Diversity in Workplace: How to Compose Fully International Remote Teams?

September 20th, 2023

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  • Creating international remote teams brings a unique opportunity to embrace diversity in the workplace like never before.
  • Having this variety makes the creative process better and creates a work environment that’s more welcoming and open to different perspectives.
  • The combination of various things, like the unexpected pandemic and the natural desire of Millennials to balance work and life, has led to many businesses around the world choosing to let people work from home.

Table of Contents

Creating international remote teams brings a unique opportunity to embrace diversity in the workplace like never before. When remote workers come from different cultures, backgrounds, and time zones, working together becomes a mix of many different ideas and points of view.

Having this variety makes the creative process better and creates a work environment that’s more welcoming and open to different perspectives. Each team member’s distinct experiences and viewpoints can lead to innovative problem-solving and a broader understanding of global markets.

However, to harness the true potential of such a team, it’s crucial to cultivate an atmosphere of respect and empathy, ensuring that everyone’s voices are heard and valued.

The combination of various things, like the unexpected pandemic and the natural desire of Millennials to balance work and life, has led to many businesses around the world choosing to let people work from home. No doubt, this approach has shown significant productivity improvements, so it’s important to implement it carefully in order to compose fully international remote teams.

The Benefits of Allowing Teams to Work Remotely.

The remarkable surge of remote work in recent years owes its momentum to the benefits it bestows. These advantages encompass heightened job satisfaction, augmented employee productivity, enhanced talent retention, and substantial cost savings.

Increase Job Satisfaction.

Remote work contributes to reducing stress levels and improving employee job satisfaction, ultimately yielding a positive impact on employee well-being and productivity. According to Owl Labs‘ research conducted in 2023, 79% of workers express heightened job satisfaction when allowed to work remotely.

In addition, an alternative study of 1,001 remote workers in the U.S. indicates that nearly 80% of respondents perceive their average stress level during the workweek as either “not stressed” or only “moderately stressed.”

Increase Productivity and Performance.

Many people mistakenly believe that when employees work remotely, they become less productive due to a lack of close supervision. However, the opposite is actually correct.

With the availability of online message boards, communication tools, and time-tracking systems, managers can easily keep an eye on international remote teams and measure how productive they are. Companies that adopt remote work and use the right tools often discover that teams working from different locations get more work done than those working in the office.

As an example, according to a report from Intuition, 83% of employees are able to accomplish more when they work from home. This increase in productivity leads to a 27% overall improvement in company performance.

Attract and Retain Top Talent.

When companies don’t have to worry about where someone lives, they can hire from a bigger group of people. This helps them find employees with different kinds of backgrounds and skills to match what they’re looking for.

Furthermore, when companies allow employees to work from their place, they can lower the number of employees resigning from their positions.

In 2023, 74% of employees mentioned that being able to work remotely makes them want to stay with their company. If they couldn’t work from home anymore, about two-thirds would start searching for a new job that lets them work flexibly, and 39% would even consider leaving their current job.

As more people want the option to work remotely, companies that want to get and keep the best employees must provide some kind of remote work to stay competitive.

Save Money on Overhead Expenses.

In pursuit of cost reduction, many companies recognize the advantages of enabling remote work for their employees, resulting in substantial savings across various operational aspects. These cost reductions encompass expenses such as office space rent, utilities, janitorial services, security, and maintenance.

Global Workplace Analytics indicates that implementing a work-from-home policy for half the time could yield a commendable annual cost reduction of approximately $11,000 per employee for businesses in the U.S. Remote work is a compelling avenue for companies seeking to optimize their financial efficiency.

How to Design an Optimal Structure for Your International Remote Team.

Determine The International Remote Teams Structure.

Before embarking on your recruitment marketing campaign and delegation efforts, a paramount consideration involves delineating the optimal structure for your remote team. Will the entire team operate remotely, or will certain members occupy this virtual domain? Is your preference to source talents from a localized vicinity? Or do you intend to cast a broader net, drawing candidates from diverse locations, nationally and internationally?

Furthermore, shall the team adhere to remote work daily, or shall occasional office attendance be part of the arrangement? Thoroughly reflecting on these choices will pave the way for a successful international remote teams establishment.

Carefully select the team structure that best aligns with your business’s objectives. Additionally, remain aware of the potential for future pandemics, which may need the adoption of remote work for all employees.

When deliberating on the team structure, a crucial factor to consider is the geographical distribution of team members. Should they span various regions within the country or extend internationally, considering different time zones becomes imperative, particularly if synchronous online collaboration is a fundamental requirement for all staff.

As for building the right way to choose and set up your team that matches your company’s goals. Here are some common approaches:

Fully Remote Teams: All team members work from different locations, and there is no central office. Communication and collaboration happen online.

Hybrid Teams: Some team members work in a physical office, while others work remotely. This setup allows for a mix of in-person and online interactions.

Remote-Friendly Teams: The team primarily works in an office, but there is flexibility for team members to work remotely when needed or on a regular basis.

Project-Based Teams: Teams are assembled for specific projects, and members may be located anywhere. They come together for the project’s duration and disband when it’s completed.

Outsourced Teams: Certain tasks or projects are outsourced to remote contractors or agencies. These external teams work on specific assignments.

Regarding the potential for future pandemics, it’s a good idea to have plans and technology in place that allow all employees to work remotely if necessary. This includes ensuring they have the tools and resources they need to be productive from home and establishing clear communication channels for remote collaboration.

Recruit Employees Carefully.

Studies have undeniably demonstrated a remarkable upswing in the productivity of remote employees. But it’s important to acknowledge that this growth is about people who already have self-control, drive, and skill in remote work. The team works from their own homes, so in-person oversight isn’t possible. This highlights the importance of hiring people who are reliable.

Think carefully and take enough time to improve your hiring process, adjusted for finding a remote team. Focus on candidates who are really good at communicating, responding quickly, and being skilled in what they do.

Provide Clear Guidelines And Set Expectations.

Managing team responsibility from a distance can be difficult. This might make it harder to make sure everyone is working their best without clear rules and expectations. So, it’s really important to make sure your international remote teams in different countries understand what they’re supposed to do. You can do this by giving them clear instructions.

It’s really important to cover important topics in the guidelines. Make sure to include details about keeping track of time, who to contact for problems or questions about projects, and how to document tasks when they’re done.

Also, be clear about when people should work, when they need to be online, and what their individual and team goals are. Explain how often people should communicate, what ways are okay to communicate, and when they should use them.

Use Time Tracking.

Although monitoring international remote teams members in person is unfeasible, enforcing accountability for their performance remains essential. To this end, employ time tracking measures to ensure adherence to guidelines and fulfillment of time-related expectations.

Furthermore, time tracking is a valuable tool for accurately calculating remuneration based on hours worked, identifying workflow inefficiencies, pinpointing team members needing additional training or support, and determining product prices that hinge on time invested in their creation.

Many free and paid time-tracking apps and software solutions are available in the digital realm. Among the most esteemed time-tracking software options are TSheets, Zoho Projects, Hubstaff, and VeriClock.

Use Reliable Communication Methods.

Vital for international remote teams success, communication necessitates the strategic implementation of diverse and reliable channels. Foster real-time direct communication among team members using an internal messenger.

In contrast, email correspondence facilitates broader communication involving the entire team and esteemed clients. To further bolster project-specific interactions, leverage the robust capabilities of Slack, Discord, Telegram, Workplace, and Mattermosta. These are some popular and user-friendly platforms providing dedicated communication channels within the team.

Supply The Tools Your International Remote Teams Needs.

A Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) policy holds sway in remote work, allowing employees to utilize personal computers and devices. However, economic constraints may hinder access to state-of-the-art technology for all individuals. To promote optimal performance and productivity, furnishing your team with the necessary equipment is advisable, ensuring a conducive and empowered remote environment.

Depending on the nature of your team’s work, supplementary tools may prove indispensable beyond computers. A robust business communication system facilitates seamless interactions, while high-quality photo printing or editing software empowers artistic endeavors. A content management system streamlines organization, ensuring efficient workflows.

Additionally, granting access to a stock photography account enriches creative resources. Enhance your remote team’s probability of success by providing them the tools to execute their tasks with efficacy and excellence.

Latest AI and CRM tools that’ll help your team to produce high-quality work: Canva, HubSpot, Pipedrive, ChatGPT Plus, Midjourney, Jasper, and much more. You can find more popular AI tools here.

Engage Your Team Regularly.

Employing reliable communication methods facilitates regular engagement with your remote team, thereby mitigating the risks of disconnection.

Such disconnection can significantly impact morale and productivity. To bolster team engagement:

  • Institute a practice of regularly checking in with individual team members.
  • Think about the “servant” management style. Present yourself as a friend and someone who assists, rather than just a manager.
  • Consider the team’s past work history. Give extra focus to those who are working remotely for the first time, and spend more time assisting them.
  • Organize weekly or monthly departmental or team meetings and convene company-wide gatherings at least once a month.
  • If you’re following Scrum, use its practices to enhance collaboration and keep everyone on track.
  • Employ video calling platforms like Zoom to ensure seamless participation of remote workers who cannot attend in-person meetings at the office.

Invest In Your Team’s Development.

Though providing continuous employee training and development is not novel, the Millennial cohort’s emphasis on this aspect has brought its significance to the forefront. Constructing an effective and productive remote team requires more than initial planning, recruitment, and hardware distribution.

A genuine commitment to success demands a proactive investment in the team’s development. Foster growth by organizing workshops and refresher courses, promoting a culture of perpetual learning. Furthermore, consider offering your team members an education or study stipend to pursue courses relevant to their professional roles, enhancing their capabilities and contributing to the team’s success.

Foster A Healthy Team Spirit.

The age-old saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” rings true for international remote teams, just as it does for workers of any description. If circumstances permit, foster a robust team spirit among your remote workforce by facilitating in-person socialization. Engage in enjoyable activities, such as venturing out for a game of Adventure Golf, followed by a convivial pizza gathering on a Friday afternoon.

However, if the geographical distance of your remote team precludes in-person gatherings, resort to virtual social events instead. For instance, organize a simultaneous delivery of pizza and drinks to each team member’s home on a designated date, and convene online for entertaining pursuits like karaoke or a general knowledge quiz.

How Can You Create a Strong Remote Work Culture?

Enable Async Work Where Appropriate.

In asynchronous work, employees do tasks with a good amount of independence. They don’t need to sync up with colleagues in real-time very often. The main reason companies use asynchronous work is because it makes employees more productive, especially for tasks that need a lot of focus. This way, there are fewer interruptions to their work.

Implementing async work is context-dependent, with real-time responsiveness crucial for roles such as customer support. However, aligning async work with remote work can prove mutually reinforcing. Remote work effectively addresses the distractions often encountered in traditional office setups, thus establishing an environment conducive to async work. 

Nevertheless, the potential for interruptions persists, stemming from calls and messages. Organizations must proactively implement practical measures to harness the cultural benefits that async work offers.

By curbing unnecessary video calls and granting employees the flexibility to manage Slack or Teams notifications, companies can foster a culture that embraces the essence of async work.

Have a transparent remote work policy.

Legal provisions in specific countries like the Netherlands and Ireland grant employees the right to request remote work. Concurrently, numerous companies voluntarily incorporate a parallel into their HR policies.

However, it is crucial to recognize that the right to request remote work does not impose a mandatory obligation upon employers to approve all such requests. In instances where remote work applications are declined without reasonable justification, employees may experience a sense of resentment.

This, in turn, can engender increased employee turnover rates and adverse effects on overall productivity. However, it is essential to establish clear, equitable, and well-defined criteria governing the eligibility for remote work.

Turn the right to disconnect into an obligation to disconnect.

Originally emanating from France, numerous countries and corporations have adopted a “right to disconnect” policy, empowering employees to refrain from responding to work-related communications beyond their designated work hours. This phenomenon reflects the mounting pressure on employees to remain perpetually online and accessible outside their official work schedule.

This situation affects both regular 9-to-5 workers who keep working late and people who work even when they’re supposed to be on vacation. With the increase in remote work, employers need to be more watchful about this issue. Because it’s harder to see when employees are working, there’s a higher chance of them doing work outside their normal hours without a good reason. 

A culture of respecting the right to disconnect throughout the organization requires proactive efforts to prevent employees from feeling obligated to “check in” beyond their scheduled work hours.

The Bottom Line.

In specific office environments, embracing a remote-first philosophy has translated into a substantial segment of regular employees transitioning to remote work settings.

At the same time, senior managers continue to uphold a full-time office presence. Within this context, two significant challenges warrant consideration. An unintended perception may arise, suggesting that remote work is subordinate to in-office work. Secondly, the potential for proximity bias may emerge – an unconscious predisposition among leadership to favor in-person office workers over their remote counterparts.

While senior managers may have obligations that require their presence in the office, it is essential that, whenever viable, they also actively participate in remote work. Demonstrating this dual engagement fosters employee confidence and alleviates concerns about potential inequities linked to remote work arrangements.

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Please cite as:
Siddiqui, HBielczyk, N. (2023, September 20th). Diversity in Workplace: How to Compose Fully International Remote Teams? Retrieved from https://ontologyofvalue.com/diversity-in-workplace-how-to-compose-fully-international-remote-teams

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