The future of work is remote. No, it’s not a bold statement. Statistics speak for themselves. The number of remote workers will grow to 1.87 billion by 2022. And when you consider the fact that the world population is 7 billion, this number seems even larger.
Not only are there more employees telecommuting, but they also do it more frequently. The number of people working remotely 4 or 5 days a week has increased from 24% to 34% between 2012 and 2016.
This phenomenon is spreading across the globe because it can be beneficial to both: businesses and their employees. You can observe a productivity increase among your workers, they are happier because not only do they get to spend more time with their families but they’re also less prone to stress. While you can save a lot of money on office lease and get access to a wider talent pool.
Fig. 1 Yes, it’s pure truth! Remote working is awesome!
It might surprise you, but remote workers actually spend more hours working than their office based colleagues. This is why some companies introduced unlimited vacation policies as well as mandatory vacation to make sure their employees get the rest they deserve. We’ve written an article on the benefits of remote working. You can find it here.
If you’re thinking that not everyone is suitable for remote work, then you are totally right! Some workers prefer being in an office, surrounded by people. And just the thought of working from home entirely kills their motivation which is fair enough.
Fig. 2 This guy is not suitable for remote work.
There are many businesses that operate remotely. However, there are a few which do it exceptionally well. These are the companies who agreed to share with us their recipe for building a successful remote team.
What is your recipe for building a successful remote team?
Courtney Seiter, Director of People at Buffer says:
“I’d say that the most important ingredient for building a successful remote team is trust. We’ve tried really hard at Buffer to create a culture of mutual trust between teammates by communicating with clarity, always assuming the best of one another, and defaulting to transparency so everyone stays in the know.
It’s definitely something that we’re always evolving and iterating on, and it makes work, even more, fun to be able to be your authentic self and know you’ll be welcomed, trusted and included.”
Emily Triplett Lentz, Content Strategist at Help Scout says:
“What we’ve found building a remote culture is that it’s important to go “all in.” Everyone at the company has to agree on a remote-first approach, from the tools you use to the hours you’re online, to how you handle meetings, tackle problems, and nurture a thriving workplace culture.
Friends ask me, “You’re so lucky! How can I convince my boss to let me work from home sometimes?” But the truth is, if your boss isn’t sold on remote work, there’s a good chance that wouldn’t work out for you anyway.
You’ll miss important conversations and fall out of the loop because others aren’t used to communicating everything online. If you want to work from home, you’re better off finding a remote-first company where you’ll be supported and have the tools and information you need to do your job. Our CEO has written about that here. “
Jen Carney, Marketing Strategist at MeetEdgar says:
“Great remote teams are built with the flexibility to evolve together around a core set of values. “Flexible evolution” means that you allow individuals to play to their strengths and to actively co-create a path for career growth. This is especially key for distributed teams, as it highlights the value that each employee adds and in return deepens their commitment to the success of the company.”
Rachel B Valdez, Head of Global Talent Management at PowerToFly says:
“Our secret ingredient to building a killer remote team is a disruptive kindness. We communicate daily with each other, we remember our shared common humanity when we deal with wrinkles and we are all mission aligned around our company’s purpose. One fun thing we do on my talent management team is we have TGIIF meetings (Thank God It’s Inspiration Friday).
In this weekly meeting, we share stories about what inspired us for the week and what plans we have for the weekend. Since we are a remote team, these connection points make all the difference and we actually see an increase in productivity and general well-being on the team. Although we are mainly remote, we do hire for in house positions as well.”
Mart Virkus, Marketing Team Lead at Toggl says:
“There’s actually a ton of things to keep in mind when building a remote team (We have an extensive guide on this if you’re interested), but I think one big thing is trust. You need to trust the people that work with you to handle themselves. Micromanaging is a waste of time as it is, but it’s even worse in remote teams where you can’t see the team and where communication is inherently slower.
The key is to hire people who can set and follow their own goals and make their own decisions about their day to day work. The only thing that matters is that they have a clear goal – let people figure out the smaller stuff on their own :)”
Matthew Guay, Senior Editor at Zapier says:
“Communication and trust are the most important things for a remote team. Everyone should always have the data they need to work—so remote teams need to document everything and be available to help out colleagues via chat or email whenever needed. And you need to be able to trust everyone to do their best work—you can’t hover over everyone’s desks to make sure they’re working, after all.”
Eryn Peters, Head of Community at toptal says:
“Hiring – Selection is key. Hire self-starters who are passionate about continuous improvement and are incredible communicators.
On-Boarding – This is often overlooked. Even the best hires can drown in a remote environment if not handled with care. Create processes that make this as comprehensible as possible. There should never be a new hire, working remotely by themselves, and wondering how to do their job.
Communication – Over communicate. Nobody should ever be wondering what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, or how it went. Be measurable and be available. This doesn’t mean being online 24 hours a day, or having standing meetings that can be a waste of time, but set a standard that works for your team and stick to it.
Culture (most important) – Everything you do should be looked at with a lens that encompasses your culture. Set out and define your company’s principles and live and breathe by them. Make sure whatever you do both internally and externally is supported by those principles. If you fail in consistency here, other things are bound to slip through the cracks”.
Building a successful remote team is quite a challenge that’s for sure but it can bring you so many benefits that it might be worth the effort. Also, this is the direction where the market is going. More and more employees set “an option to work remotely” as one of their job requirements… Keep that in mind 🙂
Do you have any tips on building a successful remote team? Please share them in the comments!