Businesses of all sizes working in most industries are increasingly making the shift toward a remote work culture. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, company owners have been tapping into the pros of hiring expert talent from both onshore and offshore locations. The internet has made it possible to create a workforce of specialized personnel who excel at what they do and provide services at more economical rates.
However, managing remote teams from across the world can be challenging, and you’ll want to use this valuable resource with care. Here are a few tips that you can use to run an efficient and profitable venture with a strong team.
1. Research Tax Implications of Working with Remote Workers
If your company hires employees, the IRS expects you to file different federal, state, and local taxes according to your business’s scale and nature. You’ll withhold Federal Income Tax, Social Security, Medicare, and Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) taxes from the salaries you pay US employees. A certified tax consultant can provide you valuable information about collecting taxes and remitting them to the IRS.
You’ll also need to understand how to calculate taxes on salaries paid to US expat or remote workers living in locations like France, Germany, Peru, Mexico, the UK, and Singapore. Remember that if they are filing returns and keeping up with tax obligations in the locations where they live, you may not be required to manage withholding at your end.
2. Adopt a Strong and Secure Communication Platform
When you’re managing a remote team located in different parts of the globe, possibly the most important prerequisite is an effective communication platform. Sign up for apps like Slack, Asana, Basecamp, Trello, and Monday to send out assignments and instructions. By using the messaging functions, you’ll keep the workforce updated with the latest progress on projects so team members can coordinate their efforts. Also, adopt tools like Google Drive, OneDrive, or other document-sharing apps that allow multiple workers to update pages and stay informed about what the others are doing.
3. Touch Base with Your Workers Regularly
Depending on the company’s requirements and scale of operations, you’ll connect with the workers regularly. Video conferencing allows employees to talk about the issues they’re facing and request directions on how to proceed. You’ll also boost productivity and performance with clear guidelines on objectives and targets. Clear communication channels raise job satisfaction and a sense of being included in the company culture. You’ll attract top-tier talent and streamline deliverables, so employees know exactly what is expected of them.
4. Enter into Legally-Binding Contracts and NDAs
Whether you’re working with freelancers or partnering with offshore business entities, you’ll draw up and enter into legal contracts signed remotely in the presence of an electronic notary. Entering into legally-binding contracts and agreements with remote workers is a practical way to ensure that the project’s terms and conditions are clear. You can include clauses that outline the expected salaries and the details of the work assignments. Further, if your company regularly collects and handles sensitive customer information or if you allow remote workers to handle intellectual property, you’ll also want to acquire nondisclosure agreements (NDAs).
5. Infuse a Flexible Work Culture with Stress on Quality Over Quantity
Since you’re managing remote teams from across the world, be aware of differences in time zones and cultures. Accordingly, you’ll have flexible work timings so people can work hours that are suitable for them. Expect that you may not receive responses to emails and updates instantly. Or, that team members do not put in the number of hours you would normally expect from an on-site team.
Focus on the quality of assignments and adherence to deadlines instead. You would also want to connect with your people on a personal level. Organize virtual coffee meetings, acknowledge efforts, and recognize accomplishments by announcing kudos to the team. Wishing everyone on birthdays, festivals, and events help build a community of workers, regardless of their location.
6. Invest in the Equipment Necessary for Working with Remote Teams
When you’re working with remote teams, it’s necessary to organize the company’s equipment in order to connect and collaborate with your people. Advanced technology such as a high-grade computer with high-speed Internet access and large amounts of data for downloading and uploading large files and assignments are indispensable for successful operations. Your budget templates will include added expenses like a headset, hi-def camera, phone, and perhaps, multiple screens for working and communicating.
You can operate a business out of a small room, but you’ll need peripherals like a scanner, printer, filing cabinet to keep copies, and ideally, a fire-safe box to protect valuable documents. Additional gear includes a paper shredder, surge protectors to secure the equipment, and an extension board or a power strip to connect the gadgets to an electrical outlet.
7. Institute a Regular Work Process
This one might seem in contradiction with the point discussed above, but when focusing on quality over quantity and flexibility, discipline is also essential. Put together a list of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and make it available to all members of the team. Tools like SweetProcess and SmartSheet outline the steps employees must follow when working assignments and relaying tasks to the next person. If an employee cannot meet a deadline, others should be able to fill in to ensure that all aspects of the operations run smoothly.
Other important features of your SOP include deadlines and deliver-by dates. You could also add processes for billing and invoicing along with due dates to streamline making payroll. Having everyone follow the same company procedures will make management exceedingly easy. Most importantly, each worker will know exactly what to expect when working with your company.
Company owners who successfully adapt to managing remote teams worldwide can avail of the many positives. Not only can they access exceptional talent, but they can also cut back on the costs associated with running a physical office. You’ll also have a diverse workforce functioning 24/7 to keep the company running smoothly. Think about it!