Working with remote employees is not a new organizational framework. Since the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 was passed, the government has encouraged companies to rely more on telecommuting. The year 2020 and the Coronavirus pandemic have proved how beneficial this business model is. Especially when large corporations could continue operations despite the lockdowns.
Considering that savings from hiring remote workers can add up to $11,000 a year, the option has become all the more attractive for organizations of all sizes. Though, working with teams scattered across different global and nationwide locations comes with its own set of challenges. Here are some of the critical mistakes to avoid when managing remote teams.
1. Not Getting Employees to Sign Non-Disclosure Agreements
When you have employees working from home, you’d want to safeguard the company from data breaches and leaking sensitive customer Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Further, if you’re sharing valuable intellectual property with workers so they can do their jobs, you’d want to ensure that the information is safe.
Safeguard your innovations, effective workplace processes, and product research and development details by getting teams to sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA). When entering into contracts with expats, get them notarized via remote online notarization. This will verify the identity and signatures of new team members. A legally notarized NDA can deter employees from wrongdoing and jeopardizing the company.
2. Not Having Open Lines of Communication
Regular communication with international and stateside teams is critical to ensure the smooth running of the company. You’ll relay instructions and assignments and stay up to date with questions. Conducting regular meetings to discuss how tasks are to be completed and result expectations is also straightforward.
Conducting face-to-face Zoom conferences allows managers to connect with their people on a personal level. This interaction can prove to be far more effective than just emails, texts, and phone calls. Often, workers from remote global locations may have varying cultural backgrounds that influence their thought processes and perceptions. Effective communication can ensure that everyone is on the same page.
3. Not Working Out the Tax Implications of Hiring Expat Employees
An important facet of managing remote teams is staying on top of your tax obligations. The IRS expects companies to withhold taxes and show details of all wages paid in their tax returns. However, the agency also has provisions to help employees avoid double taxation. Any worker paying taxes on the income they earn from your company in their home country need not pay taxes on the same income to the US IRS.
Your tax consulting services can advise you on how to adjust withholdings accordingly. Keep in mind that this rule also holds true for US expats living in locations like Australia, France, Germany, Mexico, or any other. If you’re working with expat professionals who pay taxes to, say, the German government, you need not deduct Social Security dues from their wages. It is best to consult a US expat CPA in Australia or any other country the US expat is residing.
4. Not Taking Advantage of Technological Advancements
Various online tools are now available for companies working with remote teams. Keep pace with the competition by taking advantage of these technological advancements. Some great examples include Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet for communication. Additionally, platforms like Upwork, Guru, DesignHill, and 99Designs are great for hiring expert talent to work in your company. You can also use Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox for sharing files and documents. At the same time, Trello, Basecamp, Slack, Monday, and Asana are excellent for task management, team collaboration, and organizing workflows.
Hiring remote teams and allowing workers to work from home has several benefits for your company. However managing remote teams isn’t always easy. Take advantage of the positives and make the most of this crucial edge over the competition, in terms of costs and ease of operations.
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