Remote Team

Remote working used to be a niche, but now that most jobs can be done with little more than a laptop, things are beginning to change. Companies are starting to understand that the constraints of a traditional workplace don’t need to apply anymore, and that they are free to source talent from essentially anywhere in the world.

These new possibilities are exciting, but they can also be overwhelming. To help you simplify, here are the questions you need to keep in mind when putting together your remote team.

Where Do I Look?

Some jobs can be done entirely online, especially with technologies like Skype allowing for constant communication. For these jobs, you can hire people based anywhere in the world. However, if you want to be able to see your remote workers once in a while, you may have to narrow your search criteria so they can come into the office as needed.

Another thing to consider is time zones. It’s not hard to work around them, but it can take some practice. According to Buffer, some tips to keep in mind include always being aware of the whole team’s time zones, and prioritizing asynchronous forms of communication like email. If possible, try to ensure there is always some overlap in the work schedules of every employee so that everyone is able to reach everyone else within the same working day.

What Tools Am I Going To Use?

If you want your remote team to work as smoothly together as a group of people in the same room, you are going to need a few important tools.

  • Slack is the industry standard when it comes to team communication, with its easy-to-use chat interface and collection of handy apps and integrations.
  • Kanban Zone is a project management tool, giving you a visual representation using the Kanban methodology to flow work more efficiently.
  • Chimp or Champ is a great tool for measuring your team’s happiness on a weekly basis, so you can improve engagement even at a distance.

Freelancers or Employees?

There are pros and cons to both freelancers and employees. With employees, you get more loyalty and better consistency, but there are higher costs relating to things like holiday pay and insurance. Freelancers allow for flexibility, but they will often have other clients to focus on.

It’s best to consider these on a case-by-case basis; after all, you can always have a mixed team of both. If you do this, however, be aware that tensions can arise if one side feels like they are getting preferential treatment or a “better deal.” Remember also that part-time employment can be a very attractive solution for many people — and an easy way for you to compromise.

Whatever you choose, make sure you familiarize yourself with employment law, including specifics such as employment tax, the Equal Pay Act, and worker’s compensation. There are fewer regulations surrounding freelancers, however, but you should still know basic freelance rights in order to avoid making any missteps.

Can I Bring Everyone Together?

You may want to consider bringing your remote team together once in a while. Many companies with remote teams do this, whether it’s through an annual company-wide summit or just regular events held in different locations. This Q&A with companies that work with remote teams has some great insight into this — some rely entirely on technology, but most still vouch for the value of in-person team bonding.

Hiring a remote team can be somewhat of a challenge, especially if it’s your first time. It’s good to remember that while many of the traditional markers of good teamwork go out the window when you work remotely, many are still very much the same. You still want to encourage communication, team spirit, and collaboration, and you still need to be responsible for your team’s morale and motivation. It’s business as usual — only digital.

This was a guest blog. Please review our guest blog disclaimer.

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About the Author: Tina Martin

Tina stays busy as a life coach and works hard to help herself and her clients achieve a healthy work-life balance.

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