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Build Remote Teams – Creating A Virtual Team That Works

Good businesses with an eye on the future are always looking for ways to make their company more efficient and productive, and one way to do that is by hiring remote workers.

One of the best ways to keep your employees happy and engaged is by giving them the freedom they desire. The only thing better than working from home might be not having a set location at all. As long as you have an internet connection, it doesn't matter where in the world you're located.

One of the downsides is ensuring that those who work remotely have access to everything they need, which can be very demanding. Such items include having the right internet bandwidth, healthcare benefits, education assistance, and much more.

In this article, we'll explore some tips on building a remote team, hiring people to work remotely, and managing communication between the company's different units. Here's all you need to know.

How To Build A Remote Team

The first step in building a successful remote team is creating an organizational structure that will work well with virtual employees. Whether you are hiring your first virtual assistant or a full-blown team, creating a structure includes designing job descriptions, outlining the company's expectations, and setting up a communication system that involves everyone.

Once you have a basic structure in place, it's time to start recruiting. When looking for remote employees, it’s essential to find self-motivated individuals with exceptional communication skills.

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Image Credit: http://perkbox.com

Recruiting team members for a remote team can be done in a few ways:

  • Posting job ads on websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, and UpWork
  • Contacting agencies that specialize in finding remote workers
  • Reaching out to friends and family members who may know someone who is looking for a remote opportunity

The right team member for the job will have the necessary skills, be an excellent cultural fit, and be excited about the opportunity to work remotely.

Onboarding New Employees Remotely

Once you’ve finished recruiting someone, it’s time to start thinking like a CEO and ensure that your new recruits are ready to get started and add value to your company. To onboard new employees, have managers schedule a "getting to know you" phone call or video conference where newly-recruitment employees can ask questions about what the job entails and how they will be working. 

Be sure also to cover information regarding time management, work hours, company policies, etc. This is an easy way to make sure everyone has the same understanding of expectations.

When it comes to managing remote teams, your employers must always be on track for projects and communicate effectively with their teammates when any issues arise. This all starts by setting the right expectations during both recruitment and onboarding.

Setting Up Systems

Once you have your team in place, it's time to formalize systems for any processes involved in remote work. While you should be building these systems up as you go along, this is the point at which everything must be clear, and all stakeholders must know exactly what’s expected of them.

Setting up systems is essential as one critical aspect of managing a remote team is ensuring everyone has access to the tools they need. This includes video conferencing software, email, and chat software. These tools should be easy to use and help keep everyone on track.

Another aspect to consider when setting up systems involves training - both for new hires and current employees. Everyone must be trained on the company's goals and objectives and fit into the overall structure. 

It might also be helpful to set up a system to track team members' progress and success. This may include informal reviews where individuals set personal and professional goals and discuss their accomplishments with their boss or manager. In addition, having the dates of official performance reviews communicated to the right people is crucial for success (more on this later).

Communicating Effectively

Once you have your remote team in place, it's time to start communicating. Remote team members should feel like they are part of the company, and regular communication is the best way to make sure that happens.

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Image Credit: http://blog.mindmanager.com

There are a few things to keep in mind when communicating with remote team members:

  • Make sure all communication is clear and concise
  • Use video conferencing software for team meetings whenever possible
  • Encourage employees to ask questions if they don't understand something
  • Be patient - not everyone is used to working remotely, so there may be some adjustment period

In addition to these tips, it's crucial to set up guidelines for communication. This includes expected response times, how often team members should check-in, and what type of communication is preferred (email, chat, etc.).

As mentioned, video communication is essential to building company culture. While it’s not possible for people to be in the same physical location, video communication can somehow bridge that gap. Sometimes, enforcing the need for video communication (when and if it makes sense) is one way to ensure everyone is getting their message across correctly.

In addition, weekly team meetings are a great way to keep everyone on track and make sure the team stays strong. This is also a good time for employees to ask questions, clarify, or check in with their boss or manager about goals and objectives. 

The most important thing is that everyone is on the same page when it comes to communication. By setting up systems and guidelines and communicating effectively, your remote team will be as successful as possible. This is an integral part of the remote team-building process.

Create Guidelines For Expectations And Communication

Having great communication doesn’t happen by accident. It's essential to have a set of policies in place for communication and what is expected from employees who work remotely.

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Image Credit: http://ccl.org

Establishing team norms can be a great way to get everyone on the same page when communicating. It’s also a great exercise to perform with current team members once in a while. What comes out of such an exercise can then be used to create the right communication policies.

This includes:

  • How often remote team members should be communicating with each other
  • What type of communication is best (phone, video conference, chat, etc.)
  • How team leads will be monitoring work completed
  • What to do if an employee falls behind on their work or misses a deadline

By setting some simple ground rules, you can help prevent misunderstandings and ensure everyone is on the same page. It's also a good idea to have a dedicated team leader oversee remote teams.

Make Sure You Have Enough Bandwidth For Everyone On Your Network

While this might seem like an issue that only technical people should deal with, hiring remote employees changes the bandwidth needs for your company. If employees connect to your network to get things done (and this should be the case if security is a priority), you'll need to ensure that everyone in your team has enough bandwidth to work correctly. If this doesn’t happen, you could see a slowdown in productivity for everyone involved.

You may also need to increase your bandwidth if you're working with clients or partners who are also remote. In this case, it's essential to have a plan in place for how this will get done.

If you're not sure whether you have enough bandwidth, there are a few things you can do:

  • Check with your internet service provider about bigger internet bandwidth packages they might offer
  • Monitor your network traffic using a tool like NetFlow Analyzer
  • Run a speed test on your network to ensure that you’re getting the right download and upload speeds

By going through these steps, you'll be able to ensure that remote work is possible - and that everyone in your company can be productive.

Consider Whether Or Not You Can Provide Incentives

Items like free healthcare, education assistance, etc., are a good incentive for talented remote workers looking to be part of distributed teams. Providing these types of perks gives you a competitive advantage over companies that only offer salaries.

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Image Credit: http://semoscloud.com

There are many ways you can tweak your compensation packages to stand out from the competition, including:

  • One-time incentives, like gift cards or Amazon gift certificates for hitting milestones
  • Remote-specific benefits, including paid time off, flexible schedules, etc
  • Healthcare premiums are waived if employees work X number of hours per week remotely (be sure to check with your insurance provider about the possibilities of this)

Your company culture needs to set the tone - and that means having an environment where talented people want to stay working. By providing remote workers with perks and advantages, you're doing just that.

Think About Virtual Team Building

Remote team-building activities enable a remote workforce to bond and strengthen existing connections, even geographically dispersed. Other benefits of virtual team building include:

  • Creating a positive work culture
  • Increasing productivity by improving morale
  • Making sure everyone knows each other's strengths and interests so they can work better as a team

For example, having a team lunch or dinner, introducing everyone on the team via video conference, and asking each person to talk about their day (and why they love working for your company.) can all be great ways of strengthening those team connections.

One quick note about this is that you should carefully select remote team-building activities to avoid distractions or interruptions.

Create Performance Review Checklists That Fit Remote Teams

Team leaders managing remote working employees should keep records of employee achievements and the company's needs to create a performance review checklist.

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Image Credit: http://lattice.com

An example of a performance review for remote teams would be the following:

  • Employees have met all deadlines set out in previous checklists
  • Employees that have completed a specific number of significant projects
  • Employees providing a great example to their colleagues in terms of work ethic
  • Employees going over and above what’s expected of them in their daily work
  • Employees taking the initiative to learn a new skill and then use it to better their work

These are just simple ways to create guidelines for your team to ensure everyone is on track. Every company will do this differently, but keeping it organized makes it easier to quantify how your employees are becoming better at what they do. Be sure to define specifics in your reviews, as this is what enables both employees and leaders to be on the same exact wavelength.

Think Long Term

While remote work might not be for every company, it's certainly a model whose time has come. As we become more interconnected and fast-paced, working from home, an office in another part of the country, or even fully remote, becomes more practical and appealing.

By thinking long-term, you'll be able to create a system where remote employees can be productive and happy - while helping your business grow.

Build Remote Teams - FAQ

What are the critical elements of an effective remote team?

The critical aspects of an effective remote team include clear communication, regular check-ins, and a strong focus on the work that needs to be done. Remote teams also need to have a shared understanding of the company's goals and how each member's role contributes to them.

What Qualities Do Team Leaders Of Remote Teams Need?

Most importantly, team leaders of remote teams need to motivate their team members. They also need to manage all complexities well, i.e., effectively communicate with managers about what's going on with the remote unit and how business objectives are being met. 

Team leaders should exhibit excellent leadership skills, including understanding each team member, communicating vision and direction clearly, managing conflict constructively, and building consensus around crucial decisions.

How Can I Prepare For Working Remotely?

Anyone who wants to work remotely needs to know how to stay connected with their company culture while working away from the office. Working remotely requires extra discipline so people cannot lose touch with their colleagues or miss any important information or updates. To be successful, remote workers should establish some basic ground rules with their team and manager about how they will communicate, work hours, and deadlines.

How Do We Build Trust In A Remote Team?

Trust is essential for any team to function effectively, but building trust in a remote team can be especially challenging. One way to help build trust is to foster a sense of community among the remote team members. This can be done by having regular check-ins and setting up social activities such as virtual happy hours or group lunches. 

It's also important that team members feel comfortable voicing their opinions and sharing ideas openly. If team members feel that they can't trust one another, it will be difficult to accomplish anything.

Final Thoughts On Building Remote Teams

In conclusion, there are several things to consider when building a remote team. Key elements include clear communication, regular check-ins, and a strong focus on the work that needs to be done.

Team leaders of remote teams need to motivate their team members and manage them effectively. Remote workers should establish some basic ground rules with their team and manager about communicating and working together.

Finally, trust is essential for any team to function effectively, but building trust in a remote team can be incredibly challenging. You can build trust more quickly and easily by fostering a sense of community among the remote team members and establishing clear communication channels.

Other articles you might be interested in on MikeVestil.com: Whether you are building a team to start an eCommerce business from scratch, or trying to emulate proven business verticals (such as Amazon’s Business Model), having the right team around you will make the process easier. Keep reading to find out more.

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About the author 

Mike Vestil

Mike Vestil is an author, investor, and speaker known for building a business from zero to $1.5 million in 12 months while traveling the world.

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