Remote work is becoming a common occurrence today, with many businesses embracing a work-from-home deal and hiring employees across the globe. While this is a mutually beneficial arrangement, it can take time to adjust as a manager.
Steven Borrelli, founder and CEO of Cuts Clothing, shared his story about hiring and managing a remote team. If you're considering doing the same, or just want insight on how to manage any remote workers you may have, here's what you need to know.
Starting a remote brand
Borrelli was working at an advertising agency when he noticed there was a market opportunity for higher-quality men's T-shirts that could serve multiple purposes.
"The premise behind Cuts is that it's a shirt for the modern man who is always on the go," said Borrelli. "It can be worn in so many different situations – from work, to meetings around town, to date night – while still being comfortable and stylish."
Borrelli added that he wanted to hire a team that reflected the same qualities: flexible, agile, high-quality and fast-paced. To do so, he needed to create a remote work environment.
"Fifty years ago, a remote workforce like you see today would not have been possible," he said. "Thanks to technology, you can now work from anywhere in the world, which is a powerful thing that is unique to this generation of business owners and employees … You can build a whole company culture around this concept, which we are proud to have done with Cuts."
Perks of a remote team
You have a diverse pool of employees.
Because you aren't limited to a specific region, you have more candidates to choose from when hiring. This is a chance to breed diversity, bringing on employees from various locations who lead different lifestyles.
"When you have team members in different states and on different coasts, you have access to a diverse perspective on everything from your own product to what's happening in the news," said Borrelli. "You also get different insight into regional trends and events you might not know about otherwise."
For instance, if there's an industry-related event across the country, you might not know about it or be able to attend. However, having workers in various cities can increase your brand engagement.
You can grow quickly.
Rather than wasting money on an office, you can spend it on hiring more workers. Additionally, since you're open to applicants from various regions, you'll find new employees with ease.
"One of the major benefits is the ability to grow quickly," said Borrelli. "Without the high overhead for a physical office space, you're saving money that you can invest back into your product and your team. As a startup, this lets you compete with big brands."
You attract top talent.
According to Borrelli, offering remote work gives employees more time to pursue side hustles or creative passions. This attracts a much larger pool of applicants, allowing you to hire only the best talent.
Tips for managing a remote team
Since you won't see your employees every day, you'll have to establish exceptional communication. Schedule video calls for meetings, use messenger platforms for day-to-day chats, email projects to your team, make phone calls to check in, etc.
"One of the major challenges of managing a remote team is making sure to always communicate standards and expectations clearly," said Borrelli. "If you aren't clear with what you expect from a job role or project, that employee can't read your mind from three states away to know what you need from them."
Borrelli uses calls, emails, texts and Slack to better communicate and collaborate with his team.
Borrelli noted that managing employees in different time zones requires you to be flexible, even if that means getting up early or working late to accommodate. These sacrifices will help you become a better leader and help your employees feel like they're part of the team – even from hundreds of miles away.
Change up your routine.
Don't just work from home every single day. Mix it up by going to your local café or coworking space, and schedule trips to meet up with employees across the country.
"Cuts has a WeWork office, but I do think it's important to change up your routine for creative purposes," said Borrelli. "I work at different coffee shops or from my phone if I'm traveling, and that allows me to see my work from a different perspective."
If you're feeling uninspired, it's a good sign you need change. Don't be afraid to experiment with your routine and encourage your workers to do the same.