How to Build Remote Teams Effectively

5 min

The pandemic and ongoing globalization have turned our perception of teamwork upside down. Nowadays, people tend to seek remote jobs that will provide them with more freedom and flexibility and ensure the safety of health and well-being, unlike working in-office. However, these transformations pose new questions regarding HR management and team building, which should be clarified before companies start building remote teams. Follow this article to learn more about 10 practical HR tips for setting a smooth workflow for your remote team.

1. Create a clear vision 

As in any team building, the very first and fundamental step is coming up with a vision for a new team. So, you should know precisely how many specialists you expect to work remotely, which positions should be set up, what the main communication tools will be used, and so on. Also, you should be able to explain how remote work will improve your team's performance and why this decision is effective enough to be implemented. This step will make it easier to organize the following processes and keep the team's purpose in mind.

2. Run top-notch hiring

To make a remote team work effectively, you should plan out the staff recruitment process carefully and meaningfully. The reason is that more qualified and experienced staff will be better to work with within the digital space. However, running a quality hiring campaign for remote work is often challenging if done by the company itself. For this reason, consider reaching out to experienced staffing agencies. 

For example, take, an excellent place to hire developers and other tech employees in Eastern Europe and Asia. The hiring process there is easy, as all candidates open their salary expectations, and there is a requirement for vacancies to show salary range. Using their assistance is proved to be more effective for building a remote team, so try this hiring method.

3. Set expectations

As team members will have to do most of their tasks by themselves, setting clear expectations of the cooperation process and desired results is necessary to ensure mutual understanding. You can communicate your expectations in team meetings, individually, or if a team is big enough — through team leaders. Whatever way you choose, remember: the better the working strategy is explained, the fewer misunderstandings and underperformances will arise in the future. However, don't rely only on your vision and be open to suggestions from your team members: often, bringing a new perspective is the key to success.

4. Ensure quality communication 

Great teamwork requires a high level of interpersonal interactions and working discussions, which is more difficult to achieve in a remote context. There are several tips on setting a favorable communication flow:

1. Make sure to use convenient messengers and online tools for everyone in the team.

2. Let everyone be included in the team culture and workflow.

3. Schedule enough meetings for the team to feel engaged in the process (but not too many because it may be tiring and distracting).

5. Encourage informal team building 

Remote team managers often make the same mistake by believing their teams are less bonded to provide them with quality team building. However, remote teams need even more informal communication; otherwise, they will feel lonely and excluded. Therefore, when you build a remote team, it is a must to set up informal channels of communication and schedule events for the team to get closer. For example, Friday evening pizza or online karaoke will help you and your team members to set the right mood for the working weekdays. 

6. Track the working process

One of the drawbacks of remote work is the inability to be always fully informed about the progress the team members are making. However, this disadvantage can be minimized by introducing tracking to the working process. For instance, you can check the working hours or appoint one-to-one meetings with the team members to discuss all the questions that need to be clarified. This step will also bring more unity to the team.

7. Provide and receive feedback 

Feedback is an indispensable part of any working relationship as it brings mutual understanding and sets the direction for future work. Use every suitable opportunity to friendly and constructively comment on the team’s performance, highlighting both positive and negative sides of it. On the other hand, you should also be open to feedback from the people you work with. Asking what could have been done better will improve your future management decisions and support your relationship with the team.  

8. Make a safe space 

To build remote team effectively, you should be aware of the fact that remote work brings a lot of worries and social insecurity. Therefore, such teamwork should exclude massive tension and pressure, or the team will become problematic to orchestrate. Encourage free idea exchange and ask everyone to avoid harsh comments and discussions. All the criticism needs to be constructive, and the working environment has to be friendly if it is meant to improve the company's progress.

9. Be a supportive leader

Even the most professional specialists need support and reassurance from their leaders or managers. The remote position brings even more uncertainty because, most of the time, a specialist has to work alone with their laptop. Show your team members that you are always there for them in case of need. You can set convenient time slots and communication channels through which the specialists can reach out to you.

10. Keep track of the common goal

Working remotely for a long time may discourage people and make them lose the sense of the purpose of their work. So, reminding what the team is here for is an encouraging step toward bringing motivation and the second wind to busy working days. Yet, remember that the rational balance between long-term goals and short-term tasks will help everyone keep sight of the focal point while completing their daily routine. Keep this tip in mind when you get to plan the agenda of team meetings or one-to-one calls to make them inspiring but not overwhelming. Good luck!

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