The rapid rise of the “online commute” has created a vast talent pool of skilled individuals that can work with any business around the world. How can you leverage the rise of remote work within your business?

Businesses are no longer restricted to hiring talented employees within their locality — remote workers and freelancers now allow business owners to create a decentralized work environment that delivers a range of productivity and profitability benefits.

Statistical analyses of remote teams reveal that an effective remote team can boost productivity. The Global Workplace Analytics 2019 Costs & Benefits survey indicates that 60 percent of businesses that engage remote workers benefit from significant cost savings — IBM, for example, was able to save over $50 million by establishing remote teams. 

How can your business build an effective remote team, though?

1. Communication is Key

Communicative friction is the most common obstacle that must be overcome in any remote team in order to foster a productive work environment. Engaging a remote professional often means working with individuals that are located in different time zones. It’s important to ensure that your remote team members are able to communicate with one another while remaining sensitive to time differences.

There are many cloud-based productivity apps that allow team members to communicate effectively regardless of geographic location. Providing your team with cloud-based software solutions creates a work atmosphere based on task permanence, ensuring work is done in a timely and efficient manner. 

2. Build Strong Relationships

A remote team is only as effective and productive as the relationships it is based upon. The isolated nature of remote work often creates a work environment in which remote workers feel disconnected from your business or other team members.

Remote workers that don’t feel actively engaged with a business or a company culture are less likely to perform to the best of their abilities. There are a number of strategies that can be used to build strong relationships between remote and in-house team members:

  • Engage in casual conversations with remote team members that build strong interpersonal rapport
  • Include remote team members or employees in company events 
  • Remote team members should be included in important meetings via Skype or other video conferencing tools

3. Track Employee Time

Time management is critical to the success of any remote team. Time tracking is as important to the productivity of a remote team member as team relationships — without the guarantee of oversight from business leaders, remote workers can often leave tasks unattended or miss critical deadlines. 

Overall, engaging the services of a remote professional or building a remote team can deliver significant cost savings and dramatically boost productivity. Remote team members, however, should be treated with the same attention and oversight as in-house employees in order to create an efficient work environment.