Remote teams have revolutionized the way businesses run today. Finding the right talent beyond geographical boundaries is a boon for enterprises, especially for digital entrepreneurs. In today’s digital age, remote work is expeditiously becoming one of the most in-demand benefits that an employer can offer to employees. The freedom to work with scalable hours is a considerable encouragement for people to join an organization. With remote teams, employers get an opportunity to build their dream teams with the global talent pool, without any geographical boundaries. Additionally, a remote team offers the freedom and conformability to achieve a harmonious work-life balance to employees. Remote work is not just a digital trend but it is here to stay. With the availability of the new tools and digital facilities in the blink of an eye, more companies are now contemplating to opt for remote work or at least implement the concept of remote work in their organizations. This enables the employees to work at their convenience which seamlessly impacts the productivity and efficiency of their work in a positive manner.
Growing Beyond Conventional Office Routine
Gone are the days when organizations followed a 9-5 workday. As the nature of jobs is perpetually reshaping, so is the manner in which processes are defined within organizations with ceaseless evolution. If we talk about the employees, everyone’s way of working and performing speeds are different. Unlike the traditional job settings, remote work facilitates the employees the comfort to work from where they’re not just at ease but most contributive as well. Companies also have grasped the fact that it is the outcome that matters at the end. Hence, to solely meet the desired targets or goals, they have to be concerned about the on-time deliverables, irrespective of the physical location of the employees. If the same task can work can be performed from a distance – within the time limits, then why not go remote? It not only helps companies to save more but also helps in increasing the overall productivity as the employees experience a better work-life balance than traditional office culture.
Prioritizing Work – Regardless of In-house or Remote
With the ever-growing and advancing technological innovations, nothing is thoroughly remote anymore. If considered digitally, we are all a part of a global village -connected with each other. With the application of the right sets of tools, technologies, and the web, the physical distance doesn’t really matter and everyone is just a few clicks away now. Do you want to connect to someone on your team who is sitting thousands of miles away from your location in a different time zone? Just switch your laptop on, log in to the web and just after a few clicks, boom! You are in touch! Remote work can be rather considered to be more rewarding and effective. Due to the ease of connectivity, remote work enables team members to stay connected, unlike that of normal office culture. You do not have to wait for hours outside this not just helps in saving a lot of time but also helps to accentuate the productivity of the company in the long run. Hence, this ease of interconnectedness within the organization can be utilized to provide a work-life balance to the employees such that it helps in increasing the overall performance of the company. Since the past decade, technological advancements have been so rampant that pretty much anyone can fulfill their everyday work tasks from outside their workplaces. So, it is a win-win for both the employees and employers.
As per recent research by TalentLMS, almost 66% of companies allow their employees to work remotely and 16% operate fully remotely. Going by Global Workplace Analytics’ study, since the year 2005, the number of people who work from home has increased by 140%. By the year 2028, the Gen Z and millennial generations are projected to contribute to almost 58% of the total available workforce. So, by the year 2028, almost 73% of all teams will have remote workers (according to research conducted by Upwork). Matthew Hollingsworth, the Director of Operations at We Work Remotely, the biggest body on the web to search and post remote job opportunities, states that remote work is not just a trend but it may even become the general norm in the future. He says, “We truly believe now is the time for remote work to become the norm. We see hundreds of thousands of qualified people come to WWR each month looking for remote work and have seen the companies that embrace it leading the way in attracting the best talent.”
A Remote Team helps Confronting Common Cornerstones
Remote teams help companies to outdo their competitors in an extremely interconnected and transnational society. Despite appreciating and acknowledging the benefits of remote teams, the real challenge with such teams is to embrace and adapt to the remote work culture. With so many advantages on the platter, there are a few challenges that remote teams bring with them. As more and more businesses incorporate remote team trends in their workflow, let us discuss some common challenges that they go through.
As the team members in remote teams are from different regions and time zones, it is a cumbersome task to keep everyone on the same page. Transparent communication is only possible when the entire team is in sync. For this, the usage of technologically advanced communication tools while keeping different time zone factors into consideration is the solution. Instead of looking at time zone differences as a shortcoming, try to utilize it for your growth as a team. Also, all the team members need to be well aware and updated with the team’s mission and objectives to work towards a common goal. In a remote team, the onboarding programs and various training sessions of team members are done virtually. This is one of the major challenges as the non-physical presence of team members doesn’t assure their comprehension of the knowledge and information that is intended to be imparted to them. For this, the solution is to conduct virtual on-boarding or training sessions through video conferencing in real-time. This is efficient as it enables all the employees to put up their queries to the trainers and the employees can also get instant feedback on such sessions.
Virtual teams are constituted with team members from various nationalities that bring diverse cultures and work ethics on the table. Therefore, language can be a major barrier in the efficient working of remote teams if everyone speaks different languages. Also, cultural differences can affect the workflow of a team. For this, the solution lies in hiring those remote candidates who can speak a common language so that there is an ease in communication within the team. Further, there should be a sense of admiration and respect for other cultures within the team and members should enjoy the diverse cultural backgrounds in the team. For any relationship to thrive, be it personal or professional, trust is the foundation. When there is trust among the employers and employees, there is a future to consider as the whole team shares a common goal. Consequently, dedicated contributions and participation from employees tend to happen naturally. But this kind of trust and accountability is hard to win in a milieu where face-to-face dialogue between the employee and the employer is rare. Also, it is worth mentioning that it takes time and effort to build trust and a feeling of work accountability in a virtual team. The solution is building a shared mission with a collaborative team spirit to instill trust in the remote team members.
While working with and managing a global workforce, it becomes challenging for employers to track the work progress of their employees. In a work culture without any day-to-day follow-ups follow-up on the on-going tasks, some team members may not use their time wisely. It’ shortsighted to expect every team member to perform at the same speed and efficiency and micro-manage them. But, the employer should have a fair idea of how long it takes for a particular team member to complete a task and how much each person is accomplishing weekly, if not daily. For combating this challenge, employers should use tools and software that help in tracking the progress of their work.
The Secrets to Drive a Remote Team
As the entire market is going global, so should your team. When it comes to managing your remote team, make sure you know their pulses – strengths and weaknesses. Competently managing a remote team can help your company to level up exponentially. But, confronting the challenges that are associated with remote teams needs to be addressed efficiently. Be agile about identifying the current and potential shortcomings you and your remote team are facing or might come across. Organizations must be open to the process of problem-solving to figure out the solutions that suit your expectations. Applying a balanced work approach is a fundamental key to success. Treating in-house and remote employees alike is crucial for a company that is not entirely remote. The organization should put efforts for the holistic development of both the in-house as well as remote professionals.
Here, we furnish you with the right tips and tricks on how to efficiently manage remote teams. If you are ready to put those little extra efforts, your virtual team can help you excel in your business.
Fostering a Transparent Work Culture
While working with remote teams, it is imperative that there is transparency in the way tasks are performed. Companies should clearly explain the job description, work culture and expectations before employees join the team. Therefore, the on-boarding plans of the companies should entail the description of the work culture or the company in an elaborate manner. This would not only help the employees to feel more connected and respected but also help in the company’s long term growth. Transparent work culture is also developed when the employees do not feel restricted to follow a process but free to give their input and express their opinions. Be clear about your employees’ KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for you to analyze and track their work progress. This not just helps the company to track the overall progress of the team and its members as a whole entity, but also provides a clear view of the work commitment of each remote team member.
Facilitating Smooth Communication
The efficiency of your team is directly proportional to the ease & smoothness of communication in your organization. Companies should make use of innovative technological tools to promote efficient and real-time connectivity. The solution to the problem of inadequate or improper networking in a team lies in comprehending and implementing the new rules and tools of engagement in business by working on a communication skill set that adheres to the specific requirements of our digitally-driven remote work culture.
Options like instant messaging, and many other two-way linkage platforms have made the challenges of networking easier than ever. Companies should make special efforts to facilitate ease of communication irrespective of time zone and language differences. They should come up with specific rules or norms within the company to follow a decided response time, communication style, and writing tone so that it helps in ease of flow in communication. There should be specific days dedicated to whole team interactions via video conferences for the team members to feel like a family. The management leaders should connect with team members on a one-to-one basis to maintain the flow of transparent transmission of information. Further, make sure your company invests in the right tools and relevant software programs to facilitate ease of communication to employees within the organization.
Converting Time Zone Difference to Company’s Strength
Time zone differences are a real challenge for teams who are not able to manage the different work-hours of several remote employees. Time zone differences, if managed productively can reap you huge benefits and your team would be productive 24*7, globally. Hence, if put to use efficiently, the difference in the time zones of your team members can help you to establish a processed workflow and increase the productivity of your team. One team-mate’s non-working hour can be another team mate’s working hours. Hence, this way continuity can be maintained, and an incessant workflow can be established within the team. Instead of labeling time zone difference as a weakness or a challenge, teams should utilize and make this factor as their strengths.
Planning Customized Onboarding & Training Sessions
As remote teams have global team members, special attention should be paid to the training sessions and on-boarding programs, so that all the team members are on the same level of understanding about the projects. It is also essential for all the members to have a common goal or mission. This is a very important step as it enables the teams to be at the same level of team spirit and work for collective growth with a unified mission in mind. Therefore, prepare your organization’s onboarding and other training sessions in such a way that it helps the teams to bond together and subsequently, contribute to the collective growth of the company.
Building Cultural Trust & Accountability among Remote Team members
Physical presence and daily interaction are two important factors that help in inculcating a sense of trust and accountability in a business team. But, when the team is remote, it becomes difficult to bring a value of mutual trust and responsibility within the team. A company needs to put more efforts to foster and develop a culture of trust in a remote team as distance plays a major role in this scenario. The company should invest more time and energy to build a spirit of teamwork within each of its virtual employees. With continuous and regular virtual interaction, training sessions and team-building activities, a sense of trust and inter-dependency are developed. This helps in the long term growth of the company as the employees feel accountable for the tasks and their responsibilities due to the trust that builds between the company and them with time.
Acknowledging & Rewarding Employees
As there is no physical interaction of the team members with the company’s management team, paying attention to employees’ job satisfaction becomes more crucial. It is very significant for the remote team members to be admired and lauded for their achievements compulsively so that they constantly feel a part of the team and in sync with the organization’s growth. Acknowledging the hard work and dedication of team members helps in inculcating the value of oneness in the team. When the employees feel acknowledged and rewarded, their productivity automatically increases and they feel more connected to the company’s mission and goals. Consequently, it leads to an increase in employee retention rate and accomplishment of the company’s long term goals. So, pay more heed to appreciate your remote employee’s efforts and reward them for their talent so that you foster a culture of development in your organization.
Celebrating Cultural Diversities
Cultural and linguistic diversity can massively impact how the team interacts within itself, how the team members prioritize project tasks, what they consider to be important, and so on. It goes without saying that due to multi-cultural hindrances the efficiency of remote teams is hugely impacted. Multicultural and global teams make it difficult to manage teams as the people of different races, embracing cultural diversity behave differently to diverse work situations.
Receiving feedback from every team member, supporting a mindset of honoring cultural differences, being deferential to national holidays for your global team members, and being respectful to different cultures can be helpful to the team to come together and progress as one entity. Organizations must train team leaders on putting these differences to their advantage to completely enjoy the benefits of a remote team. The organizations should know how to utilize the best learning from diverse cultures to augment the organization’s growth and promote diversity.
Boosting Remote Team’s Productivity
One of the major tips to step-up your remote team’s efficiency is encouraging your employees and supporting them to work more efficiently. This can be done by paying attention to methodologies and steps taken to increase the knowledge and skills of the employees. This can be done by conducting special training sessions or skill-development classes for the employees to hone their talent. Additionally, companies can boost the productivity of their teams by providing a good remote work culture where everyone respects each other’s opinions and the level of job satisfaction of employees is high. Celebrating special occasions like work anniversaries and birthdays of employees can bring massive improvements in work productivity of the employees. Such gestures make the team members feel more connected and accepted as an integral part of the team. Hence, try to boost your team’s morale by using your E.Q and understanding your virtual employees’ expectations and requirements on not just business but humane grounds as well.
Remote Team is the New Norm
Acknowledging remote work as the new norm, organizations are putting efforts to either adjust or lose out hiring the skilled professionals. Organizations like Basecamp, Zapier, Buffer, Automattic, and GitLab have a completely remote team set-up. With the growing trend of digital nomads, as more and more companies are choosing to go with remote set-ups, the solutions to challenges faced by remote teams are becoming more available and easy to implement. When companies overcome and find solutions to these challenges, they benefit from the rewards of leading a well-built & robust remote team. Driving and managing a remote team can be challenging and daunting at the start, but it can give magnified outcomes if managed properly. Even if you have a plan in mind on how to manage your virtual global team, there may still be shortcomings in the beginning as new systems and business workflows demand time and effort for execution. Effectually, the implementation of the aforementioned strategies can help to expedite the working of your remote teams and foster your team to reach their full potential.
Share some of your tricks and tips for managing remote teams with us in the comments section below. We, at EngineerBabu, have helped numerous enterprises in augmenting their staff remotely by providing the best talents and remote teams in the industry. If you would like to learn more about how to manage remote teams or want to hire our remote teams, with us. Or you can shoot us an email at [email protected] and we’ll get back to you in no time. All the best to your remote team!