How to Build a Remote Team

With the sound of waves crashing and birds chirping, working remote (especially here in Bali) can seem like an absolute dream. And, to an extent, it is. Working remote as an entrepreneur can be wonderful, not just because of the flexible hours that come with this style of working but also because you often are surrounded by like minded people, with similar goals. However, the common urge to do all the work by yourself (which is faced by all new entrepreneurs) kicks in, and it turns out remote work is not very relaxing at all.

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There is a simple solution to relax: hire a remote team. There are plenty of benefits of hiring remote. Firstly, hiring talent where talent is removes so many barriers to recruitment. Secondly, with multiple nationalities working for you, you are privy to different perspectives on the same matter which more often than not can be incredibly insightful. Furthermore, with the workload divided, you also have more options to manage your time and attain the work-life balance that you came seeking in the first place.

The team behind Livit has seen countless entrepreneurs try to build remote teams and fail. We love to see our entrepreneurial community succeed and therefore we’ve put together a list of tips for you on how to create the best remote team for your needs!

1.       Establish company culture

Company culture is extremely important. It determines the aura of your team. It essentially decides how team members interact and work with one another. There are several elements, such as the work environment, values, expectations and goals, to consider when deciding on company culture. It is important to establish company culture as it not only gives a feeling of community but also because it makes the hiring process infinitely easier.

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Magloft team

For example, Nick Martin, the CEO of Magloft (a digital publishing solution) greatly values open communication. With a small team of only 11, half of Magloft’s employees work remote from all over Indonesia and Europe. This makes team communication extremely important. Thus, he makes sure to hold meetings everyday over Skype, not just to track progress at work but also to form a bond between co-workers that is often missing between remote workers. (you can check their blog for a lot of useful information) If the people who work for him aren’t communicating openly and are unresponsive, he immediately knows that they’re not a good fit for Magloft. This process of elimination makes it easier for him to create the best team for his needs.

2.       Document Everything

With having a remote team, chances are that your employees are going to be working from locations all over the globe. From an administrative point of view, it can be extremely hard to track everything.

Even bigger companies such as Labster, who have scaled up to 95 employees since their origin in 2012, and have remote teams from all the way in the United States to Ukraine to Indonesia, find it extremely difficult to keep up with the different aspects that come with hiring someone. You have to keep track of a multitude of things such as all the different employment laws, finding the right organisational setup for communication, etc.

In the hustle and bustle of it all, it can be quite easy to forget to document even the most basic of things. Have a checklist and make sure that all your systems are in place before you hire someone. Rushing through the process, just so you can get started on work, may end up making things more difficult!

3.       Have OKR’s

OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. Setting objectives for the team and underlining what you want to achieve allows everyone to be on the same page. Having transparent OKR’s means you not only get to track progress of your team but you can also hold them accountable for their work. This is important as if you can see someone struggling you can guide them towards the right path. If some of the OKR’s are being achieved too easily, that means you know there is need for change and to aim higher.

4.       Don’t underestimate cultural differences

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If you’re building a remote team in a country different than your own, then it is extremely important to educate yourself on all the cultural differences that exist. People in all countries work differently and not understanding these habits may lead to several workplace issues.

Mailbird has people working for them across three continents. PR and Media Relations officer, Christin Baumgarten believes that being aware of these differences is key so that they can have an open and honest dialogue about it.

Nick Martin from Magloft says that educating each other about cultural differences is an ongoing process.

“Culturally, we are so different, that it is impossible to know all the differences that may come up! That’s why it’s important to keep talking and communicating to make sure that these differences don’t get in the way!”

5.       Hiring early is better than later

It’s tempting to think that you can achieve everything by yourself, but honestly, everyone needs a little help every now and then. Don’t wait to hire and if you need help for hiring – ask for it! Magloft, Mailbird and Labster have all benefited with the help that Livit has provided them for creating their remote team. Livit, for example, has taken care of all the legal setup that comes with hiring local Indonesians including tax necessities, providing insurance, etc. Having such a partner allows you to take a massive workload off your list – allowing you to concentrate on building your company.

Having and managing a remote team can be challenging. Contrary to popular belief, a remote team may require more coordination than others. To ensure smooth sailing and as little micromanaging as possible, there needs to be and open and honest communication guidelines put into place, along with having a strong administrative base.

Don’t let us scare you!

These tips were designed to inspire you to take the leap to create your perfect team. Having a remote team that you trust will greatly take a load off your chest and allow you to relax, which may be the ultimate key to your next great idea!

Written by Pooja Zaveri


Managing Partner at Livit, #futureofwork enthusiast
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