Building a strong, cohesive team is a tough ask for any manager. But building a remote team can be even more challenging.
Of course, going that route isn't uncommon. According to Upwork's Future Workforce Report, 73% of companies will have at least some remote employees by the year 2028.
Now there's plenty of upside to be had by setting up a remote team. For one thing, remote teams give you access to a larger talent pool. And when you have employees in different time zones, it can help from a coverage perspective, too. This especially holds true if you're in an industry like IT, where after-hour emergencies are common.
If you're tasked with building a remote team, here are a few key points to keep in mind as you go about it.
1. Find great communicators
The challenge of having employees in different offices or corners of the country is a lack in communication. You can help combat that, however, by aiming to build a team of established communicators. When vetting employees, ask how they manage communication with their managers and peers. See what tactics they use to stay in contact, and aim to assess their attitudes toward communication to ensure that you're choosing the right people for the job.
2. Invest in the right tools
The right technology can make a world of difference when building a remote team. To this end, do your research and aim to invest in tools that will help your team stay in touch and remain connected. Workplace chat apps like Slack (WORK), for example, make it easy to communicate and provide team updates, while a solid videoconferencing program can make meetings more productive.
3. Help employees get to know each other
Camaraderie can go a long way when it comes to building a successful team, but it's something that can be tricky to develop when nobody's in the same room. One solution? Offer plenty of opportunities for your employees to get to know one another in a nonwork context. You might, say, schedule virtual happy hours where everyone logs on for 30 minutes to shoot the breeze. Of course, if you're able to gather your team in person once or twice a year (such as for in-house conferences), even better, but if that's not possible, virtual hangouts are the next best thing.
4. Be mindful about scheduling
One challenge of managing a remote team is accommodating each employee's unique schedule. Therefore, be mindful of things like time zone differences when setting up team meetings or establishing deadlines. Make every effort to avoid scenarios where individual employees feel slighted or left out to keep team morale at a healthy level.
There's no question about it: Building a remote team is no easy feat, especially if you're new to remote management yourself. But if you keep the above points in mind, it'll make the process go smoother. And seeing as how the workforce is trending toward telecommuting, it's also a great thing to be able to put on your resume.