Tips & Insights

23 Best Practices For Managing Your Remote Team

It can be a tricky thing managing a remote team. It's a lot different when everyone is located in the same office and you can easily see everyone. Managing your team remotely makes it easier for you to hire people in different parts of the world but it also adds some challenges for you. There are some best practices you can apply to manage your remote employees more efficiently and make your team structure run more smoothly, which we'll cover below.

1.  Create a daily standup ritual

For many people, the best way to start their day is by catching up with their team via a daily standup ritual. By doing this in a group video chat, remote workers can share what they’ve accomplished since yesterday and what they plan to accomplish today — all while checking in on how everyone else is doing. This helps you stay connected with your employees even when they’re not in the office and ensures that they know what they need to get done each day.

2. Help your team to build trust

You need to feel like you can trust your employees, and they need to feel like you trust them. This is a two-way street: You need to show your employees that you trust them, and they need to show you that they deserve that trust by earning it.

If your employees are working remotely, this can be more difficult than if they were in the same office as you. That's because when people work together face-to-face, they can build rapport with each other simply through proximity. But when people aren't physically close together, it becomes harder for them to form strong relationships with one another.

And when relationships aren't strong enough between team members, communication breaks down and tasks get delayed or forgotten entirely.

Encourage everyone on your team to communicate openly and honestly with one another!

3. Use team-building exercises

Use remote virtual team-building exercises. These exercises help employees get acquainted with each other and strengthen relationships, which increases employee engagement and productivity. For example, you can have a virtual happy hour where everyone drinks beer or wine together and shares what they're working on. This helps employees feel connected to each other and builds trust within the team.

4. Find a way to celebrate success

Make sure to frequently get employees together to celebrate successes and accomplishments no matter what their work location is. At least once per quarter hold an all hands meeting where everyone can celebrate what has been accomplished by the entire team over the last few months/quarters/years (depending on how long your employees have been with you). This will help keep morale high among all employees, regardless of their location.

5. Have a weekly movie night with the team

You might not be able to go out for drinks after work every day if you're working remotely, but there's nothing wrong with occasionally breaking out popcorn and watching something fun together online. If you're worried about blowing off work time, set a limit on how long the movie can go (and stick to it).

6. Make sure to take breaks together.

You don't want people feeling like they're working 24/7! Try a monthly team lunch or even just a weekly "check-in" call where everyone can catch up on what's going on in their lives outside of work.

7. Set up an online water-cooler channel

It can be a forum, Slack channel or something else entirely. The main thing is that it's a place where people can go to chat about anything — like the weather or their weekend plans. This'll help your team get to know each other better outside of work-related discussions (or maintain existing friendships). This makes them feel more connected, which leads to stronger relationships and happier work environments!

8. Prioritize communication

You need to make sure that your team is comfortable with the way they're communicating with each other and with you. If there's a problem with the way someone is working, don't let it go — address it immediately. It's much harder to fix communication problems if they go unaddressed for too long.

9. Be transparent

One of the most important things you can do as a manager is make sure that you're always clear about where you stand with your team members — both in terms of what they need to do and what's going on in the company as a whole. If there's ever any confusion about what's expected or what's going on in the company, don't hesitate to reach out and ask questions. You'll build trust with your employees when they know that they can count on you for this kind of transparency, which will make them more likely to work well independently while still knowing that they have someone they can turn to if there are any issues or questions along the way.

10. Set clear expectations

Setting clear expectations is the first step toward managing a remote team effectively. It helps you stay organized and ensures that everyone has the same understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the organization. Make sure you have clear guidelines for what constitutes success on the job, then communicate these expectations to everyone involved in the project or task.

11. Leverage technology

The tools you use for communication are just as important as the type of communication itself. Find tools that make it easy for your employees to communicate with each other and with you. Try Slack for messaging, Google Drive for sharing files, or Skype for video chatting. You can see a list of the top team management tools here!

12. Establish a routine

If you're working with people from different time zones, it's important to set a consistent schedule so everyone can plan their days around it. Even if you don't have anyone working in multiple time zones, it's still helpful to define a regular routine for all employees so they know what to expect from day-to-day work.

13. Ditch the micromanaging

It's tempting to get involved in the details of your employees' work, but this can lead to micromanaging them — which can be counterproductive. You're not there to watch over your employees' shoulders and make sure they're working. When you hire the right people, trust them to do their job without you constantly checking in on them.

14. Create and maintain a cohesive culture

Culture is the glue that holds a team together. It's the backbone of your company and can help shape the way your remote employees interact with each other. To create and maintain a cohesive culture, you need to focus on two things: the mission of your company and how people work together. Both are equally important; without one or the other, your remote employees won't feel connected to each other and they won't be able to do their best work.

15. Create a well-defined mission.

It's important that everyone knows what your goals are as a business, so they can work together to achieve them. If you don't have a clear mission statement, this is where you should start. Make sure everyone understands why they're doing what they're doing, what their role is within the company and how their contributions contribute to overall success.

16. Establish company values.

Once you've defined your mission, it's time to establish company values that align with it. These are statements about how things should be done at your company — how people should treat each other, what they should expect from one another and how decisions will be made within the business (e.g., consensus building vs top down management). Once again, these principles should reflect your larger mission statement and help guide decision making at every level of the organization

17. Review metrics and results to gauge success

In order to manage a remote team effectively, you need to be able to track its performance. Are your team members meeting deadlines? Are they hitting their goals? Are they communicating well with their colleagues? You can answer these questions by tracking their metrics and results, and an email analytics dashboard can give you the answers! Get a free report with Email Meter.

18. Create meetings that are focused, outcome-oriented and have an agenda.

Set goals for each meeting, so all participants know what they need to accomplish during that time together. Make sure everyone leaves feeling like they've accomplished something — even if it's just small steps toward a larger goal. If you don’t know what the outcome is going to be when someone asks “what did we accomplish with this meeting?” then it probably wasn’t worth having.

19. Automate recurring tasks

Create automated processes for routine tasks such as expense reports, weekly status updates, project management and sales reporting. This allows you to focus on bigger-picture issues rather than micromanaging the day-to-day details of your employees' work.

20. Keep it personal.

When it comes to managing your remote team, the most important thing is to maintain relationships with each individual member. You should know their strengths and weaknesses, their career goals, and any other important information that will help you work better with them.

21. Lead by example.

One of the most effective ways to get your people working together is to show them how it's done. Lead by example and do what you expect from them yourself, so they know exactly what success looks like. For example, if you want them to respond promptly when someone asks for help, make sure you're doing the same thing yourself before expecting it from others who may not be as efficient at responding as you are.

22. Delegate early and often.

If there's something that needs to be done, don't wait for one of your employees to ask for it. Instead, delegate it when the need arises. This will make your employees feel like they have more control over their own work — which is important if they're working remotely — and it will also help them get used to having multiple projects on their plate at once.

23. Regularly ask your team for feedback

It can be tricky to get a pulse on how your remote team is doing if they’re not in the office. One way around this is by asking for regular feedback from your team members. Set up a recurring meeting once every month or two and ask them what they feel could be improved with regards to their work environment, schedules, projects and more. This will allow you to make changes on the fly as needed and keep everyone happy with their work environment.

There are a lot of positives about working remotely, but managing that can be a bit more difficult. To get the most out of your team, it helps to have some guidelines in place for working together. There are plenty of simple and routine tasks that you can do to make your team more productive and to ensure that they're happy and fulfilled. If you follow these best practices, you'll be well on your way to creating an efficient and unified working environment that encourages excellent results.

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