Distributed teams can be ideal for both businesses and workers. About 70 percent of people worldwide work out of the office at least once a week, and the freelance industry is steadily growing. Building a team of remote workers is a great way to save money on office space, and it allows you to select qualified workers who are not constrained by time zones, among many other benefits. Plus, people who have the freedom and flexibility to work from home (or any other place with an internet connection) are typically happier workers.
However, it’s important to ensure that you hire the right kinds of workers and manage your team in a way that helps your company succeed. If you’re considering assembling a team of remote workers for your business, keep these tips from Bookkeeper Hub in mind.
One of the first things you will need to decide when you’re putting together your team is whether you should hire employees or freelancers. There are advantages to both, but more and more companies are going the freelance route. Since more people are deciding to become freelancers in their trade, there is a large pool of workers with exceptional expertise and skills to choose from. This means that you may be more likely to land the perfect candidates for each kind of project you do. Keep in mind further that freelancers have broken the 9-5 mold, and are likely happier for it. Sound familiar? As an entrepreneur, you’ll appreciate your freelancer’s freedom and their ability to think outside of the box!
Also, it’s generally less expensive to hire freelancers, as you don’t have to worry about providing benefits (health insurance, paid time off, etc.). For example, if you need help with customer service, typing copy, or conducting research you can find a virtual assistant by using staffing companies that have job boards known for attracting skilled, reputable people. A VA is also a great move if you generally aren’t great at staying organized.
Clarify Your Expectations
During the hiring process, you want to make sure each candidate understands your expectations. This includes everything from how often they should be accessible through email and phone calls to the timelines of certain projects. Also, be sure to discuss any important company culture aspects (e.g., core values, mission statement) during your interviews and how the candidate can contribute to them.
One challenge that a remote team faces is staying connected on a regular basis. It’s easy to become disengaged when you’re in a different time zone. Utilize various channels—from email to phone calls to chat apps—to communicate each week. It can also help to hold a bi-weekly or monthly video conference where the whole team is present; this will allow you to brainstorm and/or strategize together, which can go a long way in making each team member feel valued.
With the challenge to stay engaged comes the challenge of building relationships among a remote team. One of the most practical ways to develop and foster work relationships when your team is distributed across the globe is to sign everyone up for a communication app like Hallway, a plugin for Slack. That way, team members will be able to chat and collaborate on projects. Slack is a user-friendly option, and, in this blogger’s opinion, should be your top pick. It allows you to make groups, chat with individuals, and overall stay in touch with those you need to.
Online chat, however, isn’t always enough. If you want to build real relationships, schedule an annual in-person meeting with the team.
There are many reasons why distributed teams are becoming increasingly popular, but it’s important that you approach it carefully so that it can really help your company move in the right direction. Explore the freelance market to find highly qualified workers for specific projects. Also, be sure to make your expectations clear to each candidate and to take steps toward keeping the team engaged and building relationships. When you do it the right way, developing a team of remote workers can take your business to the next level.
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