Best Practices for Managing International Employees Remotely

Difficulties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic meant that many people began working from home for the first time. Many got so used to the option that they’re ready to accept offers from their companies to continue working that way for the foreseeable future. Research suggests that 25-30% of the workforce will engage in several remote shifts per week by the end of 2021.

One of the primary advantages of allowing remote work is to benefit from a global workforce rather than one restricted to a single state or country. 

Here are seven best practices to keep in mind when managing international remote teams.

1. Respect the Boundary Between Work Hours and Off Time

Many of your employees may be clocking in from different time zones to get stuff done. 

Failing to remember that your work hours may be their downtime (and vice versa) could make it more difficult for workers to strike a healthy work-life balance. France even has a so-called “right-to-disconnect” law that lets employees avoid dealing with work emails during their off-hours.

Come up with a system whereby each international employee plans their workweek and gets managerial approval. You can even have them list their scheduled hours in your time zone and theirs to avoid confusion. Refer to that schedule and don’t expect people to deal with anything urgent when they’re off the clock. You might write an email that says, “I know you’re not at work right now, but could you please look at this as soon as you start your next shift?”

2. Maintain Frequent Communications

When team members are stationed in various countries, you don’t benefit from seeing them face-to-face every day and having brief but meaningful chats. This scenario can make it difficult to accurately gauge how an employee feels about their remote work situation. A 2020 survey found that 20% of remote workers said collaboration and communication were their top struggles, while another 20% mentioned loneliness.

Making a purposeful effort to stay in touch could alleviate all those difficulties. One executive director of a nonprofit holds virtual daily office hours for people who can get their questions addressed in less than 10 minutes. When one person enters, she “locks” the room, giving others a signal to try back soon. Making it easy for employees to check in from wherever they are allows tackling small issues before they become major problems.

3. Tweak Your Hiring and Onboarding Processes Accordingly

Knowing how to manage remote teams effectively means understanding how to adjust your hiring and onboarding processes. 

One option is to hire through an employer of record (EOR). That entity gives you a single point of contact when hiring globally. You decide which candidates to hire, plus their roles and salaries. The EOR then drafts a locally compliant contract.

Explore how to improve the training for international remote team members who have just joined the company, too. You can help those people feel like they belong by planning virtual coffee breaks or pairing the new hires with seasoned mentors. As you get employees acquainted with their new roles, it could work well to provide them with checklists and milestones for completing necessities within certain timeframes.

4. Give Team Members Access to a CRM Tool

When a company has team members working across the

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