Tips for Managing a Remote Team in Latin America

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, remote work continues to grow in popularity. Many companies are looking to Latin America for world-class talent in their teams.

Building a remote team in Latin America can provide companies with several benefits, including time zone compatibility, language skills, and cultural understanding. However, there are some challenges that come with working remotely.

1. Communicate with your team in person.

In a traditional office, managers might frequently check in with their employees. This is not always possible when managing remote teams, but it’s important to set clear expectations around how and when you’ll communicate with your team.

Nonverbal cues like facial expressions and tone of voice are largely absent in remote communication, making it challenging to convey nuance. This can cause miscommunication and misunderstandings, which is why it’s critical to use empathy in your communications with your remote team. If someone’s email comes across as brusque, consider that they may have had a stressful customer call beforehand or a personal issue on their mind.

Many remote employees struggle to compartmentalize their home lives from their work lives, especially if they have children at home. They may be tempted to scroll through social media or watch TV while working, which can negatively impact their productivity and affect the quality of their work. To help them stay focused, it’s important to provide regular opportunities for them to socialize with their coworkers, both in person and online.

During daily team meetings, encourage your remote workers to participate in informal discussions about topics unrelated to work. At GitLab, we also schedule regular virtual happy hours or coffee breaks to make sure our team members are able to talk about non-work-related things. These conversations are important to fostering a healthy and productive work environment for everyone on our team.

2. Schedule regular face-to-face meetings.

Remote employees can often feel isolated and unable to connect with coworkers. This lack of in-person interaction can lead to a sense of alienation that can affect performance and productivity. However, managers can take steps to address this issue and encourage team members to socialize more. For instance, they can organize virtual happy hours or coffee breaks to help them feel more connected and engaged in their work.

Another way to keep the lines of communication open is through regular face-to-face meetings with your team. These can be scheduled with project teams to discuss progress on their goals or full meetings to evaluate overall company and departmental priorities. In addition to these meetings, it’s important for managers to communicate with their team members regularly. This includes sharing company news and updates, answering questions, and providing feedback. A bit of overcommunication can go a long way in helping to keep the team motivated and productive.

In addition to regular meetings, it’s also important for managers to create and maintain a clear set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for their team. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding expectations and responsibilities. It’s also a great tool for managing conflicts within the team and clarifying unclear areas of focus.

3. Build personal relationships with your team members.

Getting to know your team is an important part of building trust and collaboration. However, this can be difficult when teams are working remotely.

Fortunately, there are ways to make this process easier. For example, you can use team-building exercises and activities to help your team get to know each other better. You can also use a video-conferencing platform like Slack to allow your team members to interact and communicate with each other. This will help them feel more connected to the team, and it will also reduce the amount of time they spend relying on nonverbal cues like nodding and thumbs-up gestures.

Another benefit of hiring a remote team from Latin America is that many Latin American job applicants are bilingual or multilingual, making it easy for them to communicate with their US-based employers. In addition, many Latin American countries have similar time zones to the United States, which makes it easier for them to work during US business hours.

As the popularity of remote work continues to grow, more companies are turning to Latin America for their talent needs. In fact, according to a recent report by Owl Labs, South America leads the world in fully remote companies, with 81% of companies in the region having at least one remote employee. To learn more about hiring a remote team from Latin America, contact the People Ops experts at Skuad today.

4. Organize virtual happy hours or coffee breaks.

Virtual happy hours or coffee breaks are a great way to build team morale and encourage collaboration. They can be as simple as meeting in a group video call for some social talk or more active, like a mini dance party.

Be sure to take into account time zones, so your virtual event can work for everyone. For example, a 4 pm happy hour may be mid-morning in some of your people’s time zone. It’s best to send out a poll and ask what times work best for your remote team members.

Building trust and fostering a collaborative culture is critical when managing remote teams. Regular meetings, check-ins, and communication tools are essential for establishing these relationships. It’s also important to recognize and reward team members to keep them engaged and productive. With remote work growing in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more crucial to establish strong relationships with team members.

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