Manage a Remote Team Effectively

By Jamie Davidson · October 11, 2016

If you work remotely, you’ve probably perfected your personal remote working style. But, have you recently been given a promotion to a supervisory position? Are with you the team leader with a company that has changed its work from home policy. Have recent hires been from global offices? There’s a difference between working remotely by yourself and managing a remote team.

As a remote manager, you’ll need to be extra conscientious in order to facilitate communication and maintain team productivity. If you aren’t organized and communicating well, it will be hard to stay focused and moving forward towards your goals. We’ve got you covered with tried and true method from being a remote manager who team members want to work for.

How to be an Effective Remote Manager

Hold frequent and recurring online meetings

It almost goes without saying but, set recurring web meeting times each week with all of your reports. During these meetings, you can provide job feedback on day-to-day projects and listen to suggestions or concerns from your team. For some of these online meetings, make sure to leave time to discuss more in-depth strategy as well. Using a conferencing service with screen sharing also provides a platform for your team to get your input on projects or ideas they are working on.

If your team knows the regular meeting schedule, they can prepare all of their questions and information before the meeting, instead of peppering your day with emails, chats, and texts about one-off items. It will allow everyone to use their time more efficiently.

Invest in a robust document-sharing platform

No one enjoys emailing document files back and forth – versions get confused and files get mixed up. Find a document system like Google Docs or Dropbox that works for your team. Many of these tools also include real-time editing so you can see what the other person is working on and collaborate.

Determine a standard naming convention, too, so you’ll always know which version is most recent and is owned by which teammate.

Schedule mentorship meetings

When you don’t see each other in person every day, it may be easy to lose sight of giving constructive feedback and praise. Consider adding a monthly online meeting that provides a real teaching opportunity. Think of it as a time for you to pass along the knowledge that you’ve acquired over the years. If there is a specific topic or if the subject is worthwhile for a larger group, schedule a video conference and hold a webinar-style master class.

“Millennials who meet with their manager on a regular basis are more than twice as likely as their generational peers to be engaged at work.” -Adkins and Rigoni, Gallup

Send surprises

If you’re part of a remote team, you can sometimes miss out on the social events that occur in a traditional brick and mortar workplace. Can you find a way to replicate this experience from afar- such as hosting a video chat birthday party or sending holiday cookies to each employee? Let them know they are appreciated even if they aren’t in the same physical space as you are. These small gestures will go a long way.

Plan Team Building Events

For remote workers, there may be fewer opportunities for all team members to congregate in one place. However, there are a lot of virtual team building activities that you can do online that will bring the team together. We’ve compiled a fun list of virtual team building event. Schedule them monthly to increase engagement and camaraderie.

Get out of the (home) office

Schedule in-person meetings at least once or twice a year. Getting everyone together for a work/play retreat in an intriguing location is a great way to foster some quality together time. The trip will build rapport amongst team members that can’t be achieved with remote communication alone.

If you follow this advice and stay flexible when managing your remote team, you’ll be more productive and connected, despite the distance. Take the extra time to connect with your team in new ways to promote productivity and satisfaction — it’s worth it!


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