Managing remote teams has become an integral part of work post-pandemic. While one in five entrepreneurs did not consider remote work before, approximately 16% of companies now operate remotely. So, with all its advantages and disadvantages, remote work is here to stay; for some, it is a permanent reality.
However, managing a remote team can be tricky. Also, an organization that has yet to embrace the concept of remote working may find the switch daunting.
This article will help you learn what a remote business means, its benefits, and the steps and tips to launch and manage it.
What is a Remote Business?
A remote business is a virtual business without any physical office or headquarters. It uses digital meeting platforms and home workspaces to conduct operations and provide services. Companies hiring remote workers allow them to work from home, in co-working places, and sometimes anywhere worldwide, as long as they have a stable internet connection.
Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, is a standout example of a thriving remote business. It has a global reach and offers services through a workforce distributed across 95 countries.
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Working from home avoids commuting, and fewer commuters result in
lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Hiring Remote Employees
The hiring process for international and remote employees is the same as hiring on-premise workers. However, you must remember and focus on how the job will be done remotely.
1. Identify Vacant Roles
Begin by clearly identifying the positions you need to fill in your remote team. Understand each position's roles, responsibilities, and objectives to ensure they align with your business goals.
2. Curate a List of Perquisite Skills and Qualities
Create a list of the skills, qualifications, and personal qualities necessary for success. Consider both technical skills and soft skills to shortlist the candidates. Remote team members often require strong communication, self-discipline, and time management abilities to perform the work.
3. Create and Post the Job Description
Craft comprehensive job descriptions outlining the roles, responsibilities, expectations, and qualifications required for each position. Be transparent about remote work expectations, including communication tools and time zone considerations. Post these job descriptions on relevant job boards and your company website.
4. Adapt your Hiring Process
Modify your hiring process to accommodate remote candidates. It may include conducting virtual interviews, skills assessments, and reference checks via video conferencing tools. Ensure your hiring team is well-versed in remote interviewing techniques for a smooth workflow.
5. Evaluating Cultural Fit
Assess candidates for their technical skills and cultural fit within your remote team. Consider how well they align with your company's values, work ethic, and communication style, as these factors are crucial for a cohesive remote work environment.
The Advantages of a Remote Business
Setting up a new company is challenging. It is even more so if you choose a remote working policy. However, the benefits it offers once you overcome the obstacles make the decision worthwhile. Here are some perks of a remote business.
1. Large Talent Pool
Remote businesses allow you to hire people beyond geographical boundaries. Consequently, you get access to a larger talent pool. Companies hiring remote workers can tap into this opportunity. They are open to hiring locally; they can recruit the best professionals worldwide. The diversity of talent brings the team fresh perspectives and diverse skill sets.
2. Lower Startup and Overhead Costs
Reducing startup and overhead costs is among the most tangible advantages of a remote business. You need not maintain physical office spaces or pay for rent, utilities, office supplies, and other related expenses. It can free up much-needed capital to invest in other critical business areas.
3. Faster Business Growth
Remote working facilitates rapid business growth. You can create teams, scale up or down as needed, and access a flexible workforce. This agility is invaluable when responding to market changes, expanding into new regions, or launching new products or services.
4. Improved Productivity
Over 35% of people who work remotely feel more productive. The primary reason is that they are less likely to take time off. Moreover, employees can set up personalized work environments based on their preferences and minimize distractions. Eliminating daily commutes can also give them more time and energy for their tasks and increase overall efficiency.
5. Better Employee Retention
Offering remote work options can significantly increase employee retention rates. Approximately 71% of employees say remote working helps balance their work and personal life. Remote work reduces burnout and stress and provides better control over well-being. Employees are more satisfied and loyal when balancing work with personal life.
Tips for Managing a Remote Team
Technology enables employees to perform jobs without coming to the office daily.
However, technology cannot alone provide the leadership employees need and the unifying force to direct their efforts toward the set goals. It depends on how you manage your team and make the most out of remote work.
1. Develop a Virtual Onboarding Experience
Create a comprehensive virtual onboarding program when bringing new team members on board. It should include video orientations, digital documentation, and regular check-ins to ensure new hires feel connected and informed.
2. Incorporate Remote Work Tools
Invest in the right remote work tools, such as project management software, communication apps, and virtual private networks. These tools enhance collaboration, streamline tasks, and connect your team across different locations.
3. Set up a Dedicated Workspace
Encourage your remote team to establish a dedicated workspace at home. A well-organized, distraction-free environment can help improve focus and productivity. It enables team members to separate work from personal life better.
4. Schedule Regular Team Meetings
Hold regular virtual meetings to maintain open lines of communication. These meetings can be for project updates, brainstorming sessions, or team bonding. Video conferencing helps bridge the gap between remote team members.
5. Prevent Micromanaging
Trust your team to manage their tasks independently. Micromanaging can erode trust and hinder creativity. Instead, focus on setting clear expectations, goals, and deadlines. It will empower your team to take ownership of their work and find innovative solutions.
6. Do not Forget about Feedback
Provide and seek ongoing feedback to and from your remote employees. Regular performance reviews and constructive feedback sessions are essential for growth and development. Ensure feedback is specific, actionable, and supportive.
7. Celebrate Wins
Acknowledge and celebrate team and individual achievements. Remote work can result in loneliness and a sense of isolation. Hence, recognizing accomplishments is essential to foster a sense of belonging and motivation within the team.
Challenges of Managing a Remote Business
A remote business is relatively different from traditional work in many ways. While remote work brings several benefits, it has its share of challenges.
1. Lack of Clear Expectations
It is essential to clearly define expectations and communicate them to the team when remote working. Communication can lead to clarity, timely deadlines, and increased productivity.
2. Cultural and Legal Complications
Operating a remote business across different regions means dealing with varying cultural norms and legal requirements, including communication styles, employment laws, taxation, and data privacy regulations. Managing these differences can be daunting and requires a clear understanding of international policies to ensure compliance and successful operations.
3. Lack of Supervision
Remote teams need more physical presence and supervision found in traditional office settings. The limited visibility can create a sense of disconnection and make it arduous to monitor work progress effectively.
4. Social Isolation
Remote workers may experience feelings of social isolation due to reduced in-person interactions. Loneliness and a lack of camaraderie can negatively impact mental well-being and team cohesion, vital for collaboration and creativity.
Also Read: 5 Major Challenges in Distributed Work and How to Overcome Them
How to Set up a Remote Business
No matter your service or product, your remote business will only be successful when you lay a robust foundation. Hence, here is a step-by-step process to set up a remote business.
1. Prepare a Business Plan
Your business plan should include a detailed overview of your business concept, target market analysis, competitive landscape, financial projections, and a clear strategy for growth. It will serve as a roadmap for decision-making and attracting potential investors or partners.
2. Obtain a Virtual Business Address and Register
Secure a virtual business address through a reputable provider. It will allow you to receive mail and establish a formal business presence. Register your business according to local laws and regulations and acquire necessary licenses and permits.
3. Create an Online Presence
Having a robust online presence is crucial for local and remote businesses. Develop a website to showcase your services or products, offer easy contact options, and provide valuable content to attract your target audience. Utilize social media platforms, email marketing, and SEO strategies to spread the word about your business and reach potential customers.
4. Develop a Remote Work Policy
Craft a comprehensive remote work policy that covers expectations, performance measurement, data security, and communication guidelines. Ensure all team members understand and agree to these policies to promote transparency and accountability in your remote workforce.
5. Figure out Employee Availability, Scheduling, and Time Off
Address the challenges of coordinating work and scheduling meetings across different time zones and establish clear expectations for availability and scheduling. Implement a system for tracking time off and accommodating flexible work hours to support remote team members' work-life balance.
6. Determine the Remote Tools
Choose and invest in remote work tools like project management software, team meeting platforms, and cloud storage solutions. These tools are the backbone of efficient remote collaboration and productivity.
7. Establish Communication Guidelines
Define how and when team members should communicate and include preferred channels and response times. Foster a culture of effective communication to keep your remote team connected and informed.
8. Decide Workspace Setup and Reimbursements
Implement guidelines for remote employees to create ergonomic and productive home workspaces to enhance performance. Consider offering allowances or reimbursements for home office equipment and internet expenses to support their comfort and productivity.
9. Establish an Effective Virtual Onboarding Process
Adapt your recruitment process for remote employees and conduct virtual interviews, skills assessments, and reference checks. Further, develop a structured onboarding process to introduce new remote employees to your company's culture, mission, values, and workflows. Give them access to training materials and regular check-ins to ensure they feel integrated and empowered.
10. Provide Resources and Support for Remote Managers
Equip your managers with the necessary training and resources to lead remote teams effectively. It can include coaching on remote leadership, performance management, and conflict resolution in a virtual environment.
Manage your Global Team with Skuad
Employers may face challenges of compliance, local contracts, multi-currency payroll and more when hiring remote workers and managing globally dispersed teams. To sidestep these challenges, you can partner with Skuad as your Employer of Record partner.
Skuad offers a unified platform that empowers businesses to build and manage distributed teams globally confidently. We help you hire, onboard and pay remote employees and contractors, ensuring you are fully compliant with local labor in laws 160+ countries.
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Q1. What business can be done remotely?
The advancing digital era allows entrepreneurs to explore possible remote businesses to start without the constraints of in-person offices. From eCommerce and freelancing to social media management and online education, one can find suitable opportunities for their skill set and interest.
Q2. How to hire employees for your remote business?
Companies hiring remote workers should begin the process by reviewing the talent and skills gap they are addressing. Start with a precise job description and proceed through the traditional hiring steps. The procedure remains almost the same, except you must find reliable workers who can manage their time and stay on task without supervision.