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 The Ultimate Guide to Managing Remote Teams: Tips for Employers

Working remotely has become the new norm for many employers and employees around the world in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, managing remote teams has become a crucial skill for employers looking to keep their businesses on track and ensure that their employees remain productive, engaged, and motivated.

While many of the principles of effective team management apply to both remote and in-person teams, remote teams come with their unique challenges that require different approaches to management. In this Ultimate Guide to Managing Remote Teams, we will discuss some tips and strategies for employers to manage their remote teams successfully.

Communication is Key

Communication is perhaps the most crucial element when it comes to managing remote teams. Without it, teams can quickly become siloed, and relationships can breakdown, leading to a decline in productivity and morale.

To combat this, it’s vital to establish clear channels of communication. Consider using a variety of tools, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams or Zoom, to connect with your teams, and ensure everyone knows how to use them.

Moreover, regular check-ins ensure that everyone is on the same page, and no one feels left out. One-on-one conversations with team members can help build trust, address concerns and maintain relationships. Set up weekly or daily meetings to touch base and encourage your team members to schedule one-on-one conversations with their team members to stay connected.

Establish Goals and Expectations

Managing remote teams requires much more than communicating on a day-to-day basis. Remote work can often lead to distractions, reduced focus and motivation, making it even more crucial to set clear goals and expectations.

Start by establishing clear expectations around working hours and communication norms. Consider creating a master document outlining the deliverables, timelines, and objectives for each team member’s projects to keep everyone aligned and accountable.

Clarify how you expect each of your team members to conduct themselves, including how quickly you would like them to respond to messages or emails. Encourage your employees to communicate proactively and often, so they know what work needs to be done and when.

Use the Right Tools for Collaboration

Managing collaboration remotely can be challenging. Teams often work in different time zones, across different locations, and may require a unified place to store their work.

Collaborative tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox and Basecamp can make teamwork from afar much more accessible. With the right tools in place, teams can interact with each other virtually as if they were in the same room.

Moreover, these tools can help streamline communication, share files and give others visibility into team member’s work. Encourage your employees to use the right tools to get their work done, building camaraderie, and enhancing collaboration no matter where they are located.

Show Empathy and Be Flexible

When managing remote teams, it’s vital to be empathetic and have a flexible approach to work. With the pandemic still unfolding, many team members have additional responsibilities, including caring for children and elderly relatives. As such, they may require more flexibility than ever before.

Be accommodating with your employees, working to find arrangements that work for both your business and your team members’ work-life needs. Allow team members to set their schedules, within reason and consider flexible working arrangements such as part-time work, job-sharing or project-based work.

Employers should also be flexible with their expectations around working hours, providing an environment in which team members can work flexibly and strategically to meet their goals, rather than adhering to a standard 9-to-5 working hours.

Encourage Building Relationships from Afar

Managing remote teams can be isolating, with team members missing out on face-to-face collaboration, watercooler conversations and impromptu chats. To combat this, it’s important to encourage relationship building from afar.

Start by creating virtual team-building activities, like online trivia, virtual happy hours or team workouts. Encourage employees to catch up on a one-to-one basis outside of work hours or participate in online communities that relate to their work or areas of interest.

Encourage Members of your team to establish regular check-ins with one another to build connections and foster a culture of engagement— allowing your team members to adopt casual communication to build mutual understanding and trust.

Provide the Right Technology

Providing the right technology is also essential in managing remote teams. Without the right tools, team members can struggle to maintain communication, process tasks, and meet deadlines.

Make sure your team members have all the software, hardware, and internet connectivity they need to perform their roles effectively. Provide them with the necessary equipment such as laptops, ergonomic chairs, and desks.

Consider investing in project management tools such as Trello, Asana, or ClickUp to help manage workflows, track deadlines, and collaborate on projects in real-time. These tools can help streamline work and keep everyone on the same page.

Ensure Transparency and Accountability

Transparency and accountability are crucial to the success of remote teams. As an employer, it’s important to provide your team members with visibility into organizational objectives, progress on projects, and feedback on their performance.

Establish consistent and straightforward performance metrics, so everyone understands how they will be evaluated. Share results of projects and tasks to ensure that team members can see where they contributed successfully.

Create a culture of trust and openness in whereby team members can honestly voice their concerns, questions and preferences. When mistakes occur, encourage team members to learn from them, using these opportunities to create building blocks for improvement.

Encourage Work-Life Balance

One of the most significant benefits of remote work is increased work-life balance. However, it can also be easy to slip into a pattern of overworking, leading to burnout and lower productivity.

Encourage your team members to prioritize their well-being by creating a workspace that is conducive to productivity and sets clear boundaries between work and leisure time.

Encourage taking regular breaks to exercise, eat healthy, and stay hydrated to avoid burnout. Creating a conference-free zone can also help members separate work from downtime.

Offer Opportunities for Professional Development

Professional development is an essential component of career growth, and it’s vital that remote team members have access to the same opportunities as their in-office counterparts. The lack of face-to-face mentoring and in-person training can make this approach more difficult to achieve, but it’s essential not to neglect opportunities for growth and development.

Consider providing online training opportunities, workshops and encourage participation in virtual industry events and webinars. Host internal training sessions, mentorship programs or create job shadowing opportunities that can help them learn on-the-job from other departments.

Consolidate learning materials by creating a knowledge repository, where employees can store articles, videos, and training documents to refer to when needed.

Celebrate Successes and Milestones

Working remotely can sometimes feel isolating, and team members can miss out on the collective experience of celebrating achievements in person. Remote teams still need to feel celebrated for their successes and milestones like any other team.

It’s essential to celebrate project completion milestones and other significant events with virtual celebrations. Sending virtual shoutouts, sharing successful project results, and applauding great work through a celebratory video or message can help foster a sense of connection, appreciation and encourage team members recognition.

Promote instances of peer-to-peer recognition by implementing a reward system like a points system, where team members can acknowledge each other’s contributions.


In conclusion, managing remote teams can present unique challenges. The key is to establish communication and trust, provide the right tools, and prioritize work-life balance and professional development in addition to celebrating successes.

Employers should focus on maintaining excellent communication, embracing flexibility, and promoting empathetic relationships. When remote work is done correctly, it can lead to increased creativity and productivity, leading to a stronger team bond and economic benefits for your organization.

With the advent of remote work, employers need to embrace innovative working environments that give their team members the confidence and support they need to perform the duties assigned to them, progress in their careers and value the business they represent. So go ahead, embrace these tips, and manage your remote teams with success.

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