March 19, 2020

How to manage teams when working remotely

For many companies, remote working has become a necessity as we learn how to operate amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are five ways to effectively manage a team that works remotely.

Managing a remote team can require you to employ a different set of leadership skills, but it’s only partially a matter of productivity. It should involve more than just checking off items on a to-do list. Even if your operations are airtight, it’s critical to maintain regular, effective communication and nurture a shared sense of purpose with remote team members.

Here are the five ways you can build and manage a highly productive and happy remote team: 

1. Honor regular one-on-ones and team meetings

Avoid the temptation to treat one-on-one meetings with your team members or more formal touchbases with your whole team as moveable. To establish a sense of structure and framework, make recurring meetings with remote workers and set them in stone.

2. Embrace real-time collaboration apps

From Slack to Asana, there are many highly sophisticated applications that facilitate real-time collaboration. These platforms help keep remote workers from feeling like they’re in the dark on project status by providing visibility into relevant conversations, and they also keep workflow, dependencies, and key milestones in check.

3. Establish virtual drop-in hours

Use your video conferencing platform of choice to establish a virtual meeting room that allows people to pop in and out of live conversations with you in a way that resembles in-house stand-ups or drive-by chats. By making yourself accessible to your team in a more informal way, you can get all the productivity-boosting benefits of working side-by-side without being in the same physical location.

4. Turn on your video camera

It can be tempting to sub in that polished headshot for an actual live broadcast, but it’s best to turn on your camera as much as possible. Especially when working remote, it’s essential to get real-time feedback from facial expressions and other non-verbal cues, and it also fosters a sense of connection and camaraderie that’s critical for any team.

5. Schedule time to blow off steam

In-person team-building events are a luxury of proximity, but that doesn’t mean remote workers can’t bond. In our modern world, there are lots of ways to stay connected. Some ideas include a standing Friday afternoon virtual coffee or a Slack channel dedicated to shared interests.

It takes a little extra dedication to stay connected when you’re not in physical proximity of your co-workers, team members, and colleagues, but – with a little discipline and creativity in addition to cutting-edge technology – it is possible to keep both productivity and morale high.

Read next: Engaging and caring for your workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic


This post was originally published on Glassdoor, one of the world's largest job posting and recruiting sites.

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