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The remote workplace is hardly a novelty anymore. Research suggests that 63 million Americans will work remotely by 2016, and that’s more than one-third of the country’s entire workforce.

The benefits of a remote workplace can be substantial, particularly for hiring managers in highly specialized industries like pharmaceuticals. Setting up remote workspaces lets you hire people you might not have been able to hire otherwise, allowing you to put together a dream team without requiring that the members all be physically present in the same place at the same time.

Creating an effective remote workforce presents some challenges, but these can be overcome with commitment and the use of technology. Here are some best practices that can help you ensure that your remote workforce stays on track:

Hire the Right People, and Build a Great Onboarding Process

You’ll have more flexibility when putting together a remote workforce because you’ll be less constrained by geography, but you still have to hire the right people. Not everyone is cut out for working remotely. Excessive isolation or distractions can impede productivity, so you have to find job candidates whose initiative and commitment are apparent.

The onboarding process is a bit different for remote employees, too. Consider implementing a training program (perhaps via YouTube channel) that helps new remote employees adjust to your company and their roles.

Make an Extra Effort to Be Inclusive

With remote teams, leaders must make a conscious effort to keep everyone in the loop. This means including them (perhaps via video conference) in team meetings and recognizing their work as if they worked on site. This helps everyone feel as if they’re part of a cohesive team and that they all have an important role to play. Using technology to include remote workers in processes like brainstorming sessions is also a good way to help ensure everyone contributes.

Create a Virtual Water Cooler Via Communication Tools

Some organizations set up team chat rooms that are open 24/7. While communication should take place over multiple channels (phone, email, text, video chat, etc.), a team chat room can help scattered workers touch base and remember they’re part of a group effort. In addition to team chat rooms, some organizations set up organization-wide chat rooms or social network that are more loosely structured. That way, workers can engage in the kind of casual communication that helps people in the same physical workspace build strong relationships with one another.

Designate Virtual Office Hours

PhoneEstablishing a time and channel for regular check-ins for your virtual team is important. It may be challenging if your team is distributed across multiple time zones, but having set hours when you expect team members to be available is useful for keeping everyone on the same page. A weekly check-in works well for many organizations, but yours may be different. Even if the check-ins themselves are short and sweet, setting aside a regular time period to meet with remote workers helps team members feel like they belong.

Schedule Face-to-Face Time Regularly

Meeting up in person on occasion is also good business. For some organizations, a quarterly meet-up is necessary, but for others, getting everyone together can’t happen that frequently. This is particularly true if team members are located in different countries. Being able to put a face with a name and voice helps remote team members understand that their work has an effect on actual people, and ir can boost morale and motivation.

Companies in all industries are putting together remote work teams as a way to combine skill mixes to their greatest benefit. Finding people who excel as remote team members, however, can be challenging. Many companies choose to work with specialty recruiters because their understanding of the industry and their outstanding networks allow them to seek out the best job candidates for remote positions.

With the help of a talented and experienced specialty recruiter, hiring managers can put together those dream teams that can get work done effectively and efficiently. The remote team is a reality in many industries today, and when remote teams are chosen and managed well, they can exceed everyone’s expectations.

A version of this article originally appeared at

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