How To Make Remote Hires Feel Like Part of the Team

updated on 03 April 2024

Remote work is not a new phenomenon, but it has become more prevalent and popular in recent years, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a survey by Upwork, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely by 2025, which is an 87% increase from the pre-pandemic levels. Remote work offers many benefits for both employers and employees, such as cost savings, flexibility, productivity, and work-life balance.

However, sometimes remote workers may feel isolated, disconnected, or undervalued by their colleagues and managers. They may also face communication barriers, cultural differences, or time zone issues that can affect their collaboration and performance. These challenges can be amplified when hiring offshore employees, who are remote workers located in a different country from the employer.

While offshore hiring can help companies access a larger and more diverse talent pool, reduce labor costs, extend operating hours, and enter new markets, offshore hiring also requires ensuring that the remote employees feel like part of the team and share the same vision and values as the company.

Now, let's explore how to make these remote hires feel like an essential part of your accounting and finance team.

#1. Provide a comprehensive onboarding process

One of the most important steps to make remote hires feel like part of the team is to provide them with a comprehensive and engaging onboarding process.

A good onboarding process helps remote hires understand their expectations, responsibilities, and goals, as well as the company’s mission, vision, values, and culture. Onboarding has to take care of the integration of new employees into the organization, and providing them with the necessary training, tools, resources, and support to succeed in their roles

A good onboarding process for remote hires should include:

  • A welcome package that contains information about the company, the team, the role, and the policies and procedures related to remote work.
  • A virtual orientation session that introduces the remote hires to their managers, teammates, and other key stakeholders. This session should also cover topics such as communication channels, collaboration tools, feedback mechanisms, performance evaluation criteria, and career development opportunities.
  • A buddy or mentor system that pairs the remote hires with experienced employees who can guide them through their first weeks or months on the job. The buddy or mentor can also help them build relationships with other team members and provide them with social and emotional support.
  • A regular check-in schedule that ensures that the remote hires receive frequent and consistent feedback from their managers and peers. The check-ins should also address any questions, concerns, or challenges that the remote hires may have regarding their work or their integration into the team.
  • A continuous learning plan that offers remote hires opportunities to develop their skills and knowledge through online courses, webinars, podcasts, articles, books, or other resources. The learning plan should also include opportunities for cross-cultural training and awareness if the remote hires are working from a different country.

#2. Foster effective communication

Communication is key for any team to function well, but it is especially crucial for remote teams. Remote teams face more communication challenges than in-house teams due to factors such as physical distance, lack of visual cues, language barriers, cultural differences, or time zone differences. Therefore, it is important to plan an effective communication guideline among remote team members to ensure that they are aligned on their tasks, goals, expectations, and feedback.

Some of the ways to foster effective communication among remote team members are:

  • Establish clear and consistent communication guidelines that specify how often, when, and where to use for different types of communication.
  • Use a variety of communication tools that suit different needs and preferences. For example, use email for formal and asynchronous communication; use chat for informal and quick communication; and use video calls for interactive and personal communication.
  • Encourage regular feedback exchanges among team members to provide recognition, appreciation, guidance, support, or improvement suggestions. Feedback can be given in various ways such as one-on-one meetings (virtual or in-person), group meetings, surveys, polls, or recognition platforms.
  • Create opportunities for informal and social communication that can help build rapport, trust, and camaraderie among team members. For example, create a virtual break room where team members can chat about non-work topics; start a ‘good news’ conversation where team members can share positive stories or achievements; and hold virtual company events such as happy hours, trivia nights, or karaoke sessions.
  • Be mindful of cross-cultural communication issues that may arise when working with offshore employees. For example, be aware of different communication styles, preferences, norms, values, and expectations that may vary across cultures; avoid using jargon, slang, idioms, or humor that may not translate well or may cause offense; use simple and clear language and check for understanding; respect different time zones and holidays; and show curiosity and appreciation for cultural diversity.

#3. Promote collaboration and teamwork

Collaboration and teamwork are essential for any team to achieve its objectives, but they are more challenging for remote teams due to the lack of physical proximity and interaction. Remote teams may struggle with coordination, cooperation, accountability, or innovation if they do not have effective ways to work together. Therefore, it is important to promote collaboration and teamwork among remote team members to ensure that they are engaged, motivated, and productive.

Some of the ways to promote collaboration and teamwork among remote team members are:

  • Define clear and shared goals and roles for the team and each team member. This can help create a sense of direction, purpose, and ownership for the team and reduce confusion, duplication, or conflict.
  • Use collaborative tools and platforms that enable team members to work together on projects, tasks, documents, or files. For example, use cloud-based software such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive to store and share files; use online tools such as Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides to co-create and edit documents; use online platforms such as Trello, Asana, or Basecamp to manage projects and tasks.
  • Implement agile methodologies that foster teamwork and adaptability. For example, use scrum or kanban frameworks that divide work into short iterations or sprints; use daily stand-up meetings to update team members on progress, challenges, or plans; use retrospectives to review and improve team performance.
  • Encourage peer-to-peer learning and knowledge sharing among team members. This can help enhance team skills, expertise, and creativity. For example, create a knowledge base or wiki where team members can document and access best practices, tips, or lessons learned; introduce ‘show and learn’ sessions where team members can present their work or share their insights; create a learning plan that offers team members opportunities to learn from each other through online courses, webinars, podcasts, articles, books, or other resources.
  • Organize virtual team building activities that can help strengthen team bonds, assistant trust, and morale. For example, play online games such as trivia, bingo, or scavenger hunt; hold virtual campfires where team members can share stories or experiences; organize group fitness classes such as yoga, meditation, or dance.

#4. Recognize and reward remote team members

Recognition and reward are important for any team to motivate and retain its members, but they are more critical for remote teams due to the lack of face-to-face interaction and visibility. Remote team members may feel underappreciated, overlooked, or forgotten if they do not receive adequate recognition and reward for their work and contributions. Therefore, it is important to recognize and reward remote team members to ensure that they feel valued, respected, and satisfied.

Some of the ways to recognize and reward remote team members are:

  • Celebrate achievements and milestones, both individual and team-based. This can help acknowledge the efforts, results, and impact of remote team members. For example, send a congratulatory email or message; announce the achievement in a team or company meeting; share the success story on social media or internal newsletter; give a shout-out or a thank-you note.
  • Provide monetary and non-monetary incentives that match the preferences and needs of remote team members. This can help reward the performance, behavior, or attitude of remote team members. For example, offer a bonus, raise, or promotion; give a gift card, voucher, or subscription; provide a paid day off, flexible hours, or work-from-home option; sponsor a professional development course, conference, or membership.
  • Implement a gamification system that adds fun and competition to the work environment. This can help encourage the engagement, participation, and collaboration of remote team members. For example, use points, badges, levels, or leaderboards to track and display progress; offer rewards or prizes for reaching certain goals or completing certain challenges; create teams or groups that compete against each other.
  • Ask for feedback from remote team members on how they want to be recognized and rewarded. This can help tailor the recognition and reward system to the individual preferences and expectations of remote team members. For example, conduct a survey or poll; ask for suggestions or ideas; create a recognition and reward committee.

#5. Support the well-being of remote team members

Well-being is essential for any team to maintain its health, happiness, and productivity, but it is more challenging for remote teams due to the lack of social support and physical activity. Remote team members may experience stress, burnout, loneliness, anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues if they do not have adequate well-being support. Therefore, it is important to support the well-being of remote team members to ensure that they feel comfortable, safe, and balanced.

Some of the ways to support the well-being of remote team members are:

  • Promote a healthy work-life balance that respects the personal and professional boundaries of remote team members. This can help prevent overwork, exhaustion, or interference from either domain. For example, assistants set realistic and reasonable expectations and deadlines; avoid sending work-related messages or calls outside of working hours; respect different time zones and schedules; and encourage taking breaks and vacations.
  • Provide access to wellness resources and programs that can help improve the physical and mental health of remote team members. This can help cope with stress, anxiety, depression, or other challenges. For example, offer health insurance or benefits; provide online counseling or coaching services; create a wellness newsletter or blog; and organize wellness webinars or workshops.
  • Create a supportive and caring culture that fosters trust, empathy, and compassion among remote team members. This can help create a sense of belonging, community, and safety for remote team members. For example, check in regularly on how they are doing; listen actively and attentively to their concerns or issues; offer help or assistance when needed; express gratitude and appreciation for their work.
  • Encourage healthy habits and behaviors that can enhance the well-being of remote team members. This can help boost their energy, mood, and performance. For example, the assistant suggest tips or strategies on how to set up a comfortable and ergonomic home office; recommend apps or devices that can help track or improve sleep quality, nutrition intake, or physical activity; share recipes or exercises that can be done at home; challenge them to adopt a new habit or routine.


Remote work is here to stay, and so is offshore hiring. Accounting and finance firms that want to leverage the benefits of remote work and offshore hiring need to ensure that their remote hires feel like part of the team. Embrace the future of work, and your accounting and finance firm will reap the benefits of a global talent pool and increased competitiveness in the industry.

    🔗 Kevin Mitchell | LinkedIn
    🔗 Kevin Mitchell | LinkedIn

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