Tips for Building a Great Remote Team

A woman sits in front of a computer for a video conference with four coworkers.

Companies have faced unmatched struggles over the past year and responded with alternative ways to stay in business, such as having people work remotely. (Image: via Dreamstime.com © Volodymyr Melnyk)

Companies have faced unmatched struggles over the past year and some have responded by coming up with alternative ways to stay in business. One such strategy has been to carry out the process of hiring, training, and supervising newly recruited employees remotely. Employers already face several challenges in building teams when all the members are in the same location; now, think about how much more challenging it could be to build a remote team.

5 tips you can use to build a great remote team and get the success you want

1. Good communication

Just like every great relationship, business or otherwise, communication is vital. However, with everyone being in different locations, it’s not that simple. Fortunately, through a range of tools and processes, it is possible to build good communication.

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Videoconferencing allows individuals to feel more connected than phone calls. By letting everyone see each other, they can observe and respond to facial expressions and body language. These days, video conferencing is simpler than ever before, and many businesses have a policy of “camera always on.” One widely used tool is Slack, a web-based communication platform. It makes regular communication effective and simple with their desktop and mobile applications.

In setting up a remote team, let everyone see each other so they can observe and respond to facial expressions and body language. (Image: Dan Renţea via Dreamstime)
In setting up a remote team, let everyone see each other so they can observe and respond to facial expressions and body language. (Image: Dan Renţea via Dreamstime)

Having the tools to stay connected is just one aspect. Processes are also needed for maintaining clear communication. Managers need to outline daily contact expectations and set timeframes for when a remote employee must be accessible, and on which medium (Slack, text, phone, etc). As fantastic as technology is, it won’t really help until individuals use it properly.

2. Encourage meaningful connections

Humans are social beings and need to interact with others. When supervising a remote workforce, it’s essential to take each and every opportunity available to build and nurture real connections.

If employees are trained to think of hopping on a quick call as being equivalent to walking over to someone else’s desk in a shared office space, they will be more likely to reach out to co-workers when they need input or help with whatever they are working on. Such short, informal “meetings” can help things run extremely efficiently and provide opportunities to connect with others as well.

Try forming team routines that enable each person to get to know the others. Managers should commence one-to-one and team meetings by “checking in” and discussing how each employee is doing. In addition, it often allows individuals to learn more about themselves, maybe sharing a personal weekend story. Finally, for their profiles, everyone can use a real picture instead of an avatar.

An Asian man makes a profile avatar photo using a smartphone.
One way to encourage meaningful connections is by having everyone on the remote team use a real picture for their profile instead of an avatar. (Image: Leedsn via Dreamstime)

3. Software helps you recruit and manage

Technology is not just helping remote teams connect, it also helps managers recruit the right people and handle the workflow of their employees. In order to save time, create better teams, and handle them more efficiently, smart leaders depend on software.

When deciding on the most effective tools, choose software that can help you do more than handle the project. While you will need a way for teams to share documents with each other, also consider productivity tools that you can use to assign projects to employees or track time spent on a project. The ideal solution is the one that not only handles your team better, but also helps you to be a better manager. 

4. Invest in training your team

A bad leader is someone who only assigns responsibilities to employees. A great leader, on the other hand, uses their time and resources to constantly train their team and help them grow. It’s no different for a remote workforce.

The secret to personal and professional growth is learning, so prioritize learning and development expenses. You can finance this budget in certain instances easily with the cost reductions that come with remote teams. So take this advice and provide employees the freedom to learn what they are most interested if you want to see the most improvement in productivity.

Three people sit at a conference table taking a training class with the instructor pointing to some colorful charts.
The secret to personal and professional growth is learning, so prioritize learning and development expenses. (Image: Psstockfoto via Dreamstime)

5. Don’t forget culture 

The development and preservation of culture are central to the success of every business or organization. Distance will make it much harder, like most things, to create a company culture through a remote team.

Include the culture of the business in staff meetings, one-on-ones, off-sites, and all other functions of the organization. Make sure that remote team members are conscious of the core values of the organization and be sure that you are also working to exemplify them yourself. Finally, during the recruiting process, stay conscious of the purpose and values of your company. When everyone hired knows and is familiar with the culture, it’s easier to develop and sustain a culture.

We live in a digital world. The way we think about jobs and employment has been changed by technology. Remote teams, regardless of their venue, are productive ways to ensure you recruit the best people. They offer high levels of satisfaction for employees and can also contribute to higher productivity and good quality of life.

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