How to Build a Remote Team: Resources and Advice From Remote Companies
More and more companies are starting to realize the benefits remote work brings and are considering hiring their first remote team members.
A lot of companies are already working remotely from the office
Communication between team members is often already happening in a virtual office even if people are sitting in the physical office.
Sometimes team members might be sitting next to each other, but still communicate through text messages or on a chat channel so as not to disturb others workflow. This way they can work through the messages when they have the time.
If your company is already mostly communicating virtually, switching to remote can be quite easy. You just stop coming to the office!
This is exactly what Marketgoo did – they started building their do-it-yourself SEO tool in the office and have been gradually moving remote. First, the marketing manager and then the whole development team started working remotely. When there were no people left in the office, they did the only reasonable thing – closed the office for good!
“Co-working spaces, coffee shops (our biz dev guy is a regular at Tim Horton’s!), working from the beach, home office, etc” answered Marketgoo’s marketing manager Larissa when I asked her about where their team mostly work from now that they don’t have an office anymore.
Marketgoo CEO shares some great feedback on how he feels about going fully remote:
“4 months after closing the office and I don’t miss it at all! I am way more productive when working on the go. Before, I was tied to do big stuff only at the desk. I adapt much better now to any situation or venue. Only con is that I feel like a hermit sometimes”
Feeling like a hermit is quite common as loneliness has been reported as one of the biggest struggles that comes with remote work.
Advice from remote companies
Remote companies who are the frontrunners of the change to remote work are usually very open and friendly about sharing their experiences.
Some leading remote companies have shared their advice on RemoteHub for companies planning to start working remotely.
GitLab, who is currently #1 most distributed team on RemoteHub with more than 250 cities across 51 countries and 60 time zones, says they have learned a lot about how to collaborate effectively and strengthen their culture while growing their remote team.
One of the leading remote companies Doist puts the emphasis on building a strong set of core values and uses them as a foundation to develop their remote culture.
They also recommend on choosing tools that will help your remote team stay connected and productive.
Doist is well-known in the remote circle by sharing their experiences as a team working remotely from 25 countries and building productivity tools like Todoist and Twist that are widely used by other remote companies.
As people are working from different places and often on different schedules, it’s even more important to be responsible for your work.
“First, we make sure people can and do take ownership of their work,” says Toggl Plan – a tool to plan your project timeline by a distributed company working across 10 countries.
They also emphasise the importance of honest communication and open discussions by expecting team members to share their plans, successes and failures, but they also keep the culture fun by sharing memes.
The CEO of Time Doctor, Rob Rawson, shares 25 tips to help you manage a high-performing virtual team that he has learned while leading a remote team of 70+ people working across 28 countries.
Services to help you build a remote team
As remote work becomes more and more popular, it is now possible to get some professional help to build a successful remote team.
Remote-how helps to get the most out of remote work by training the teams to work remotely. They’ve built a 6-week online program where industry-leading experts teach about how to build and lead effective distributed teams. There’s also a real live conference to help you build and scale a remote team.
If you’d like to meet some remote team leaders in person, there’s Running Remote conference that helps you to build and scale a remote team. The conference is packed with speakers from leading remote companies. They started the conference in “remote work paradise”, Bali in 2018 and their next conference is taking place in Austin, TX in the spring of 2019.
It probably might not be a good idea to close your office next Monday to have everyone working from wherever and see what happens. But if your company is working in a field where people are doing their most of their jobs on laptops and phones and you’re interested in flexibility and benefits remote work offers, you can gradually start converting your company to remote.
For a start, try to introduce a few days a week where your team works from home and gradually move to have more and more remote days over time.