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The continuous growth of remote work across the world is an undeniable fact. However, the growth of remote work brings with it unprecedented challenges for employers and business owners. And if you work with a globally distributed team, the difficulty level spirals, as you will be managing a team with diverse cultures and backgrounds, not to mention employees living in diverse timezones.

As a market-leading EOR, Globelise has helped many organizations manage and expand their global teams successfully. This guide will help you manage your global remote teams more effectively.

Why build a global remote team?

Diverse Company Culture

Diversity is always an asset. Having mutli-national employees in your team promotes a more open-minded, tolerant and cohesive culture. Additionally, having a global team also allows “out-of-the-box” ideas to thrive, as a result of diverse perspectives and viewpoints of global team members.

Broader Talent Pool

Having a global remote team expands your talent pool limitlessly. With the opportunities to hire anywhere in the world, you not only can gain access to talent that are abundant in specific regions, but you can also increase the scope of the operations or services you offer that were previously impossible.

Maximized Productivity

Companies with international teams working in various time zones often observe an increase in productivity. With the right amount of cooperation and delegation within the team, your organization can reach maximized productivity with team members handling different tasks and operations around the clock.

Asynchronous Communication

Working with a global remote team promotes asynchronous communication, that is, a working model that does not require all team members to be present online simultaneously. Global teams using asynchronous communication leads to more productivity because team members have more time to work on a project with less interruptions. On top of that, due to the nature of asynchronous work, more time is spent on individual decision-making and problem-solving which allows things to get rolling and less time wasted on waiting for inputs from other team members.

The common challenges of managing a global remote team and how to address them

1. Differences in communication styles and work ethics

Having a globally distributed team means the need to deal with employees with diverse communication and working styles. There will be employees who prefer to be reached via instant messaging while others who prefer email communication. There will also be employees who prefer to respond instantly to emails and others who prefer to respond to all emails at one-go after they have attended their meetings or huddles of the day.

a. Find the right tools and resources

Finding and investing in the right tools for project management, task management and progress tracking helps with managing a team with diverse communication preferences and styles. Using common working apps that are accessible in different countries is crucial for cross-region collaboration.

Resources and Tools to Manage Virtual Teams

Managing a global remote team is truly a challenge, but with the right tools and resources, it can be a walk in the park. Here are some of the most well-known tools to help you improve your global remote team management and communication:

For video meetings:
a. Zoom (zoom.us)
b. Google Meet (meet.google.com)
c. Skype (skype.com/en)
d. Loom (loom.com)
e. Vidyard (vidyard.com) 

For collaboration and project management:
a. Google Workspace (workspace.google.com)
b. Dropbox (dropbox.com)
c. Trello (trello.com)
d. Camtasia

For instant messaging and communication:
a. Slack (slack.com)
b. Telegram (telegram.org)
c. WhatsApp (whatsapp.com)

b. Asynchronous Work

Employing a set of tools and platforms to facilitate communication among remote team members alone is not sufficient to ensure effective communication and productivity in a globally distributed team. There is also the need for the organization to shift from a synchronous work model to an asynchronous one.

Asynchronous work means that employees collaborate and communicate when it is convenient for them in their time zones, rather than having to be present online simultaneously. For example, if you are working on a project, you could collaborate asynchronously using Google Docs, tag your teammates using the comment feature, and follow up with them using Slack. There is no need to set regular meetings where
everyone living in different time zones has to attend.

2. Lack of organizational structure

Without a physical office, communication is the most important thing that binds all remote global employees together. However, many remote teams fail to master this, resulting in misalignment of expectations as well as disconnections among team members. Without proper communications in a global team, the organization’s progress is stalled because team members do not get a full picture of the ongoing projects and tasks.

a. Communicate clearly

Apart from choosing wisely on the collaborative tools for your team, it is also important to have a documented process where you can use to guide your team, and clear KPIs to measure their performance by. This ensures that everyone in your global remote team is on the same page and is clear of what is expected of them. Despite the time zone differences, it is also important to establish at least a biweekly or monthly huddle with your entire global team to get updates from everyone, hear out their challenges and clarify any points of confusion.

b. Evaluate your workflow and work management style

It is important for employers to review and conduct workflow process analysis by getting feedback from your global team members. Ask questions like “Are your current processes as efficient as they should be? Are your team members adapting well to the chosen communication tools?”, and make the necessary changes and improvements. Another mistake many organizations are vulnerable to is micromanagement. Micromanagement not only hampers creativity and motivation among employees, it also prevents managers and employers from looking at the bigger picture, thereby slowing down the development of the organization as a whole. Hence, when managing your global team, it is important to provide the independence to your team members to make decisions and solve problems without close supervision from the management team.

3. Poor Employee Engagement

Making everyone feel they belong in a remote team is not easy, especially when your team is made up of employees from different parts of the world. Having low employee engagement can easily lead to a high employee turnover rate, and eventually tarnished company reputation.

a. Organize team bonding activities and initiatives

Creating opportunities to encourage bonding and exchange of viewpoints and perspectives within a globally distributed team is extremely crucial to ensure the above mentioned consequences do not happen to your company. A simple initiative like creating a message thread or group chat that allows employees to share their daily stories, memes, and connect with one another can make a huge difference. You can also set up ice breakers before or in between your weekly or daily online meetings. Or if you would like to take the extra mile, you can also organize monthly virtual team building sessions–they do not have to be formal, what matters is that your team members have fun and get to know each other on a more personal level.

b. Build trust and connections

While bonding activities help boost employee engagement within a remote team, they only help with team engagement among employees. To ensure your global employees feel belonged to your organization, it is also vital for you to make an effort to connect with each member of your global team. Hold regular one-to-one meetings with your team members to get to know them, learn their goals, aspirations, and interests, so you can create impacts on them on a personal level. Employees who feel their values and opinions, rather than just work output are being valued will feel more committed to creating impacts to your organization. So always create an environment where your employees can speak openly and honestly with you.
As your remote team grows globally, you will inevitably face challenges that are unique to your organization. However, these challenges should not discourage you from moving forward and reaching your organization goals. The above mentioned tips could be adapted to various scenarios and problems when it comes to managing globally distributed teams. The bottom line is, be open to acknowledge a problem when it arises, communicate with your team and be transparent in your strategies and solutions.

Go global today with Globelise

At Globelise, our purpose is to uplift people’s lives globally through bridging companies with markets, and jobs with talents. With our seasoned experts and experienced advisors from 141+ countries, we know exactly how to help you find the right global talent within minutes.

If you are ready to expand your team globally, Globelise is here to help you hire and manage your global remote teams with of our world-class solutions:

  • EOR- We provide registered entities so you can hire compliantly from anywhere.
  • PEO- We manage global employees where you have local entities.
  • Global Payroll- We create automated payroll to send payments to your global employees in a single click.
  • Benefits/ Insurance- We advise you on the mandatory and recommended benefits and perks for your global employees.
  • Immigration- We arrange visas and work permits for your global employees.
  • Human Resource Information System (HRIS)- We provide a centralized repository for your global employee data.

 

At Globelise, we make sure that we are here for you at every step of your global hiring and recruitment process from recruitment planning to searching and screening, to evaluation and control.

Leave the heavy lifting to us, so you can focus on growing your business.

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