities or nations yet work closely together most days.
Remote workers can be more productive, and there are significant savings on overheads like office rental — but there are a few attendant pitfalls to avoid.
So here are five tips for running a remote team smoothly.
1. Self-motivated workers
Smaller remote teams are often staffed by several expert self-starters collaborating on a few projects simultaneously — and they might prefer working alone than in a traditional office environment.
Hiring self-motivated workers ensure they’ll complete tasks without close guidance, but managing intelligent employees can be challenging — building trust through consistently acting with integrity and treating employees as individuals is essential.
2. Skilled writers
Every organization should value employees with strong writing skills — they distill complex ideas into concise and accessible terms and transmit important messages quickly and effectively.
But they’re even more valuable in remote teams since the lion’s share of communication will likely take place via email or instant messaging platforms where accuracy saves time and money.
Managers shouldn’t rely solely on written communication internally — but good writers will take to it like ducks to water nevertheless.
Remote workers will probably prefer to be paid in the traditional manner — accurately and on time.
But managing payroll across borders isn’t child’s play and tax arrangements vary in each territory.
So investing in outsourced global payroll solutions ensures every team member is paid regularly and precisely and your entire operation is compliant with all relevant regulations.
Remote payroll platforms perform many of the same functions as a human HR department but are much more affordable.
While some workers cope admirably with working autonomously, others might struggle to stay engaged because of the low levels of social interaction in remote work.
So friendships among remote employees are important — a recent Gallup poll revealed that only 15 percent of remote workers agree they have a best friend at work — yet this type of comradeship encourages actions that benefit the business.
Conventional corporate cultures might still discourage workplace friendships — but remote teams can’t afford to.
5. Human contact
Now that we know social interaction is important, remote teams might need more sophisticated tools to enable it than email alone.
Accessible human contact platforms snap team members’ photos at regular intervals to instill a sense of connection, offer instant video chat and availability settings to indicate whether teammates are busy with a task or away for lunch or a meeting.
As long as these tools are used sensibly, they can maintain team spirit without affecting productivity.
Follow these five tips for running a remote team smoothly and you’ll be ready to produce world-class results.
Do you work in a remote team? Tell us what you like about it.