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Can Startups Rely on a Remote Team?
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7 Important Tips for Leading a Remote Team
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Most Employers, Workers Believe Workplace Will Be Freelance-Based By 2025
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2016 Trends: How Remote Team Hiring Has Increased Revenue For Small Businesses

Can Startups Rely on a Remote Team?

Remote hiring is something which is slowly being accepted more and more as we edge into the future. Shunned earlier by many companies owing to the lack of clarity regarding the entire process, remote workers are now gradually being inducted into the workforces and task teams of various companies. This is contributing to the growth of workplace expansion beyond the physical confines of the office. What’s even more encouraging is the fact that this trend is being quickly adopted by smaller companies, especially start-ups.   

There’s good reason behind people getting excited about remote offices. It is, first and foremost, quite cost-effective, saving money by not having to invest in the physical expansion of the workplace. The cost of office furniture, broadband internet connection, computers, air-conditioning, etc., is really difficult to muster for most start-ups. So, it is logical that the trend of remote working from different locations would come as a blessing in disguise for them. There are plenty of jobs that do not require the daily physical presence of workers in the office. A few examples would be a biochemist, a biomedical engineer and construction engineer. If you are planning to set up a firm that is primarily centered around these (or similar) jobs, then you’re at full liberty to forgo the office set-up. Instead, you would conduct business from your own home (or any other ‘headquarter’ location you choose). and a few decentralized locations scattered across various geographical locations.

Now, the question that arises out of all this is: Is it possible for start-ups to completely bank upon a remote team instead of an office team?

The answer is multi-layered. There are several things that ought to be kept in mind while beginning to work with a remote team. The first thing is the culture of the workplace. Remote workers that are being hired should first be tested for cultural compatibility as well as the speed of task completion and work ethics followed. The second thing is the structure of management. If you have a work supervision and employee productivity tracking system that depends on the physical presence of the employee in question, then problems are bound to arise. As I’ve mentioned previously, there are certain kinds of jobs that people can hold without having to actually travel to an office. If a start-up is made up of people who would be working chiefly from home or other remote locations, then an office would not be required in the first place. On the other hand, if a huge part of the company’s staff consists of people in traditional office-based roles, then that company would need a separate work building. It really depends upon the kind of industry the company is part of, and the type of work the company does.

Here’s what you can do if you’re a start-up and want to utilize a remote office:

  • Don’t use e-mail for communications; make use of Skype or Slack. The only place where you should use e-mail for communications is when you are notifying your employees on an official communication made with another organization. Another instance would be when you’re sending out official invites for a conference call. If you have a very small staff, you may have no need to communicate via technology.
  • You could make use of, as we have already stated above, real-time communication technology such as Flow, Skype, Skitch or Slack. These not only help in interpersonal and inter-group communication but also have live video chats and can also be used to keep track of employee progress. When it comes to keeping all work progress recorded centrally, there are few alternatives to cloud storage mechanisms such as Dropbox. It not only keeps all files stored in one place, sorted according to size, date, priority, and employee, but it also has the provision to bring back a deleted file by clicking the “undo delete” button (Note: This can be done within 30 days of deletion).
  • Create a position that is Two-in-One: Office Assistant and Manager. You could have the same person who has the responsibility of office secretary also carry the responsibility of the event scheduler. They would not only assign you the tasks to be completed but also fix meetings, book flights, carry out transactions with banks and other similar work. Thus, you could have a person handling your projects who knows the details and schedules of the company inside out. Having a position like this can help with better task coordination and optimization time. This position, acting as a schedule manager, is also an able observer of the company’s progress. Owing to their deep knowledge about the work mechanism and schedules of the company, they would be able to provide valuable inputs regarding the work to be completed.

In general, there are many good reasons for a start-up to go completely remote. It is definitely worth the time and effort to explore this as a possibility if nothing else.

7 Important Tips for Leading a Remote Team

Employees are the most crucial part of any business or enterprise. If you have a team with good employees, you will have an edge over your competitors due to increased productivity. Leading your employees through the daily business operations requires you to put in the extra effort. Leading a team of remote employees can have its own set of challenges.

The work environment today grants employees the freedom to work from anywhere in the world due to the presence of the internet and computers. They don’t have to be present at a physical location to work.  There are many benefits to having a virtual team of employees working remotely.

The most crucial advantage is that you can hire talented candidates from across the globe, which contributes to taking productivity to the next level for you. You can bring in innovative ideas by hiring virtual employees and save the cost of maintaining an expensive infrastructure. Although there are many benefits of hiring virtual employees, there is one area that can cause concern – leading a virtual team can be tough. This problem is not insurmountable and can be solved if you follow certain tips. Here are seven tips that will help you to manage and lead a virtual team of employees like a pro.

Hire with Care

When you hire a virtual employee, you have to make sure that you hire the right candidate for the job. You must remember that not everyone can tackle the task of working alone. Although you and other virtual employees may be in contact, there are certain times when individual decision-making might be required. There are people who tend to be inclined to seek help from coworkers or seniors when put in that position. Remote workplaces are generally less social than physical ones and it is difficult to be available to the employee all the time. That is why it is important that you choose candidates who fit all the criteria of the job.  

Set Expectations

When your employee is working via a remote location, it is difficult to keep track of who is doing what amount of work. There is always a fear that keeps you wondering whether your employees are working well or abusing the privilege of work from a remote location. Productivity is the most important factor to consider when hiring regular or virtual employees. To maintain the right levels of productivity you must set expectations that are clearly communicated in a remote workplace model.

You can draw the daily output requirements, the time within which the employee should be available to you and other employees and team goals. This will act as a guideline for employees and will also keep a check on their output. If you have hired the right set of people, setting expectations will give you a thriving team that enjoys the privilege of working from home, but does not misuse it.

Use Technology

Communication and connection are the key to maintaining a successful virtual team. There are many technological tools that help you to connect and communicate with your employees and allow the employees to be in touch with each other.  There are tools that allow you to manage tasks and projects.  You can use tools like calendar, time manager, time zone scheduler, file storage, human resource management, etc to increase productivity.  It’s important to take the initiative to encourage your employees to use these tools as well.

Promote Voice Calling

While text messages and emails are formal and good ways of communication, they are often not easily understood and lack tone. By using voice calling on a regular basis, it will be easier to ensure that the entire team is on the same platform.

Video Meetings

Video meetings will help the entire team to connect with each other. You should encourage video meetings not only with yourself but also among other employees in your absence. As everyone is in remote locations, video calling is a better way to promote a sense of togetherness.

Deeper Bonds

Virtual employees want the privilege of working from remote locations and they often want more warm and friendly bonding than the regular working setup. You must catch up on what is happening in the employee’s life. Try to keep a more relaxed relationship with your employees. This develops a deeper sense of job satisfaction. Virtual employees enjoy a good balance between work and life. You can help them achieve that by adopting policies that encourage work-life balance rather than focusing only on your own profit.

Respect and Flexibility

Your employees might belong to different countries, cultures, and mindsets. Make sure you respect them and have a flexible attitude towards them.

These are some of the tips that will help you lead a team of virtual employees and may even help resolve conflicts or problems before they even arise.

Most Employers, Workers Believe Workplace Will Be Freelance-Based By 2025

If you have been bored by traditional ways of working and you are not a perfect fit for the typical 9 to 5 job, don’t worry, things are going to change in the next decade. According to a study conducted by the Randstad US, workplaces will be agiler by the year 2025. Out of all the employers and workers who participated in the study, 68% of employers and 70% workers agreed that there is a change in the way of working. They also agreed that by the end of the next decade a majority of the workforce will be employed on a contractual, temporary or freelance basis.

Some Highlights of the Study:

  • The study, in which 1500 HR and C-suite company executives participated with 3,100 employees, also revealed that half of the workforce is looking forward to becoming a part of an agile capable workforce within the next three years.
  • The Randstad study also revealed that employers are already preparing themselves for the shift that might occur. They are already accommodating both regular and agile employees to fulfill their current staffing needs. Employers also believe that having a freelance model workforce will allow them to take advantage of global forces and innovation.
  • This study also affirms that employees are thinking independently, which has fuelled their desire to go solo into the job market.
  • One of the important highlights of the study is that the agile workforce may also include involuntary part-time workers who want full-time employment. Another aspect to consider is that the low-skilled workers might not find the agile employment system or gig economy to be a suitable condition.

The job market, like any other field, is subject to predictions made by experts. While there might have been many forecasts, like the possibility of robots taking away your job, a freelance-based workplace is nothing that has appeared out of blue.

Reasons Behind Such Change

If you analyze the data of the past few years, you will see that the change has already started. Many have termed it to be the fourth industrial revolution. Factors like the use of machines, mass manufacturing requirements, globalization, the digital revolution, and automation have led to this revolution.

Employers are becoming more committed to building an agile workforce. On the other hand, the study was done by Randstad US also indicated that staff and working professionals are also considering working in a more flexible manner rather than the fixed 9 to 5 routine. Advancements in technology have helped in fast-pacing the change and given support to the freelance workplace concept.

The employees feel that the freelance workforce fits better with their lifestyle. Thus, motivating them to change the way they work. Many employees also pointed out that being in an agile workplace will benefit them in their financial growth as well as giving them better control over the growth of their career.

Advantages to Employers

The agile workforce model will be very beneficial for employers. According to the study, these are some advantages that employers will enjoy.

  • This model will help employers to reach the highly skilled and talented professionals needed for their projects.  
  • Another aspect employers will benefit by is that they will have access to and the advantages of a global talent.
  • The agile workplace will bring innovation and creativity to the workplace.
  • The operation of a company or enterprise will improve. Being able to hire the best of talent from a pool of global talent will give businesses an edge over their competitors.
  • Being agile will help in reducing cost. The company may not even have to maintain a physical workplace or other expenses like refreshments, etc., will be reduced. In other words, employers will get better value for the salary they will pay.

Advantages to Employees

As an employee, there is a wide range of benefits that comes with the freelance working model. The most crucial advantage that employees get through this model is freedom from rigidity. Employees will not be encumbered by a regular and robotic nine-to-five job within one place. With the help of the latest technologies, they can work from anywhere. Working on a contractual basis or working as a freelancer will require an employee to connect and work with many companies and professionals. This will generate overall growth and skill development.  According to the study, employees feel that the experience they gain will be very valuable.

In conclusion, this survey reveals that the agile workplace will be useful in building a world-class talent base. It will help companies find the highly skilled workers and professionals needed for their projects. Employees, in turn, will flourish in this flexible environment.

2016 Trends: How Remote Team Hiring Has Increased Revenue For Small Businesses

Recruiting new members is not a decision that small business owners can choose to make lightly.

Forget about recruiting, if you are a ‘lean start-up’ just taking off, you think twice thrice even before buying news office supplies. Also, as a start-up with a potential to branch out and grow in unlimited directions, hiring permanent in-house employees can significantly add weight to the list of considerations that you have to make while taking the most minimal of risks.

Most small businesses, thus often end up with an inadequate number of resources to manage everything on their plate. But that’s not the right for businesses who really are looking to expand and reach their full potential.

So how do we address this problem?

Cue: Remote Hiring of Dedicated Team Members

Hiring of remote & distributed yet dedicated teams gives businesses all the benefits of an in-house team without forcing them into monetary or other commitments that they may later come to regret.

Let’s explore how that works.

Talent pool from around the globe

Your brilliant business idea might be in need of some serious talent for execution. If you restrict yourself to your backyard, chances are that you are compromising on your needs. Hiring a dedicated remote team where you pick and choose the exact talent that you need for your business will do the job for you.

Saving Money

To hire say 5 more people working for you, you do not have to incur costs of providing them additional workstations, office supplies, utilities etc. Plus operations that have remote staff usually have less turnover, meaning that you save time and money on training and hiring in the long run.

According to a Forbes magazine report, American Express reported annual savings of $10 million to $15 million thanks to its remote worker options.

Agility & Scalability

No project is same, and you cannot expect every person to be good at everything – but guess what – it doesn’t really matter when you have a dedicated remote team. When you need certain skills for a particular project, you can list those skills and hire a team accordingly. For the next project, you can move on to a different team comprising of a different set of people. This kind of agility is gold for small businesses as they like exposure in diverse work.

The agility can also be a source of scalability and can help businesses figure out what they do best. A dedicated team gives you space and encourage taking minimal risks once a while without the fear of large-scale effect.

Stability

You know the only difference between hiring freelancers and a remote team? With a remote team, you are not only getting the right skills for your project, you are also getting people to lead that team and optimize that team as per your requirements and goals. So you essentially do not need to worry about different time zones, unavailability, erratic reporting, divided attention in projects etc.

Two-thirds of managers say employees who work remotely increase their overall productivity.

All these advantages and benefits said and discussed, if you are that kind of a leader who likes having his team close and likes keeping an eye on her/his team to help them reach their full potential – you might still be shying away from a remote team despite all benefits – technology comes to your rescue.

The collaboration tools available in the market these days are so sophisticated that we wouldn’t be exaggerating if we say that you’d almost feel no difference between a team right under your nose and one 10000 miles away. You can easily optimize your team’s performance with these tools and a few effective communication practices

“By telecommuting, 83 percent of employees said their ability to communicate and collaborate with co-workers was the same as, if not better than, it was when working on-site.”

It’s not easy to build a winning small business team. You won’t instantly find the perfect team members. However, if you take the right approach and you look for people with similar core values, you will be able to build a winning team and grow your company.

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