Best Practices for Managing Remote Teams

Richard.Lyons
Shield GEO
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If you are considering the use of a remote team for some aspect of your business, we have put together a quickstart guide to give you a basic understanding of the best practices for managing remote teams.

What is a Remote Team and Common Misconceptions

A remote team is a connected group of employees or independent contractors working in different geographical locations, but offering their skills to the business projects and goals of one company.  The key to success is establishing a set of best practices for managing remote teams, that create a sense of involvement and connection with the company.

While gaining in popularity with the advent of internet based communication tools, there remain misconceptions about remote teams that make some businesses reluctant to use them for certain areas of business activity.  Those misconceptions include:

  • Remote Workers Are Not as Productive
  • Remote Workers Are Not as Skilled
  • It Is Difficult to Find Remote Workers
  • It Is Difficult to Communicate and Manage Remote Workers
  • Remote Work is Limited to IT and Data Entry Positions

Those ideas are not the reality of modern remote teams, and you can read why in this article.

Setting up and Engaging a Remote Team

How you set up your remote team will determine their productivity and motivation, and some of the essential best practices for remote teams will include:

  • How to recruit and hire the best team members
  • Methods for staying in contact, communicating and making work easier
  • Best tools for monitoring and managing team members
  • You can find details about each of these items here, to get you started on the optimal methods to hire and engage your team members.

Developing an Effective Employee Onboarding Process for Remote Workers

Given that remote workers are usually located some distance from the home office, there are inherent challenges in onboarding team members that have to be addressed.  The steps for effective remote team onboarding can be found in this overview, as well as a checklist and summary of best practices.

Challenges in Managing Remote Teams

Despite the very real benefits of using a remote team for certain business functions, there remain challenges to overcome when employing workers remotely.  Most of these arise because the workers are unsupervised and may work in foreign countries with different laws that apply to employment.

The primary challenges in managing remote teams include:

  • Misclassification of independent contractors
  • Protecting intellectual property and business data
  • Enforcing certain contractual terms, such as non-competes and confidentiality clauses
  • Abiding by notice, termination and severance requirements in the worker’s country of residence
  • Avoiding permanent establishment and corporate tax through the worker’s activity
  • Meeting local tax withholding and reporting criteria

If you want to know more about any of these topics, you can see our thorough review in this article on compliance challenges.

Strategies for Managing Different Types of Remote Teams

There are different strategies to use depending on the type of remote team in place, and best practices for managing remote teams should correspond to the business projects, goals and objectives sought.  Here are two examples of common remote teams and how they can be managed.

Remote Sales Team

When setting up a remote sales team the most important criteria is hiring workers that can be autonomous while also performing as part of a team.  Use of communication and management tools will be essential to keep team members engaged, and to have measurable outcomes and goals for each worker.  More information can be found in this article.

Remote Technical Team

Remote technical teams are widely used in many IT industries to provide services such as interpreting difficult computer problems and providing support for hardware and software troubleshooting.  Team members should have the skills and ability to work independently, while still responding to oversight and management from the home office.

One challenge that must be addressed with remote technical teams is access to proprietary information, sensitive customer data and other intellectual property.  However, with the proper protocols and safeguards, remote technical teams can be a cost effective strategy as outlined in this article.  

How an Employer of Record Can Help You Manage a Remote Team

Companies that employ remote workers living in foreign countries can benefit from the use of a GEO employer of record, that can act as a third party local employer for the worker.  Because the GEO is already established in the worker’s country of residence, it can quickly place the employee on a local payroll, handle withholding and ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.

This allows a company to recruit and hire team members from multiple countries simultaneously, without the time and expense of attempting to run a payroll on its own.  In this way, a remote team can be assembled based purely on ability and talent, rather than geographical proximity to the home office.

The GEO solution is ideally suited to companies that are expanding use of remote teams around the globe, and can be used for even a single employee in a foreign country.  As illustrated in this article, there are challenges associated with paying remote workers while remaining in local compliance with tax, employment and benefit withholding requirements.  The GEO can handle all of this for your remote worker, saving your company the trouble of customizing payroll methods for each remote worker.

About Richard.Lyons

Richard Lyons

Richard is a Consultant and Content Writer at Shield GEO. Shield GEO makes international employment simple. Our customers use our services to employ and payroll hundreds of workers in over fifty countries.

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