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Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

How to collaborate effectively with remote colleagues

Gloria Quintanilla
May 8, 2018 · 5 min read

Today’s workplace is global and virtual. More and more people are choosing to work remotely, especially in the U.S. and Europe. According to a Gallup report published last year, 43% of the 15,000 American workers who participated in the study spent at least some time working remotely. That represents a four percentage point increase since 2012. Remote work’s appeal is clear to employees: more flexibility, no long commutes and less distractions. But what about employers? If you’re thinking of starting a new company, you may have second thoughts about working with people at a distance. It’s a similar story if your company has always done things in a co-located way. I spoke to successful digital nomads and freelancers in the Squads community to dispel some myths about remote work and document best practices.

Remote work. Nomad life. What do they actually mean?

Digital nomadism and remote work are popular among freelance developers, designers and marketers.

How to work effectively with remote workers

Communication is everything

Don’t micromanage

“One of the primary perks of working remotely is being able to better manage your schedule,” Emma says. “If your client tries to make sure you’re at your desk the whole day, it creates a bad vibe and neither the remote worker nor the client will gain from it.”

Keep timezones in mind

Manage your expectations

“If there’s anything I would tell companies is to invest time in writing a briefing,” Ewoud states. “Have clarity on what you’re asking. Having a proper briefing makes sure that you manage your expectations. This sets the freelancer up for success. Let them know what’s ok and what isn’t.”

Document effectively

“The most important thing about remote work is that everything must have a URL “If it doesn’t have a url, it didn’t happen.”

Use tools like Trello to keep track of tasks. Keep a shared space for assignments and deliverables on services like Google Drive or Dropbox.

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Infographic via Squads

Allow for a learning curve

Other remote workers I’ve spoken to advise that you allow for a learning curve and possibly do a “test gig” before you sign off on a contract.

Make sure you hire the best

“Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get clients quickly,” says Alice, a marketer and virtual assistant based in Romania. “Give it time and keep looking. And remember that building a good reputation is extremely important, most of your business will likely come from referrals, either through your own clients or from an existing community.”

“As a remote worker, you have to prove yourself,” says Ewoud. “That’s why we focus on client satisfaction. It’s the one metric that matters for our company. I’ve been working like this for 5 years. Sometimes we turn down clients if we can’t guarantee a satisfaction score of 8 or above.”

The bottom line, if you focus on quality, remote work will pay off for the employer and the freelancer.


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Gloria Quintanilla

Written by

Writer at @squadshq | Online marketer | Helping SaaS companies grow at @chirppoint

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +670K people. Follow to join our community.

Gloria Quintanilla

Written by

Writer at @squadshq | Online marketer | Helping SaaS companies grow at @chirppoint

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +670K people. Follow to join our community.

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