Many companies hire remote teams, and this comes with plenty of advantages. First of all, you will attract potential employees who prefer this type of arrangement because it better fits their preferred lifestyle. You will also attract the best of the best because you can have people from across the country or even the world working for you without any relocation.
Although there are many advantages to having a team of remote workers, it also comes with some unique challenges.
But, with the right hiring strategies, tools, and communication, you can experience all the positives of this structure while reigning in the challenges. These 15 practices will help your remote team be successful:
1. Create a Detailed Job Description.
The first step to creating a successful remote team is hiring people who can work independently. To find the best people for a remote work environment, write a detailed job description that clearly lays out what the job entails.
Along with all of the responsibilities of the job, you should also make it clear that you’re offering a remote position. While there are many perks to working remotely, it might not be the type of situation that everyone is looking for.
Telling job seekers upfront that it’s a remote position will also allay potential confusion during the interview process. It also lets interested job seekers who live far away know that they won’t need to relocate.
2.Research the Best Listing Sites.
Where you list jobs will affect who finds your listing and applies for the position. You might also have a budget, which can prevent you from taking out advertisements on every job listing site.
Take time to research listing sites so that you’re making decisions that will most benefit your candidate search.
3. Get to Know the Best Candidates.
When you’re hiring for remote jobs, you need to be extra sure that you hire people who are trustworthy and have the necessary skills.
To ensure that you’re identifying red flags in candidates, always call their references. You can also have candidates take personality tests to see if they are the type of person who works well independently.
4. Consider a Skills Assessment.
Skills assessments are a great way to identify candidates with the necessary skills for a position.
It’s more difficult to give employees help when they’re doing work far from the physical office, so it’s important to ensure that they have all the hard and soft skills they’ll need to be successful. Consider a paid trial project before officially offering someone the position.
5. Clearly Define Responsibilities.
When you want to curtail confusion, it’s best to put things in writing so that employees can easily reference their responsibilities. While responsibilities might change over time, it’s worthwhile to be detailed and accurate when telling them your expectations.
By having clearly defined responsibilities from the beginning, you can save new employees and yourself hours or even weeks worth of confusion. For this reason, clearly defining responsibilities should be part of your employee performance plan.
6. Encourage Non-Working Hours.
People who work from home can have difficulties separating their work and personal lives, which can lead to burnout. Encourage remote employees to create space for their personal lives by dedicating certain hours to not working.
7. Keep Things Light Sometimes.
As with many jobs, stiff rapport can hinder effective communication. You want your employees to come to you sooner rather than later when a problem arises. It’s perfectly okay to tell a tasteful joke occasionally and have some fun in the chat.
8. Trust Them.
If you did your due diligence when hiring your remote workers, you should be able to trust them to make sound decisions and take pride in their work.
Micromanaging can be detrimental to morale. It can cause even the most capable workers to doubt their abilities until they become discouraged and eventually quit.
9. Communicate Well.
Instant messaging is okay for quick questions, but you need to ensure that you make a human connection even if it’s not in person. You can create a greater bond with your remote employees by taking the time to talk to them on the phone or using Skype or FaceTime.
A ten-minute meeting once per week can help your remote workers feel more connected. It’s a small investment if you have a remote team of less than a dozen people.
10. Document Everything.
Whether you’re supervising people who work in a physical or virtual office, you need to document everything so that you can reference it later. Document both positive things and areas for improvement.
Also ensure you’re archiving conversations, assignments, and submission dates in case of a future dispute.
11. Invest in the Growth of Your Team Members.
If you’re interested in keeping employees motivated, you need to invest in their development. Partially, people want to learn new skills because it’s interesting. But, they also want to advance.
Plus, similar to having flexible benefits plans, investing in the professional growth of your team members shows that you care about them. It will also benefit the company as better skills will equal better production.
12. Develop a Company Culture.
Remote workers sometimes feel lost at sea if there isn’t any kind of culture. You can create a positive culture by creating opportunities for remote workers to interact with each other.
For example, have a newsletter or other form of communication that everyone contributes a section to. This gives everyone an idea of what the other members are doing.
Also, it creates opportunities for people to talk to one another so that collaboration becomes easier when necessary.
13. Hire People Who Are Okay With a Lack of Socialization.
There are people who thrive on bouncing ideas off of their colleagues, but these people are usually more suited to working in an on-site office.
Ask job candidates how well they work alone. Some people won’t last long in a job that doesn’t give them access to in-person socialization opportunities.
14. Create Opportunities to Meet in Person.
Even though everyone has accepted the remote nature of the job they have, physical meetups on occasion are a good idea. Even once yearly trips together can be extremely beneficial and are still cheaper than running an office year-round.
It will let everyone get to know each other and a lot of team bonding can happen in just one weekend. This will have a positive effect on the long-term experience and productivity of your core remote team.
15. Utilize Software.
When you have a remote team, it’s important that work is streamlined and organized. Tools like Trello, Google Docs, and Slack can make workflow simple. You can share templates through Google Docs, and Trello is perfect for organizing who is working on which projects.
These things have been largely created in direct response to the increase in remote hiring. Failure to utilize even a few of these tools will make things difficult and confusing for your whole team. Most are free – take advantage.
Make the Best of Your Remote Team.
There are definitely some challenges to having a remote team. When you have the right people, though, you might find that remote teams are easier to manage than on-site teams.
If you’re starting a remote team for the first time, think about potential pitfalls early on so that you can make a plan before problems arise.
Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.
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