As technology takes the world by storm, businesses adapt to stay competitive as international collaboration becomes more and more significant in the digital era. Many businesses think working remotely is the way of the future. Still, when outside factors force its implementation, it presents a particular set of problems. When there was no other choice, creating a remote work culture began during the COVID-19 pandemic. Building a sustainable culture of remote work requires a focus on human-centric leadership, developing professional relationships over distance, and establishing procedures for peer recognition.
As Wi-Fi becomes more accessible and more jobs can be completed online, remote work only grows more popular yearly. Most workplaces still have policies against remote work and require team members to visit at least once every week. Only roughly 31% of Americans have a full-time remote job. Even that is changing as more teams learn about the benefits of working remotely, such as lower expenses and improved opportunities to find top talent.
Although remote work has increased over the past five years, it has been around for much longer than that. It has a lengthy history that dates to the 1990s. Long before they became a common trend in the contemporary workplace, remote teams quietly prospered. In this article, we’ll delve further into the idea of remote teams, including the various types, the challenges of creating and maintaining them, tips on how to build an effective remote team, and, most significantly, the many benefits they provide.
What is a Remote Team?
A remote team comprises experts from various backgrounds, skill sets, and locations who collaborate to achieve a shared objective established by their employer. Apart from the fact that remote team members rarely interact in person, remote teams typically operate similarly to traditional work teams. Instead, all interactions, including collaboration, occur online and via technology. A remote team is a collection of individuals working together remotely but cooperatively to accomplish a common objective. They frequently work together and communicate using digital tools, and one or more distant managers frequently supervise them. Geographically spread remote teams may operate from various nations or cities. They can also be spread, where the group works remotely throughout the same nation.
In contrast to traditional office environments, remote teams rely significantly on technology for seamless communication and collaboration. For instance, they utilize video conferencing to keep in touch with one another, project management software for work management, and cloud storage options for file sharing. Today, many businesses have adopted remote teams and are benefiting from them. There is more convenience for workers regarding commute time and scheduling flexibility. For businesses, there is the possibility for cost savings on things like leasing and hiring. Teams that work remotely have many advantages for the company and the employees. However, your transition to digitization is still in its early stages. In that case, you may run into a lot of difficulties.
Types of Remote Teams
The idea of remote teams hasn’t changed, but not all are alike. There are various forms of remote teams in the modern business landscape since different organizations have varied needs.
1. Fully remote teams
These are remote teams whose members are dispersed geographically and need to meet. Members of this kind of team frequently come from different nations, cities, or even continents. Everyone on the team works from a different place, whether at home or a different office. Each team member and the leader are part of a fully remote setup. This isn’t your team if you, as the leader, share an office or another location with one or more team members.
2. Hybrid Teams
Teams that are a hybrid of onsite and remote workers are known as hybrid teams. Employees from various offices or various places may work together in this situation. In hybrid teams, some members work in a central location while others work remotely, away from one another. Hybrid teams often exist when the team’s leader and a portion of the team are co-located while the others are not. Suppose some team members work remotely while others are co-located in other offices. In that case, your team falls under the category of hybrid teams. Although not all hybrid teams are remote, they share several traits and considerations with remote teams.
3. Flex Teams
This third category of remote teams is the one that is expanding the quickest. People work remotely and onsite together on flex teams for some or all of the time. This could include teams whose members frequently travel for work. Still, flex teams are those where members work remotely (telework) one or two days each week or occasionally visit the office.
Tips for a Remote Team to Thrive
There are numerous advantages to managing a remote team, but there are also many difficulties. Building trusting relationships is crucial in any business but incredibly crucial in remote settings. Because their work environments are different, building relationships will take more work. Leaders and teams had to quickly devise new collaboration, communication, and socialization methods through the video squares on displays to keep things operating smoothly. Here are some helpful tips for making your remote team thrive.
1. Schedule your meetings.
Remote teams may meet in different places, but meetings are still possible. One of the things that makes remote work genuinely thrive is having the team “together” regularly. Most teams only require a weekly check-in that lasts 15 minutes to ensure that everyone is on track and pursuing the same objectives. Reminding everyone they are a part of a cohesive team is crucial because working remotely can feel incredibly solitary. Regular meetings can ensure everyone is on the same page because 89% of remote workers believe consistency is an issue.
2. Define jobs and responsibilities precisely.
For your remote team members, setting clear expectations and rules is critical. This entails clearly outlining the duties and responsibilities of each team member as well as providing clear goals and objectives. On the other side, you must refrain from micromanaging in any way. Each member of your virtual team can be prepared to operate effectively independently by having their duties and responsibilities specified in detail. This builds high confidence among team members and, most importantly, keeps them satisfied.
3. Make communication opportunities available
With communication, a team can function effectively. Set up conversations with your employees, a weekly check-in where everyone shares the finest experience from the previous week or a new insight they have gained about your company or sector that may be of assistance to others. It’s crucial to promote non-work-related remote socials and activities as well. Team building can benefit significantly from quick Zoom calls. Create opportunities for your team to engage in these “watercooler conversations” as another crucial step you can take to support the development of your thriving remote culture. Slack is excellent because it enables you to create several channels where staff members can communicate about book recommendations, pets, food, music, and more.
4. Encourage a sense of community
A team that works remotely should nevertheless have a strong feeling of community. To foster team partnerships, encourage team members to discuss their passions, pastimes, and experiences. Creating a feeling of community provides remote workers the companionship and support they would receive from coworkers. Your employees will feel more engaged and motivated in the business. Your encouragement to connect with their remote coworkers will make them happier and healthier. Slack channels and other communication channels are helpful in this situation.
5. Create a sense of trust and empathy
It’s no secret that building trust is crucial in any work setting, whether coworkers are physically present or not. Lack of trust, however, can easily cause fissures that can swiftly destabilize the foundation of your team in an increasingly hybrid and remote workplace where most leaders no longer feel the false sense of security that comes with “seeing is believing.” Build credibility, be sincere in your aims, be open and honest, and demonstrate genuine concern for people to foster trust at work. On the other hand, empathy enables people to share their experiences more fully, fostering more organic and genuine connections and resulting in higher levels of trust, improved communication, and improved performance. Recognizing and comprehending other viewpoints and challenges—crucial to remaining competitive in the market—is facilitated by practicing empathy as a team.
6. Always be open and provide thorough reports
When teams work remotely, communication often suffers. Maintaining your team’s interest in accomplishing the business requires being open and honest with them about ongoing initiatives, future objectives, and other business developments. Feeling like we are all part of something bigger than ourselves makes us feel less alone.
Part of the transparency I described above is keeping everyone informed of progress. Still, it’s crucial to keep everyone informed throughout the firm and inside smaller teams. When everyone is aware of what is happening, they can operate with less managerial oversight and provide more opportunities for teamwork toward a common objective.
7. Designate a remote workforce leader
Some employees may experience loneliness as a result of working remotely. Finding a remote workforce leader is a simple way to help remote workers feel like they are a part of a group. A remote workforce leader’s duties include identifying the culture of the remote workforce and ensuring that employees are correctly collaborating remotely. Create online team-building activities for the staff, such as a virtual book club, movie quiz, sports-related video calls, or anything else that would be fun for your coworkers. Briefly stated, a remote leader must schedule a few conversations to introduce new employees to the business, other team members, and their first week’s assignments.
8. Manage Your Energy through Self-Insight
The blurring of work and family life is among employees’ most frequent complaints regarding working from home today. Employees need to know how to regulate their energy to achieve more balance because a lack of limits and separation can be draining. Knowing each employee’s skills enables executives and staff to create workdays and processes that match their strengths. Employees will be more engaged, productive, and satisfied when they can concentrate on what they do best. Employees are empowered to build their work-from-home schedules to guarantee they are thriving by obtaining deeper self-insight about what gives them energy and what drains their vitality when it comes to work. As a manager, knowing what motivates and drains each of your staff members enables you to offer them highly individualized coaching to support them in managing their energy and striking a better balance between work and life.
9. Establish clear values and behavior
To create a cohesive work atmosphere, it is essential to establish clear principles and standards for behavior. Employees must know the company’s values and what their managers expect of them. Leaders need to set an example for their staff members and live by the principles they preach. Employees in a scattered workforce must be self-reliant and responsible. To encourage optimum conduct, it is crucial to establish clear rules for communication, teamwork, and work expectations. These rules assist in keeping everyone informed and lessen the possibility of misunderstandings or confusion. Another method for creating a solid company culture is to reward good behavior.
10. Provide the necessary resources, instruments, and opportunities for professional growth
Ensure that remote team members have access to the resources and tools they need to do their tasks well. To increase their production levels and make them feel valued, you must ensure your remote workers are well prepared. Remote teams should have the same access to remote training and development programs as onsite teams to aid in their professional development. Employees nowadays are searching for possibilities to gain new skills through on-the-job training and other programs for learning and development. Giving your remote team access to on-the-job training courses keeps your staff members current with the newest tools, fashions, and working methods. Which eventually benefits your company.
Creating a resilient remote team that can adapt to shifting conditions takes work. Building a team at work involves the same fundamental leadership skills, whether in-person, hybrid, or other innovative and flexible working paradigms. It calls for motivation, focus, and persistence. Leaders and teams should be happy to accept this challenge, knowing that many others are doing the same thing, developing great teams in extraordinary circumstances to make exceptional contributions to the world.
As businesses become more global, the business environment will change. Remote teams will influence the workplace of the future. This is a fantastic opportunity if you still need to transform your company. Utilize the cutting-edge tools that today’s technology has to offer. Create flexible and understandable systems to help you manage your remote employees more effectively.