How To Manage Remote Teams Globally

With COVID-19 coming into play and shifting how we work, it is a necessity for every business to be able to operate remotely. By now your team has probably mastered the art of working remotely with people in the same country. But how good are they at working with employees globally?

As the working world shifts towards a more global workforce, many businesses are considering offshore workers in order to cut costs. With a remote workforce operating on different corners of the globe, businesses are able to tap into new markets and benefit from top talent all over the planet.

CEO’s, Founders and Business Leaders are realizing that if employees are working remotely and operating exclusively online, there is no difference between hiring someone local vs someone offshore. Often the key difference is the cost. With cost of living often cheaper in areas outside of the US, it can benefit to access talent from across the globe.

But when it comes to managing these key workers remotely, how can it be done effectively? We’re looking at how to manage remote teams globally to ensure business success.

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Collaborate with business leaders

Shifting to a globally distributed team can be a big change, and one that shouldn’t happen overnight. One of the first key things that any business needs to do is inform their leaders and ask for feedback.

There will need to be room for collaboration, whereby leaders can share their views. They will likely have many questions about the new work style including:

  • What timings will we work on?
  • Which countries will we work with?
  • Will we have offices globally?
  • What tools will we use to help us succeed?
  • When will this change start?

One you have these questions answered, you can start to seriously think about whether a globally distributed team is right for you. Be mindful that people are always suspicious of change, so the more gentle you can be with introducing the idea, the better.

Work to timelines

As with any business change, the plan is rarely implemented overnight. It is of vital importance that your people feel kept in the loop, so sharing a transition timeline can help to map out the company direction.

As we mentioned, people often fear change, but the best way to combat this is by detailing exactly what will happen and when. When it comes to hiring a global workforce, it can take a long time if you’re not working with specialists in this area. If you are, your timeline may be shorter as they will already have access to top talent in different countries.

Then, once you start working collaboratively as a globally distributed workforce, timelines will also be crucially important. With everyone working in different time zones, it is unlikely that people can work collaboratively all the time. Having deadlines and timelines in place keeps everyone in the loop and ensures that people are never waiting for work to be completed.

Enforce communication guidelines

Communication is the most vital tool when working remotely. When everyone is in different time zones, having a clear formula for communication is key. Digital tools can be very helpful here, and will enable you to project manage the workload digitally.

Ideally each team should have their own digital space – whether that is using Jiro Software, a Miro board, an asana board or similar project management tools. This enables everyone to have a clear view of what is going on and whether their work falls into the workflow.

Around these key digital spaces that share tasks and timelines, people should also be able to communicate freely. Email is fine, but when you’re trying to cultivate a truly collaborative environment it’s probably not the best option. Encouraging people to use a communication platform like Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Basecamp and Google Drive are best.

Business leaders need to decide on the best practices and enforce communication guidelines that the whole business abides by. This way, no one gets confused, and everyone knows where to look when they get stuck or need to reach out to someone.

Ask for feedback

When working with a global workforce there can be some blind spots. This is completely understandable, but it can cause huge problems if left unaddressed. Feedback is the perfect way to understand how well your business is running remotely and without the honest feedback from staff on the ground, you’ll never know how you’re really doing.

Implementing feedback sessions whereby staff can suggest any improvements to workflows and highlight any concerns is a great way to better manage people remotely. These can happen once a week if you’re new to remote working or perhaps once a month if you’ve already got a good set up.

Allow people to manage their own schedules

One of the most important lessons that we’ve learnt from working with a globally distributed workforce is that performance should be judged by output, not hours on screen. Often, people need time to themselves when working remotely. Whether that is to step away and take a walk, exercise, cook, see their family etc.

We have to move away from the idea that employees must work to a set schedule, simply because it doesn’t work. Employees are usually way more proactive when they have freedom to work to their own schedule, as opposed to having a schedule forced upon them.

Of course, they will need to work to timelines and deadlines. However, the more freedom you give people around those timelines the better. Sure, people need to have scheduled times for meetings, calls, scheduled online events etc. however day to day management of time should be flexible. You’ll find that people work much more productively when they have flexibility in their schedules.

Read More: Remote work lifestyle hacks to keep you happy when working from home (borderlessmind.com)

How can you transition to a global workforce?

Moving towards a global workforce is a great goal for any business looking to move with the times. That said, it shouldn’t be rushed. The best way to move to a remote workforce that operates globally is slowly outsourcing work. This way you can dip your toe in, working on a contractual basis until you’re sure that a global team is best for you.

Moving slowly gives everyone time to adjust, and allows you to start implementing important processes that will set your business up for success. At BorderlessMind we help connect businesses with the top 5% of global talent, making the hiring process seamless.

Discover how to hire a remote team in 4 easy steps over on our blog.

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