How to Scale Your Remote Team and Still Keep Everyone Connected
Managing a remote team has its unique challenges. Figuring out how to successfully scale a remote team can be even more trying.
The reality is, with a virtual team, you can’t use your organization’s approach to scaling an in-office team and expect the same results. There are too many factors that are unique to a work-from-wherever work model.
If you do try to, you might create gaps that could dampen productivity and collaboration. You also run the risk of overburdening some employees or overlooking the needs of others.
As remote work is here to stay – a survey conducted by Gartner found that 82 percent of employers plan to allow employees to work from home at least part-time post-pandemic – it’s important that company leaders and managers know what seamless scaling looks like for a remote team.
We’ve laid out the reasons why scaling a remote team is different and what steps you should take to ensure you keep everyone connected along the way.
Why Scaling Is Different When You Have Remote Employees
The main difference is a lack of a unified location. Your remote employees won’t be in the same place at the same time on a daily basis, so you can’t use traditional steps for onboarding new employees and building team cohesion.
There are no in-person group training sessions or office activities to help individuals socially connect with one another.
Your organization also has to take extra cybersecurity precautions. For example, you’ll need to teach remote hires how to avoid phishing scams and what they need to do to log on securely to work apps from their devices.
Without in-person interactions, it can also be harder to gauge who needs what:
- Do new employees require more guidance and feedback from senior employees?
- Where is the fine line between too little oversight and too much – when does training, mentorship, and onboarding get in the way of productivity?
- Are you doing enough to keep existing employees in the loop about business growth and new changes?
- Do new employees feel connected and like they are an integral part of the work culture, or do they feel isolated?
These are questions you need to resolve with remote scaling. You’ll also want to make sure your employees have effective communication tools.
Remote Teams Can’t Thrive Without the Right Tools
According to Igloo’s 2020 State of the Digital Workplace report, 80 percent of remote employees believe they face challenges that in-office workers don’t face.
Despite all the benefits of remote work – less time wasted on commuting, no more office distractions, the ability to hire talent from anywhere, and flexible scheduling – if your remote workers feel left out, you’re not likely to build the high-performing team your organization wants.
This can dampen productivity. Worse, your scaling efforts may turn into a resource drain rather than the growth driver they were meant to be.
To ensure all your remote employees feel like part of the team and have everything they need to do their job, they need robust communication and collaboration tools. High-quality video conferencing for virtual training and meetings, secure file sharing and unified communications for effortless collaboration, and easy integration with all your business tools for better productivity are all essential.
When you have all this in place, scaling your remote teams becomes easier.
How to Scale a Remote Team
Here’s what you can do when hiring new employees to ensure a great experience for everyone.
Keep your existing employees up-to-date with growth changes
Your management and HR teams are focused on new hires. They have an understanding of how things will change with a larger team.
However, don’t forget to keep other remote team members in the loop as well, as they will be working with the people you hire. You also don’t want them to be caught off guard by workflow changes that come with scaling.
Simple email messages to your remote team are enough to keep everyone informed. This will help to create a stronger sense of unity within your growing work-from-home workforce.
Create a virtual onboarding process
Without in-office interactions, you’ll need to rely on technology for onboarding, meetings, and training. Make sure you have a feature-rich platform that allows for plenty of virtual engagement and feedback. This way, you can track what your new hires have learned and what they still need help with.
Provide cybersecurity training on day one
Remote employees need to know how to safely log in from different locations. If your company doesn’t have a virtual private network (VPN), make sure they know how to avoid unsecure networks when accessing business applications.
You’ll also want to go over best practices such as changing passwords regularly, using multi-factor authentication, and always updating devices. And, don’t forget to discuss what tools your organization uses to protect against data breaches and to remain compliant, such as email encryption and archiving.
All of these details may not be a part of your in-office onboarding, but they are essential for onboarding remote teams.
Help your remote employees adjust to a working-from-wherever lifestyle
Remote work isn’t just a change of location. It can be a lifestyle shift. If this is your new hires’ first time working remotely, they may need some help adjusting.
Offer tips on time management, setting up a quiet workspace, and setting clear work-life boundaries. Whether you’re bringing on a couple of new team members or dozens, it’s also important to make them feel welcome. Use virtual team-building activities and connect new hires with older employees.
Set Your Organization Up for Successful Scaling
Ultimately, when scaling a remote team, you have to work harder to ensure everyone is connected – both through technology and socially. When you take these extra steps, new hires will be able to start diving into their work sooner. And you’ll have a strong model for future growth.
For help setting up cloud-based communication and collaboration tools to help your remote staff members thrive, get in touch with the team at Intermedia. We provide all the technology your work-from-wherever employees need to thrive.