The work-from-home (WFH) model has emerged as a transformative trend, with remote job offerings increasing by a factor of three in the past several years thanks to advancements in technology and an increasingly global workforce. This shift has provided businesses with unprecedented versatility and reach.
But these advantages come with unique challenges.
Building a strong remote team requires a careful approach to hiring and managing talent. The freedom and flexibility that come with remote work must be balanced with strong communication and leadership, clear expectations, and a sense of community to maintain engagement and productivity.
So, whether you're a budding entrepreneur or an established business owner shifting toward the remote model, you can learn from these three tips on building and managing a successful WFH team.
Tip #1: Tailor your recruiting process to remote hiring
As you expand your search globally for remote workers, it's crucial to customize your hiring process to align with remote work principles. In other words, you need to ensure you only hire individuals who can thrive in a remote working environment and contribute meaningfully to your team.
While traditional hiring processes focus mainly on an individual's skill set and experience, remote hiring requires an additional layer of scrutiny. You also need to determine whether potential candidates possess the qualities that are pivotal for success in a remote setting, such as:
- effective communication
- ability to work independently
So update your interview process to dig for insights into the candidate's capabilities and past experiences working remotely. For instance, Forbes suggests requiring applicants to record a video introduction. Doing that will help you get a better feel for which candidates to focus on.
And once you get to the interview process, you might ask them questions like:
- Can you walk me through your remote working day?
- How do you handle distractions at home?
- What tools or processes have you found helpful for managing your time?
- How do you maintain communication with team members while working remotely?
These questions can give a glimpse into how prepared your potential hires are for remote work and their strategies for overcoming common challenges in such a setup.
It's also beneficial to include scenario-based questions, role-play exercises, or tests that mimic real-world virtual work situations. For instance, you could present job candidates with a hypothetical project and ask them to outline their approach to coordinating with remote colleagues, meeting deadlines, and solving problems.
Incorporating these changes into your hiring process will better equip you to select candidates who not only possess the required skills and experience but also have demonstrated their ability to succeed in a WFH environment.
Tip #2: Develop clear remote team communication
Communication can make or break a WFH team. According to Trello, 6 in 10 remote workers lament miscommunication due to receiving third-party information.
Your ability to establish and maintain robust communication channels is integral to your team's cohesion and productivity — especially if you’re building an asynchronous team working across various time zones.
So establish clear communication norms by:
- defining when and how different communication channels should be used
- setting response time expectations
- outlining specific guidelines for communication etiquette
For example, you might use emails for non-urgent communication, instant messaging for quick queries, and video calls for in-depth discussions or meetings.
Transparency is also vital in remote work settings
So share regular updates about your company's goals, projects, and progress with all team members. This not only keeps everyone in the loop but also helps in maintaining alignment and ensuring everyone is working toward the same objectives. Another important aspect of remote communication is ensuring that new team members are onboarded effectively.
You should also foster proactive communication within your remote team. Encourage team members to share their ideas, challenges, and feedback openly. Such openness creates a sense of involvement for easily disconnected remote workers, as well as aids in identifying and addressing any potential issues promptly.
In addition, regular one-on-one check-ins and team meetings via video calls help you keep communication lines open, address any concerns, and maintain a strong rapport among team members. Nearly 79% of working professionals believe virtual meetings are equally or even more productive than in-person ones. These sessions can also serve as platforms for recognizing and celebrating achievements, which is a surefire way to boost team morale.
Tip #3: Build a remote community
A sense of community is a crucial component of a strong, cohesive remote team. Research by PositivePsychology.com scientifically supports the idea that cultivating a virtual environment where employees feel connected and valued significantly enhances team morale, engagement, productivity — and even their health.
One key approach to building an online working community is to create opportunities for social interaction. Such opportunities include:
- virtual team-building activities
- casual online meet-ups
- a dedicated chat channel for non-work-related discussions
These social platforms can help team members get to know each other personally, foster friendships, and nurture a sense of camaraderie.
Furthermore, providing opportunities for continuous learning and development can create a strong sense of community. For instance, you can offer online training programs, webinars, or mentorship opportunities — benefits that help individuals grow professionally and show your commitment to their career growth.
Finally, recognizing and respecting the diverse cultures and backgrounds within your team can also contribute to community building. For example, celebrating international holidays or having team members share something unique about their culture enhances understanding and mutual respect among the team.
Building a strong remote team takes time and effort as you refine your hiring process, optimize your communication strategies, and develop a sense of virtual community. But putting in the work is worth it in the end. Curating a core group of remote workers gives you a solid foundation for creating sustainable growth for your business. So get out there and construct your WFH super squad!
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About the Author
Aaron Case is a Content Specialist & Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) at Resume Genius, where he loves writing resume and cover letter tips that give job seekers a leg up on their competition. When he’s not helping people score their dream jobs, he’s probably watching sports (live when possible, replays when necessary).