Over the past year, our team at Notiv has upheld our ‘remote-first’ motto and these are some of the lessons we learned, including the working from home pros and cons for employers. A remote team, sometimes called a virtual team, can be lauded as the future of the workplace.
One of the lessons we learnt from the Deloitte Millennial Survey is that as technology advances with 4.0 technology, artificial intelligence and increasing globalization, the workforce and how we work will inevitably change to adapt. In this sense, the first step to managing remote teams is adopting and embracing flexibility.
However, the terms ‘remote’ and ‘virtual’ can be used interchangeably but they differ in a few ways. A Virtual Team comprises of members possessing a varied set of skills who work on a specific set of issues. They may work for different managers and are not usually geographically co-located. This factor though may vary from company to company. Their work is characterized by the ‘dotted line’ reporting and once their work is done or the issue is resolved, they “disperse”.
Whereas Remote teams work for a manager directly but they are not co-located, nor are they bounded by skill. An example of a remote team is a field-based sales team, whereas an example of a virtual team is a remote-first start-up like Notiv!
Managing remote teams
Notiv has always been a ‘remote-first’ team, we first launched in 2018 with a four-person team based out of the United States and Australia. Today, our team is based across the United States, Australia, South-East Asia and India! But it’s not just us. The remote-first culture is rapidly gaining traction in the workplace, with many new businesses opting for remote teams. However, remote team management is a crucial consideration. So, let’s dig in!
Working from home pros and cons for employers?
For one, you will need to balance a fine line between flexibility and adhering to ground rules. Managing remote teams includes taking the following into account:
Dealing with Multiculturalism
A remote team does not have a specific workplace or work time. This means there may not be any borders to your work-space. In dealing with workers from multiple cultures or countries employers, you will need to be aware of culture-specific practices, holidays and other sensitivities. Maintaining international holidays will help maintain your workflow. Encouraging team members to respect diversity and embrace multiculturalism will help bond remote teams effectively. Once you have defined the culture of your company, then you will need to protect it.
It is important to communicate with your team effectively given they won’t have the facility to ask for suggestions in the same place. Forbes conducted a survey where 97% of people believed that a lack of proper communication hampers the workforce. Therefore, building strong communication between your team is important. To improve the productivity of your conversations, some simple tips include, setting and agenda ahead of time, using the parking lot method and leveraging the right tools to maximize the value from your time spent in a meeting.
Boosting Employee Morale
While the best way to improve employee retention is to consider your hiring process, boosting employee morale will also drive the productivity of the workforce. Giving positive feedback, training and keeping communication open were core tenants in the Deloitte Millennial Survey that proved to boost employee’s morale, retention and the overall success of the company.
Pros and cons of a fully remote team
According to the Global Leadership Summit, by 2020, it is expected that at least 34% of a company’s full-time workforce will be working remotely.
Access to a large talent base
Remote teams comprise of talent from across the world. This leads to getting the best talents and skills, along with diversity and the freshest of ideas and creativity.
A motivated workforce
A survey found that 53% of people preferred to work from home than in a traditional office space. Not only is it a more comfortable space, employees are better able to manage their tasks and time. Particularly for employees that require flexible work arrangements due to caregiver or health issues, this can be a highly motivating factor, leading to happier employees and higher productivity.
Rent, office supplies and other welfare costs are not applicable to remote teams that can save business significant amounts each year. Apart from money, remote employees also save time and energy that is otherwise spent on travel or commute.
One of the most common working remotely challenges that employees may face is the dreaded trap of procrastination. While working from home may be comfortable, it comes with its fair share of distractions. Having distractions or employees who are unable to self-manage tasks can adversely affect work productivity. While working from home may not be for everyone, employers and potential remote workers can make better informed choices by understandings the pros and cons of working from home before the hiring stage.
Lack of Communication
Communication issues can occur even when you’re in the same room. Therefore, given that remote teams don’t work in the same space, department or timezone, communication issues must be well managed for. However, with video conferencing tool, online chat tools and other meetings tools, like Notiv, the idea of an augmented brain across a remote team is very possible. The important point to remember here is that any team needs a way to discuss and share information easily, and a culture that supports collaboration.
Over this year, we found that implementing proper management systems across the entire team helped us improve our communications, documentation and improved our project outcomes. Effective remote team working is as simple or complicated as balancing the various pros and cons effectively and specifically for your team.
With the future moving towards technology-based solutions, this concept can be a massive success if enough technological advancements are involved in the daily operations of the various processes.
If you found our tips interesting, useful or if you have any additional tips to turn any remote-first company working on this concept into a truly global entity, let us know! Tweet us your tips!