How To Effectively Manage Remote Teams

How To Effectively Manage Remote Teams



There has been an undeniable shift to remote work and work flexibility when companies globally were tasked to figure out a way to keep employees safe while still productively working when COVID-19 arrived. It is no secret that the workplace is changing. With advances in technology, more and more businesses choose to have remote teams. There are many benefits to working remotely, and some challenges can be managed effectively (Sinclair et al., 2021).

The advantages of a remote team are manifold. Companies such as IBM have had over 50% of their employees working remotely since 2020, and the number continues to grow (IBM, 2020). Expanding the search and drawing in from a wider talent pool are two advantages to having a remote team. With people living in all corners of the globe, organizations now have access to the best talent, regardless of location.

Increased productivity due to fewer distractions, elimination of commutes, more diverse workplace are a few of the top reasons remote work has become so popular. In addition, cost savings from reduced office space needs, costs and upkeep of the office, and any other type of perks a company may offer their employees, such as snack and onsite lunch options, have all been part of the savings for employers (Pieterse, 2021). Remote work also provided employees with more access at home with their families and pets. Workers were found to be more productive in the comfort of their home, save time commuting to and from the office, and offer flexibility for those who enjoyed traveling and working from various places.

Despite the clear advantages of working remotely, some challenges should be considered when building and managing a remote team. One challenge is creating an effective communication strategy. People can easily walk over to someone’s desk to ask questions or get clarification on a project instead of waiting for an email or chat response in a face-to-face office space. Another challenge is creating an effective incentive system (Sinclair et al., 2021). With remote teams, managers cannot always easily see what their team is doing, making it difficult to know who may be struggling or not flourishing in a remote environment.

Moreover, lack of social interaction, difficulty monitoring productivity and troubleshooting issues, and possible isolation are also obstacles in remote work environments. Time zone differences can make collaboration difficult; management needs to find new ways to keep everyone engaged. These challenges can make it difficult to build a positive company culture virtually. Foundational elements that may suffer can be decreased team communication and cohesion, loss of company culture, reduced opportunities for promotion or mentorship, and difficulty monitoring employee productivity. Therefore, leaders need to put into place strategies to mitigate these disadvantages.

Overall, managing remote teams can be a challenge; however, becoming aware of these challenges and developing strategies to put into place and overcome them, management can design solutions to help make them more constructive (Sinclair et al., 2021). With the right tools and processes, any team can successfully work remotely. The following are a few key points when it comes to managing remote teams effectively:

Regular Communication is Critical: One of the most important aspects of managing a remote team is communication. Make sure to communicate with team members regularly, whether through video calls, chat programs, or emails. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows their responsibilities. With such a vast array of communication options, it is valuable for managers to find what type of communication their employees prefer.

Use Technology to Your Advantage: Technology and communication go hand in hand. Many tools can make the team more efficient–Slack, Asana, and Trello, to name a few. Using these platforms for tasks ranging from creating events to sharing documents with colleagues will establish a solid foundation tool for remote teams. Creating a system where everyone is on the same page will make projects and productivity run more smoothly.

Set Clear Goals and Objectives: One of the most important things those in management can do is to set clear goals and objectives for their team. This will help everyone stay on track and focused on what needs to be accomplished. Make sure these are realistic and achievable so that the team does not get discouraged. This includes providing clear instructions, offering feedback, and celebrating successes (Newman & Ford, 2021). An excellent way for managers and supervisors alike is setting up an environment where their teams can work together to accomplish goals with minimum friction or confusion. Be sure to consider the team members’ personalities and adjust the management style accordingly.

Create a Good Work/Life Balance: One of the benefits of working remotely is that employees have more control over their work schedule. However, it is important to ensure workers can still create a good work/life balance. As a manager, it is critical to encourage employees to set boundaries such as not working on weekends or after a certain time in the evening. Reassuring team members to take time off and completely unplug is essential as it can be hard to disconnect when working remotely. Yet, it is important for everyone’s mental health and productivity, including taking vacations and breaks as needed.

Create a Caring Company Culture: A great way to make a remote team feel like part of a unit is to create a company culture that allows them to be individuals and have an active voice. This can be done by setting guidelines and expectations, having team-building activities, and sharing common values. Offering a shared vision and mission statement will set employees up for success. As well as making sure everyone feels included when important announcements or changes are made will provide the transparency that will encourage employees to build and create a continuous caring culture (Newman & Ford, 2021).

Create a System for Tracking Progress: It is important to have a plan to monitor employee productivity. This can be done through time-tracking software or by simply keeping tabs on completing tasks and reviewing timelines. The best method of tracking work will vary depending on the size and structure of the team. Management must confirm that everyone has the proper tools to be successful.

Incentivize Employees: To keep remote team members motivated, it is important to offer incentives for a job well done. Whether a bonus for meeting a sales goal or a gift card for completing a project on time, find ways to reward the team members for their hard work. Incentivizing the team members to feel valued will create a positive and productive work environment. Offering incentives is a great way to keep the team members motivated and on track.

Create a Sense of Community: One of the challenges of managing a remote team is creating a sense of cohesion among members. This can be done by organizing regular team-building activities, such as virtual happy hours or coffee breaks. It is also essential to have an open communication line to help identify areas where employees are struggling and address them accordingly (Newman & Ford, 2021). Establishing an open-door policy with the team can bridge any gaps that remote work can create.

Celebrate Successes: This can be difficult to do when team members are scattered all over the globe, but it is crucial for creating a sense of community and team spirit. When someone on the team does something great, celebrate. Host regular video calls or send out e-cards to show appreciation. Company swag is a great incentive to offer employees the attire to represent their organization.

Managing remote teams can be difficult, but it is important to always think about new ways to enter new spaces and try new strategies. By doing so, management will keep the business moving in the right direction and maintain a competitive edge. Managers can generate cohesive, productive, and thriving teams by working together to create a remote work strategy that works for everyone.






IBM. (2020). IBM’s perspective and recommendations on empowering a mobile workforce.

Newman, S. A., & Ford, R. C. (2021). Five steps to leading your team in the virtual COVID-19 workplace. Organizational Dynamics, 50(1)

Pieterse, S. (2021). The art of effectively managing remote teams. Bizcommunity.Com

Sinclair, M. A., Stephens, K., Whiteman, K., Swanson-Biearman, B., & Clark, J. (2021). Managing and motivating the remote employee using the transformational leadership model. Nurse Leader, 19(3), 294-299.