“Work from Anywhere”: A Quick Starter Guide to Managing Distributed Teams

Guest Post
Guest Post|

By Priyanka Hutschenreiter, Content Researcher at Omnipresent

It’s no surprise that “Work from Anywhere” (WFA) policies can bring your distributed team an incredible amount of flexibility, while also helping you build a global presence. For many companies, ‘WFA’ schemes are what attracts and retains the best talent—no matter where they’re based.

But unleashing your employees’ ability to work from anywhere can feel like a huge step to take—especially if you’re new to the scene. There’s also no “one-size-fits-all” solution that’ll fit every business, so it’s up to individual businesses to decide how they’ll implement it.

But luckily, it’s not a task you need to do on your own. There are loads of companies out there that specialise remote-friendly tools and services that make ‘WFA’ hassle-free, and there are key steps you can take to ensure you’re managing your teams compliantly and effectively. 

So, that’s why we’ve welcomed our partner and client, Omnipresent, to the Hubble blog. They’ve prepared a 10-point checklist that will help cover your bases and provide  your business with the right ‘Work from Anywhere’ experience.

Are you employing compliantly?

The first step to managing your distributed team is to make sure you’re employing in compliance with local employment law wherever your team members are based. 

This checklist includes considerations you’ll need to take before taking on full-time employees. If you’re using contractors, these steps are still relevant given that contracting doesn’t automatically mean that you’re risk-free

This will help you remain a compliant employer and avoid any nasty surprises in the future, such as fines or legal action. So, without further ado, here’s what you’ll need to consider when implementing a “WFA” policy:

  1. Check where all your employees are based 

Before onboarding, ask your new talent where they are planning to work from and if they have the right to work. If they don’t have the right permits, your HR or legal teams can help them figure out their options. Or if you don’t have an in-house team, a global employment services provider can help to plan your next steps.

  1. Create an international payroll plan

We recently found that of all available employment services, 61% of managers are most aware of the importance of payroll. Make sure you’ve got the right admin support to manage international payroll, as, unfortunately, there’s no one payroll system for the entire world. 

Each jurisdiction has its own payroll systems, like PAYE in the UK. You’ll need to make sure you’re paying out your employees’ salaries, income tax and social security contributions through the correct system wherever they are based.

  1. Make sure you’re paying the right taxes

 Check what taxes you’re required to pay as an employer in a given jurisdiction. This includes any payroll tax or corporate taxes that apply to your business. But it also involves paying your employees’ income taxes to the relevant authorities, through the right payroll system and at the right times.

What experience do you want to create for your employee?

Once you’re set as a compliant global employer, the next step is to focus on building the right work environment for your employees.

  1. Benchmark your employees’ salaries 

Salary benchmarking is becoming more and more popular as a way to offer global employees fair and relevant salaries. Some companies benchmark according to employee location, while others, like Buffer or Github, have created their very own formulas. 

It’s a great way to show your team that you want to create a fair compensation scheme for all. Whichever option you choose, be sure it fits with your overarching business goals and that you communicate your plan to your employees.

  1. Benchmark your employees’ benefits 

A distributed team requires more focus on building engagement, wellbeing and belonging. Similar to salary benchmarking, benefits benchmarking is a must-have in any global employer’s toolkit to ensure team members are getting relevant, attractive and fair benefits that fit their needs.

  1. Help your employees create the right remote office set-up 

You can support your employees in putting together a healthy home office with a remote work allowance. But once in a while, they might still want to escape their private environment and move to a co-working space for a more social work experience.

Second Home - Lisbon

The important thing is to provide your team with options that’ll help keep them happy.

  1. Provide plenty of Learning & Development (L&D) opportunities

 L&D is a great way to help your employees develop their existing skills or re-skill on the job. A recent study showed that 61% of remote workers feel they need training to perform better at their jobs.

There are plenty of virtual learning environments to choose from, like Learnerbly, but you can also offer your employees to attend relevant training sessions wherever they are based. 

(Even better if you have multiple members working in the same location—they can learn together!) Remember to put a budget aside dedicated to L&D and to follow up on how your teams are using these through designated feedback channels.

Designing your everyday work environment

Your remote work environment is going to be the start of your remote work policy. This is where you’re going to elaborate on how you want your team to work together.

Making all these details clear in your policy is going to help your team members understand how they should be working and where to go when things aren’t going so smoothly.

  1. Decide if you want to work synchronously or asynchronously 

This is a big question for most global employers, as having a distributed team spread globally means juggling tasks across time zones. 

Some companies, like Impala, are insisting on having overlapping working hours. But many are also finding that asynchronous working allows them to hire talent much more broadly and that they can be more available to clients everywhere.

As a remote-first company, our team at Omnipresent has been working asynchronously since our inception in 2019. We are a global employment services provider giving our remote team the flexibility they need to be their best selves while championing the benefits of running a globally distributed team.

  1. Communicate through clear channels

Next, you’ll want to be selective about which communication tools you want to use and for what. Having multiple tools at once can be confusing so make sure you write down how you want your employees to use apps, like Slack or Zoom. 

How often your team members communicate and to whom will vary from team to team. But generally, a culture of sharing will help them build a sense of ownership and accountability for their work.

You can also use different channels to create an inclusive and transparent work environment. Feeld is a dating app company pushing the boundaries of gender binarism in the dating app space. Their team operates under a single layer of management and uses open Slack and Notion pages to keep decision-making transparent and to hold each other accountable.

  1. Measure productivity holistically

A lot of managers are concerned about the effects of remote work on productivity. While you may not be able to compare the output of, say, a sales rep compared to an HR manager, you can align individual and team goals with your business objectives. This will make it easier to measure and assess performance in an equitable way. 

You’ll also want to look at 360° qualitative feedback when assessing individual employees. Ask their colleagues how it is to work with them, how they value the quality of their work and whether they collaborate when needed.

You can also enquire if they skill up more junior members, and whether they share their knowledge and insights across the team. This information will help you get a more balanced view of an individual team member’s performance.

How to get the support you need to manage your distributed team

Hiring and managing a distributed team doesn’t have to be more challenging than managing an in-house team. The trick is to find the right support that suits your business’ needs. 

If you’re looking for more holistic global employment support, at Omnipresent, we can help you with everything around remote employment covered in this checklist and more, including HR compliance, onboarding, payroll, benefits and salary benchmarking. Book a call with us to find out how we can help you manage a growing distributed team. 

A note from Hubble

It’s true: “Work from Anywhere” schemes are a great way to attract and retain the world’s best talent, while expanding your global footprint. 

And as the world’s first hybrid workplace platform, Hubble can help businesses give their international teams access to high-quality, on-demand workspaces—no matter where they are in the world. 

We do this through the Hubble Pass; your all-access ticket to a global network of on-demand workspaces. In one flexible membership, your entire international workforce can access desks, private offices, meeting rooms and event space in 600+ locations (and counting!) with complete ease. 

Keen to learn more about the Hubble Pass? We’ve created a handy guide that explains all you need to know about the no-strings-attached Hubble Pass, all in one place.

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