Things You Need to Know About Remote Work

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Are you planning on having a remote work at your place? Having a hybrid team or even a fully remote staff can be an excellent choice. There are numerous benefits you get from having a remote team under your wing.

But there are also a unique set of challenges that remote working creates. In this article, we’ll take a look at the various facets of remote teams, so you can determine whether remote staff are for you or not.

If they are and you wish to hire a virtual assistant, then our team at 24X7 Direct can help. We are a reputed remote staffing company based out of Australia, and we can help you build your remote team with ease. Our virtual assistants come from diverse backgrounds and diverse experiences, ensuring you’ll find the remote staff you’re looking for.

Now let’s get started.

Advantages of having a remote workforce

Remote workers can offer you numerous advantages:

Remote teams can save you a lot of money

Research indicates that a single remote worker can save the company up to $5,240 per year by working from home. In comparison, having in-office workers rakes up your cost because you need to spend on rent, utilities, food, transport etc.

Remote staff come with diverse skill sets

Contrary to misconception, your virtual assistants aren’t just skilled in administrative work. You can hire remote staff for everything from social media management to data analytics to legal representation.

Remote working allows you to hire people from around the world

One of the best benefits of working with remote teams is that they don’t restrict you to hiring from single geography. You can find and hire highly qualified talent who are particularly suited to your needs, no matter where they live.

Remote teams make your company more eco-friendly

Depending on the vehicle a person uses to commute to and from work, they can release 180g-650g of CO2 per kilometre. Considering how so many people are single travellers and don’t carpool, that’s a tremendous amount of carbon emissions being released each day. Additionally, most companies use about 5000kWh – 25000kWh of energy each year.

Together, all of this can make a company extremely unsustainable. But when your teams work remotely, they cease to have such a negative impact on the environment.

Remote working helps you offer your staff work-life balance and good employee health

Your virtual assistants and remote staff – especially those who have young kids or elders in their family – will find their weekdays easier to manage. This is because of the freedom that remote working offers. Additionally, the absence of commute time will give them space to pursue their hobbies.

Challenges of managing a remote team

Having remote teams isn’t always rosy. Here are a few challenges you need to be ready for:

Your virtual assistant’s network and device endpoint may not always be safe

Many remote employees may not have the same level of network security and device security that you normally have at the office. This can compromise the security of your sensitive data.

It may be difficult getting everyone together for team meetings

If you’re hired your remote teams from different places in the world, it may be challenging to sync their time zones and schedules. Getting everyone to attend a meeting will take a lot of coordination.

Employee engagement becomes challenging

Since your virtual assistants never really get to interact physically with in-office staff, it may become difficult for them to develop a real bond with the rest of your team. Lack of employee interaction outside of work may create problems in cross-team collaboration too.

Your remote worker’s household may be an added distraction

Your employees will have personal responsibilities, and these can become very distracting when they are at home. From screaming kids to visiting neighbours to chores, all of these may reduce workplace productivity if not handled correctly.

Your staff may find themselves unable to bifurcate work time from personal time

Many remote staff members find themselves unable to disconnect from work. Research shows that during the covid19 pandemic, remote workers put in approximately 300m hours of overtime compared to in-office workers. While reasons vary, the most commonly cited one is the pressure to show managers that they’re still working despite working from home.

You have certain responsibilities towards your remote workers

While your virtual assistants and other remote staff can definitely bring you so many benefits, they can do so only when you provide adequate support. Not giving them the right support will result in the challenges we have discussed just now.

This is where you need to know about what responsibilities you as a manager or employer have towards your remote team:

Choose the right people for your remote staff

Remote working isn’t for everyone, and that’s perfectly okay. But knowing who to hire can help you prevent unnecessary problems such as low productivity and loss of customers. Ideally, you need to hire virtual assistants who are:

  • Disciplined
  • Self-driven
  • Require minimal supervision
  • Are proactive.
  • Are open to having a flexible schedule (and not just a 9-5 job).

Equip your remote workers with the technology they need to do the work

Often, the absence of the right collaborative tools and technology can become the primary problem that prevents remote teams from succeeding. When you give your teams the right tools, you empower them to discharge their duties well.

Some of the tools you need to provide are:

  • Remote desktop access applications like Screen sharing software.
  • Internal communication tools like Slack.
  • Project management tools like Trello & Asana
  • Time management tools like Scoro
  • Data sharing tools like Dropbox & Google Drive
  • Collaboration tools like Microsoft 365
  • Video conferencing, screen sharing & screen recording tools like Zoom, Google Meet & MS Teams
  • Digital signature tools like PandaDoc
  • Calendar & scheduling tools like Calendly
  • Language translation tools like Smartcat & Linguee

Include remote teams in your training and skill up gradation activities

A lot of times, virtual assistants are ignored by companies when they’re planning training activities. This is usually because VA’s may be hired only for a short period of time, and companies may not feel the expense justified to train them.

But here’s the thing. Training your VA’s and other remote staff helps your company reap the benefits. When they’re equipped with new skills/knowledge, they will use it to do your work more efficiently. This will improve your productivity, quality and profitability. Plus, when you train your remote workers, you won’t have to hire new staff to do more complex tasks and can instead divide your work amongst your existing VA’s.

Give your remote employees access to company data and resources

Some managers hesitate to provide remote teams access to key databases and other resources. While this is understandable from a security perspective, it’s not a great idea when you’re interested in productivity and profitability. The fact is, your remote workers will be able to do their work – your company work – better, only when they have access to the resources when they need them.

Make remote team engagement a priority

Although your remote teams may not be physically in front of you, don’t ignore team building and engagement activities. Remote staff can feel very lonely and disengaged from their teams. They enjoy team building and engagement activities.

Hosting weekly check-ins, fun activities (such as Get to know your buddy or friendly Q&A sessions) and maybe even a virtual game night can help your employees get to know one another. It will also improve your own relationship with them and help people feel like they’re part of the company.

In fact, studies show that employees work harder and better when they feel vested in the company’s future. Team engagement is one of the best ways to make your remote workers feel vested in your company’s future.

Keep your virtual assistants in the loop about strategic plans

Your virtual assistants perform integral tasks for your company. From form filling to accounting to marketing analytics, their efforts are integral to your goal achievement. This is why it helps if you tell them what your goals and strategic plans actually are. When your remote workers know what you intend to achieve, they will be in a better position to help you achieve these goals.

· Develop work schedules in consultation with your remote workers

Remote working can be a tricky thing when you work with employees who are from other time zones. But neither does this mean that you should force employees to adhere to your time zone. Nor does it mean that you should always defer to their preferred work times.

The best way to develop a work schedule – especially for team meetings – is to consult each virtual assistant and then choose a time that overlaps most of the time zones.

If you’re still having trouble scheduling work/meetings, use a tool like World Time Buddy or Time Zone Converter to check for time zone overlap. Finally, if a specific group of workers is outside all available time slots, record your meeting so they can watch it when they’re back online. They can consult you for clarification later.

Other things about the remote staff you probably didn’t know about

Now that you’re aware of how to work with remote teams, let’s quickly cover some important aspects about remote workers that you may not know about:

Remote teams have a lower attrition rate than in-office teams

Studies show that companies that hire remote staff have a 25% lower attrition rate compared to companies that don’t. Despite the household distractions, remote staff find the freedom that remote work brings to be particularly beneficial personally and professionally. This lowered attrition can save you a lot of money by reducing the number of open positions you need to fill.

Hiring your remote staff is often an easier and less time-consuming process

The great thing about remote hiring is that you have specialized companies that have immense experience with remote and virtual assistant recruitment. When you work with them, they’ll take over your hiring start-to-finish. Apart from hiring, many remote staffing companies, like us at 24X7 Direct, also take care of contract management, payroll and IT support for the virtual assistants they manage.

Remote workers are generally more productive than in-office workers

Although remote workers sometimes have household distractions, research shows that remote workers are 47% more productive than in-office workers. Additionally, their performance improves by 13% too. This is mainly because of how some managers have trust issues. They perceive remote workers as less productive than their in-office counterparts. To prove this belief wrong, remote employees work longer hours and put in more effort, making them more productive.

Remote working can fill both one-off and long-term requirements

The great thing about remote workers is that you can hire them for occasional, one-time service or for a longer project of a few months to a few years. Even in this, you can choose to work with virtual assistants on a freelance, semi-permanent or even a permanent basis. There is no restriction about how you want to create your remote hiring contract. Most virtual assistant recruitment companies will have a flexible hiring policy to accommodate your needs.

The future of global hiring may be remote

A recent McKinsey survey of 2,000 tasks and 800 jobs revealed that remote working might become a key defining trait of the future. While not all companies will go fully remote, most will adopt a hybrid hiring model. According to the report, around 20% of all workforce may work from home for 3-5 days in a week.

The finance, insurance, management, scientific research & IT industries will see the highest rates of remote or hybrid working adoption.

Wrapping up

Remote working can be transformational to your firm. Reach out to our virtual assistant recruitment service providers at 24X7 Direct and find your team of highly qualified remote staff. We look forward to helping you build your dream team.