20 Remote Teams Best Practices for Managing Work in 2022

by Hamna Ayaz
Remote Teams Best Practices

The idea of working remotely isn’t new, but the post-pandemic world has witnessed a drastic shift in workstyle demands. Now virtual working arrangements have become the norm for a sizable portion of the global workforce. Hence it has become vital to implement remote teams’ best practices when hiring and managing a virtual team. 

Remoty is an Online Time Tracking tool built on Slack. It enables managers to streamline their work processes and keep in check the productivity of the workforce. In this article, we have enlisted 20 Remote Teams Best Practices, their importance, and their influence on the productivity level of your workforce. So let’s get started!

Remote Work

Remote work also known as Work From Home (WFH) or telecommuting is any work done away from a physical office location. This arrangement can be part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent, occasional or frequent.

The rise of cloud technology, advanced communication, and collaboration tools have facilitated the advent of remote work solutions. The proponents of this idea have started to discover and enjoy the added benefits that remote work has brought to their work lives. Some studies even predict that telecommuting is here to stay. According to Gartner, the demand for remote work will increase by 30% when Generation Z will be entering the workforce. The CEO of Facebook states that he expects 50% of their workforce to be working remotely by 2030.

Clear Difference between Remote and Traditional Workstyle

Working remotely is different from the traditional work structure. Employees and even the managers sometimes mistakenly assume that the rules applicable to typical office arrangements are all it is going to take to work remotely. But the reality is different. To make remote work a success, management needs to devise a proper structure and suitable policies. From the process of hiring and onboarding to the training and working of employees everything needs planning and close observation.

Remote work requires a completely different level of skills. For instance, remote workers need to be apt in utilizing technology, managing time, following written procedures, and balancing work and life. Otherwise, the remote setup would be a meaningless struggle.

Learn about: Effective Time Management Skills 

 

New, Easy and Convenient Way To Track Time Within Slack

14 day free trial. Upgrade as your remote team grows.

Statistics on Remote Work

Here are statistics on remote work highlighting its role in the shaping of our future work preferences.

Becker Friedman Institute

A study conducted by Becker Friedman Institute for Economics, the University of Chicago, revealed that out of 10,000 employees, 30% told researchers they were more productive in working from home. The research team also concluded that the time in commute was reduced by 62.4 million hours per day with aggregate time savings of over 9 billion hours starting from March 2020 mid to September 2020 mid.

Owl labs

Owl labs provide a video conferencing service for remote teams. A survey conducted by them on the state of remote teams revealed the following findings:

  • Remote employees on average save 40 minutes daily from commuting.
  • The ratio of the meeting by video calls is 50% more since COVID-19.
  • During the pandemic crisis, almost 70% of full-time workers are working remotely. 92% of people surveyed expect to work from home at least 1 day per week, and 80% expected to work at least 3 days from home per week.
  • 23% of those surveyed would take a 10% pay cut to work from home permanently.
  • People are saving on average nearly 500 dollars per month being at home.
  • Only 20-25% of companies are taking some of the cost for home office equipment and furnishings.
  • Remote workers showed 79% increased productivity. 74% of employees aid that the option to work remotely would make them less likely to leave their employer. Hence employee retention rate will increase and turnover will decrease. Remote workers also report that they are likely to stay in their current job for the next five years–which is 13% more than on-site workers. 81% of those surveyed supposed their company will continue to support remote work arrangements after COVID-19.
  • Globally,  44% of companies do not allow remote work of any kind. 16% of companies are fully remote. 62% of workers aged 22 to 65 claim to work remotely at least occasionally.

Upwork

Upwork’s survey findings of 1,500 hiring managers show that due to COVID-19, 61.9% of the companies were planning more remote work now and in the following years to come. This report predicts 22% of Americans or 36.2 million workers will be working remotely by the year 2025. (This is an 87% rise from pre-pandemic levels).

Global Workplace Analytics

Global Workplace Analytics estimates that by the end of 2021, 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home for several days a week. It is interesting to know that since 2009, the number of people who work from home has risen by 159%.

Slack

Slack conducted a survey of 9,000 workers from six countries. 72% of these people prefer a hybrid remote-office model with only 12% preferring to always work in an office setting. The research also found that 13% would like to always work from home if given the choice.

PwC

PwC surveyed 120 executives and 1,200 US office workers in 2020. 73% percent of those executives stated that working remotely has been a success and they expected to need 30% less office space in the next three years.

PwC survey also found that 72% of those workers surveyed would like to continue working from home for at least 2 days a week even when they can go back to the office full time. 32% responded they would like to work from home permanently.

Tools

A software platform can help keep all your work-related tools in sync. They also offer chrome extensions, cloud solutions, and mobile applications.

  1. Slack
  2. Google Applications
  3. Microsoft Teams
  4. Jira
  5. Asana
  6. Trello
  7. Basecamp
  8. Clickup
  9. Todoist
  10. Notion

Make sure to keep simplicity a priority. Avoid overwhelming your team with countless applications at a time. Frequent switching to a new system might frustrate your team as everyone has a different pace to adapt.

For more information see what are the Top Free Attendance Apps

Challenges of Remote Work

  • Loneliness and Social isolation

People with work experience in dynamic in-office environments having great hustle and bustle might find it difficult to adjust to an isolated workspace.

  • Suboptimal Working Condition at Home

For everyone, it’s not economical to create a dedicated office space and arrange working equipment at home. In addition, a homely environment and distractions might make work difficult to manage.

  • Lack of Personal Contact

Managing a remote team can be difficult, especially if your members are not comfortable with chat messages and video calls. You can add remote team-building activities to your schedule to help your team feel connected.

  • Communication Barriers

Where work from home allows creating inclusive and diversified workplaces, it becomes crucial to rectify problems that arise due to miscommunication and misinterpretations.

Moreover, in remote working, not everyone is at ease with frequent work-related video calls. This might cause managers to feel less in touch with their teams.

  • Insufficient Team and Employee Engagement

Employees might feel less connected and engaged with their colleagues and their organization if proper opportunities for socializing and networking aren’t either provided by the company or availed by the employee.

  • Insufficient Experience with Technology

Getting accustomed to the use of technological programs, gadgets, and devices isn’t the same for everyone.  IT and HR teams have to put an extra effort to keep all the remote workers on the same page.

Remote work has numerous benefits. By following remote work best practices rightly, you can tackle the challenges and pave the way to success for your team and your company.

Advantages of Remote Working

If rightly managed, remote work can prove to be a boon.

  • Higher Productivity

Remote/hybrid workers tend to be more productive due to a more flexible schedule, lesser or no waste of time and resources on a daily commute, and a margin to work freely without continuous supervision.

  • A study by the University of Stanford found that team’s productivity was either enhanced or remained the same.
  • An HR and asset management firm, Mercer, surveyed 800 employers.  94% of these employers stated the work productivity was the same or higher since employees started working from home.
  • A survey by Growmotely found 61% of employees prefer being fully remote. 76% of new hires agree they have what they need to do their job from home.  77% of remote employees confirmed improved productivity.  62% of employees believe working remotely positively impacts engagement.
  • According to Cisco, approximately 69% of the employees surveyed cited when working remotely their work productivity improved.
  • A report from CoSo Cloud indicates 77% of remote workers are more productive.
  • Greater Employee Autonomy and Increased Employee Engagement

Giving employees the freedom to make decisions and working in their unique way empowers them to take charge of their work.  Employees with greater autonomy tend to show greater responsibility. When employees have free will to finish a task in the way they are most comfortable, they go above and beyond to execute the task in the best possible way.

  • Cost-saving

The monetary advantage of having remote teams is the financial savings for both employers and employees. According to the evaluation of  Global Workplace Analytics, employers can save over 11,000 dollars per year per employee. The savings range for employees is $2,500 and $4,000 per year.  (due to lowered food, fuel, commute, and other costs)

Dell was among the top 20 companies hiring remote workers in 2019. Back in 2016, they cited $12 million in annual savings from reduced office space costs.

According to the research of PGi, the average savings with the full-time remote worker is $10,000 per employee per year.

Allowing the employees to telecommute half the time can save a company more than $11,000 a year and result in 21% higher profitability, according to Forbes.

  • Wider Talent Pool to Recruit from

Virtual teams having diverse backgrounds can boost business. Their expertise and talent can bring innovation to your organization. See our article: Why Diversity is Important in the Workplace

  • Environment Friendly

Transportation accounts for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States according to the EPA. The EPA reports show that light-duty vehicles such as cars make up 59% of the emissions. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 86% of commuters drive a private vehicle to work. Fewer cars on the road now and in the future will reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly.

Practices

Leadership

  1. Serve as a Mentor and Guide for Your Team

Mentoring is to assist your people with their personal development. This means sharing knowledge and experiences with your team and taking an active interest in their work progress. It involves making a conscious effort to lead by example and aspire to become a role model for team members.

  1. Do Not Overburden Employees

The habit of micro-managing can become a problem and can be frustrating for others. Find the right balance to avoid being overbearing. For work, do provide clear instructions, set deadlines, and ask for the team’s progress updates. Learn to know when to take a step back and allow your team to take charge of the situation. Trust your team and be confident in their ability to manage their work.

  1. Exhibit Empathy, Recognize Excellence, and Offer Feedback

Uplifting the morale of your team is crucial in any work setting, but remote teams may require an extra level of encouragement. Words are powerful. The encouragement helps team members to feel valued.

For this reason,  do provide positive feedback when a team member does something well, and if there is room for improvement, then don’t hesitate to do constructive criticism. It will be beneficial for your team in the longer run.

  1. Listen to Employee Feedback and Remove Work Hindrances

Collecting regular feedback is one of the most important points of remote management strategies. It lets you encourage hard work, put transparency in your work, and also creates a good opportunity to explore new ways to keep in touch with your remote team.

This feedback could be on anything. For instance, the way tasks are organized, the way the day is structured, the workload, etc. Active listening will help you interpret and analyze work-related issues. Keep one-to-one communication with your employees. Be open to feedback, and discuss roadblocks and strategies to overcome them. Let your team know they can always reach you for help and advice.

  1. Accept an Adjustment Period

When managing remote teams, it is best to give workers a period of adjustment, where members begin to adapt to the rules and get accustomed to the mode of work. Some problems will inevitably arise. Like technological devices,  certain team members may initially feel unsettled or overwhelmed with the idea of using such gadgets.

  1. Create Team-Building Activities

Team get-togethers and healthy social activities directly impact productivity, team morale, and overall team performance.   Such meetups foster an environment of enriching discussion around culture, vision, and team future. Do look for opportunities for collaboration.

  1. Treat All Employees Equally

Discriminating between employees on any basis can negatively impact the environment of the workplace. Stay unbiased and treat all your employees based on equality.

Management

  1. Establish the Rules and Define Your Team’s Responsibilities

The basic rule of successfully managing remote teams is to set the ground rules early and ensure employees understand what is expected of them. It will help you to be sure that the team adheres to those expectations. By defining clear boundaries, procedures, and expectations, you minimize the chances of ambiguity and miscommunication.

  1. Create SOP’S for Common Tasks

If some tasks are common to members of your team, draft defines standard operating procedures (SOPs) on how to complete them. It saves your time and effort. It will also help you and your team in maintaining clear and healthy boundaries between work and life by addressing everything related to working hours and flexibility, teams’ communication channels, response times, procedures for urgent situations.

  1. Offer Various Contact Options

You can try different communication mediums and find the best suitable one for your team. Medium of remote communication could be video calls, telephone calls, instant messaging, email, and more. Although video conferencing is the most mainstream method of communication for meetings if the members have non-urgent questions to ask, they can leave an instant message for you.

As everyone works differently and needs a different level of communication and support, hence respect your employees’ schedules and let them prioritize important tasks, and manage their time accordingly. This will keep them motivated to stay focused and engaged with their work.

  1. Set Goals and Broader Objectives

To promote the company’s vision, you can discuss with team members and set individual goals or targets, along with broader team objectives that will help guide individual decision-making as well as the company’s objectives.

  1. Focus on Outcomes Define the Purpose of Those Outcomes

The leaders should define clear performance measurement metrics and discuss them with the team. You should set reasonable expectations about the project’s timeline and communicate all the important information and due dates well in advance. Be sure everyone has all the required resources they need to perform well. Then, track the team’s performance regularly and analyze everyone’s progress and as well as the roadblocks they face in accomplishing the task.

  1. Supply the Right Equipment

Your employees are your assets; dedicate your company resources to optimizing your employees’ work environment. You should proactively keep a check on employees’ needs. This can range from the provision of hardware, software, communication channels, security access, platform logins, clear policies, and organizational documentation. It might also include facilities like childcare arrangements, ergonomic office furniture, and time to time breaks during work. You should explore and build the right tech stack for your team along with the right workflow management systems. These things will let you avoid micromanagement and allow your team to control the work on each level.

  1. Accommodate flexible work schedules

In dealing with remote teams, you have to be considerate of your employees’ work schedules. As not all of your workforce might have the same time zone, the same working conditions, or simply the same level of motivation at a particular time. In remote working, people expect flexibility of working hours. Letting people work remotely but with a fixed schedule can be frustrating. Depending on the work being done and how much real-time collaboration is required, you could opt to be flexible on work start times.

  1. Schedule structured One-to-One check-ins

One-to-one check-ins are a great opportunity to provide some coaching and to check on progress. As Jason Aten reports in an article for Inc.com, “daily check-ins can play a vital role if you are required to remotely manage a team”.

You can use these daily check-ins to assess progress, provide feedback, and see if there are any queries of the team members that need to be addressed. As the team becomes more settled, the frequency of these group sessions can be reduced.

Growth and Development

  1. Provide Training

Before offering your employees remote work opportunities, be sure that they are apt and well trained to manage work in a remote setup. If your employees are willing to work from home, you can arrange webinars/ seminars and share useful tips with them. You can also organize workshops and training sessions to teach employees everything- from KPIs, expectations, task descriptions, and team member job descriptions to operate work management systems.

While hiring staff for remote jobs, be sure to look for individuals who are self-motivated and who share the same vision and values as your company. Find the Right People. Make sure everyone understands company goals. Discuss all the organizational and technological logistics beforehand.

Establish clear strategies for the remote hiring process and navigate the legal complexities of hiring talent remotely.

  1. Track Their Performance

Track the work progress of employees and extend support and help where required. Time attendance management tools come quite handy as they perform a variety of managerial functions.

  1. Opportunities of Career Development

Remote employees, just like traditional office employees welcome opportunities for personal growth and development.

Support Employees and Promote Company Culture

  1. Build a Culture of Accountability and Trust

Maintain an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding.  Do hold employees accountable for shortcomings. If they have problems that need your attention, support them and help them resolve those issues. Extend emotional support when needed by employees.

  1. Encourage Social Engagement

For remote employees working on new or different tasks and goals, clear communication is paramount. Especially if your team is new to this setup of working. Keeping employees socially engaged will not only help reinforce their sense of belonging but will also motivate them to participate in proposing ideas and brainstorming sessions actively.

Many organizations set up specific groups for employees to share personal stories such as weekend plans, birthday wishes, etc. It may also be a good choice to arrange outings, in-person catch-ups, and other social sessions outside of work time.

  1. Reinforce Company Culture

Telecommuting allows you to foster a more dynamic, diverse, and inclusive team. It provides a deeper talent pool to explore and brings a diverse skill set to your organization. Moreover, you can also benefit from the availability of workers at different time zones and consider their valuable insights while making important decisions.

Communicate your company values to your team members. Urge them to be culturally sensitive and respect cultural differences. Raise awareness among your team members about cultural ethics, language, and religious practices. This will help you resolve communication problems and maintain a healthy productive workplace environment.

Manage to align company goals with the ambitions of your workers. As when people believe in the same vision and have similar values, they are ready to go the extra mile to get things done the right way.

Tailor workplace practices according to your team

Remote work best practices have been designed and refined over the last decade to allow virtual teams to operate as efficiently as teams who work in brick-mortar office environments.

Taking inspiration from above mentioned remote work best practices, you can create a healthy and productive workplace atmosphere for your virtual teams where every member tries to reach their full potential and strive to perform in the best possible way.

Let us know in the comments how your organization reinforces workplace practices. Share your suggestions and insights on remote work management practices.

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