When the global pandemic struck, most businesses quickly switched over to remote teams. This became necessary as there were lockdowns and the only way to keep businesses moving was through a virtual workforce. After over a year of living with the global crisis that seems not to abate anytime soon, many business owners are starting to see the need to learn the right strategies to build and scale their remote teams.
Buffer discovered that about 99 percent of workers prefer to work partly or permanently from home. More and more businesses have also started discovering the benefits of remote work. With an increasing amount of pressure from millennials and the growing focus on work-life balance, it’s not surprising that businesses are looking at remote work as a way to help them recruit the best talent in the industry.
The majority of the global workforce has started gradual shifts to working remotely due to the global pandemic. A lot of business owners and entrepreneurs are redefining their work and onboarding process to give more room to the virtual workforce. According to a study by PWC, about 83 percent of companies believed they have successfully transitioned to remote work. My entire VAStaffer team operates remotely from me. I don’t have any corporate headquarters because nobody needs to show up at the office. Instead, I have a couple of team leaders to manage different groups while everyone else works from home all over the world. We currently have workers and freelancers working in the USA, Canada, Australia, France, Nigeria, and the Philippines.
A survey by Flexjobs revealed that about 65% of those working for different companies would like to continue working virtually after the pandemic. In the same study, 31% voted to opt for a hybrid work arrangement instead of returning fully back to the work environment. Square and Twitter already gave their team members the option to work from home, and many more companies are following the same step.
But the question is how do you quickly adapt to the new normal and blend into the future of work? Here are five proven strategies you can apply to cope with the shocking realities of the new normal:
Understand what a remote team is and what it is not
One of the usual mistakes companies make when working with remote teams is that they see and visualize the virtual workforce as another set of employees. Some businesses believe that the virtual workforce should not be entitled to what regular employees are entitled to. And this is borne out of the thought that after all, they work from home. Remote teams are not your regular employees. The earlier you understand this, the better you will treat your workers the right way.
Embrace Digital Communication and Collaboration
If you want to build a successful remote team, encourage digital communication and collaboration among your virtual workforce.
Create an atmosphere that encourages teamwork and train your marketing team to collaborate with each other to achieve set goals. This is important because a marketing team that is open to digital communication and collaboration will be focused on getting things done no matter the obstacle.
The entire team works together as a team, and everyone is committed to moving your business forward, not just sitting around, and waiting to be told what to do. About 75% of employees surveyed by Queens University of Charlotte’s study agree that collaboration and teamwork are highly important in this digital age. So, it is important to keep digital communication channels open among the remote workforce so that your business can thrive.
Develop frameworks for your business to run without you
It is crucial in the new normal to develop the right frameworks and systems for onboarding and leading your remote teams. If your online business cannot operate remotely or without your presence, what you have is a job, not a business.
A remote team is different and there is a specific approach to managing them. You must develop these strategies ahead of time or simply evolve along the way. When you start using a remote team, you simply need to take your virtual workforce behind the scene to onboard them and your business can start running even without you. Leverage tech tools to automate your business. This would ensure that your business runs, whether or not you are available to oversee the daily routine.
Know and address the core needs of your virtual workforce
What are your team’s values and how do you plan on supporting them? Your remote team will help you optimize your growth if you take the time to know and listen to them. Be willing to address their needs. Treat your remote team just like you would treat your on-site employees. They are human beings and they have needs and ambitions just like anyone else.
Create incentives to keep your remote team happy
It’s always a win-win when you keep your employees happy and retain them in the long term. You can do this by offering incentives and encouraging them to talk to you about their needs.
I once had a pregnant woman on my team. She was not willing to disclose her situation because she feared getting fired. When I eventually found out, I encouraged her that that was good news and I put an incentive in place for every pregnant woman in my workforce. The bonus encourages women team members to be honest about their pregnancy. You can emulate the same for your remote employees.
A virtual workforce is no longer just a futuristic vision; it is already here.
Remote work is transforming the world. It has far-reaching effects on every business and industry in this digital age. No business is spared in the remote work revolution. No matter the size of your business, embracing a virtual workforce has both tangible and intangible benefits that will help you differentiate your services and deliver the results your customers desire.
There are many successful companies with no physical office at all. Their entire workforce is run remotely. This is fast becoming the norm for many companies. According to a study by Forbes, remote work is expected to increase even in 2021 and the post-pandemic era. So, business owners and entrepreneurs need to adapt fast if their businesses will survive this decade.