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How to Manage Remote Employees: Tips and Best Practices for Managing Remote Team

Managing remote employees has become the new norm in today’s work environment. With the advent of technology and the flexibility it offers, many organizations have embraced the concept of remote work

Managing a team across different locations takes time and effort. But fear not! In this article, we will explore how to manage remote employees and the secrets implemented by so many HR and leadership teams across the globe. 

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Female remote employee preparing report on laptop
Female remote employee preparing report on laptop

Knowing the managing remote teams’ best practices will ensure you have a fantastic arsenal of tools in your belt when the remote road gets rough. If you can pinpoint the challenges of managing remote employees before you switch to a remote work model or build a startup based on this way of working, you’ll find yourself way ahead of the game. 

The people have spoken, and they want remote opportunities. Let’s talk, in detail, about how to manage remote workers. 

Set Clear Expectations to Manage Remote Employees

First and foremost, managing remote employees begins with setting clear expectations. You must find ways to clearly communicate your team’s goals, deadlines, and specific deliverables. Most remote and hybrid model companies turn to technology to help them heighten their level of communication, but even technology can only help if leadership prioritizes that communication. 

It’s important to remember that employees can’t read your mind, so stay crystal clear about what you mean and leave plenty of time after and in-between virtual meetings to answer questions. Above all, encourage question-asking. Advocating for your staff will help them feel comfortable enough to speak up, helping to avoid misunderstandings. 

Video Calls and Virtual Backgrounds for Remote Team

Remote team working together on a video call

Nothing beats face-to-face interaction, even if it’s through a computer screen. Encourage video calls to maintain a personal touch and a sense of connection. Depending on your company and professional preferences, you can let employees spice up video calls by using virtual backgrounds or introducing pets! 

Remote employees don’t take advantage of the side-by-side chatter and breakroom snack breaks of a traditional work setting. Ask them to remain professional, but never discourage having a little fun!

Create a Virtual Water Cooler for Remote Workers

Speaking of breaks, a virtual water cooler can allow time to decompress and discuss topics other than work. One of the perks of working in an office is the impromptu chit-chat by the water cooler. Recreate that camaraderie in the virtual realm by establishing channels or platforms for casual conversations. 

Share memes, funny stories, or engage in light-hearted banter to keep the team spirit alive. Just make sure productivity doesn’t take a nosedive!

Establish a Clear Communication Channel to Manage Remote Workers

As we’ve mentioned, when managing remote employees, communication is paramount. Yes, you need to prioritize it as a leader, but the platforms you choose to use for communication can make or break your team’s performance.

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A reliable communication platform with a reputable company that works with remote-based businesses is essential. Your team should have zero issues (other than the occasional troubleshooting or help desk tickets), collaborating, sharing files, and exchanging ideas.

Trust, But Verify: Helps to Effectively Manage Remote Teams

Without question, trust is the foundation of any successful remote team. The more faith you put in your employees and the more space you allow them to do their jobs will significantly affect morale. It’s 2023, and nobody wants to be micromanaged. It should be a thing of the past. 

However, it doesn’t hurt to verify progress occasionally. 

Don’t hassle your team, but check in regularly to ensure everyone is on track. All remote employees are tempted by distractions like Netflix or the allure of a fluffy pillow just within arm’s reach at some point during the work day, and honestly, closeness with life’s pleasures while at work helps build a solid work-life balance

You want them happy, but you also want their work done. If you have a solid, communicative relationship, your team will have zero issues with your checking in!

Encourage Regular Breaks: Increase Productivity

Remote employee taking a break

Remote work doesn’t mean your employees must be chained to their desks, as this is one of the best ways to scare them away and get yourself a high turnover rate. Encourage your team to take regular breaks to refresh their minds and maintain their sanity. 

Productivity thrives when balanced with moments of relaxation and rejuvenation. Schedule virtual team yoga classes or set mandatory times when they have to step away for a walk or water break. 

Embrace the Power of GIFs and Emojis f or Work from Home Team Members

Let’s face it, we live in a digital world, and half of the up-and-coming work generation communicates via GIFs and emojis. We’re not here to tell you that it’s unprofessional, but we will tell you that a well-placed GIF or emoji can express a thousand words. 

Align with your workforce and embrace the power of these tiny visual aids to add humor and personality to your virtual conversations. Just be sure to use them judiciously, or you might end up looking like a walking GIF encyclopedia.

Recognize and Celebrate Successes

Recognize and celebrate your team’s accomplishments, no matter how small. Remote employees need affirmation and recognition, even if it’s just a virtual high-five or a cheesy celebration GIF. 

Send them branded swag or items they can genuinely use, both in work and their personal lives. You’re all in this together, fighting the good fight against endless Zoom calls and a never-ending stream of Slack messages.

Set Yourself for Remote Work Success

Managing remote employees doesn’t have to be a humorless and monotonous task. By setting clear expectations, embracing technology, celebrating successes, establishing clear communication, and infusing humor into your interactions, you can build a thriving and engaged remote team. 

So go forth, armed with this guide, and conquer the world of remote management with a smile on your face and a GIF in your pocket. It’s all about triumphing over the distance to create a connection based on trust and respect. You can do it!

Disclaimer: The author takes no responsibility for any excessive use of GIFs, eye-rolling from your team, or uncontrollable fits of laughter that may arise from implementing the suggestions in this article. Proceed with caution, and always remember to balance humor with professionalism.

What are some of the best practices for managing remote teams effectively?

Employees work remotely more now than ever. Some best practices for managing distributed teams effectively include having clear communication protocols set up through collaboration tools, being flexible with asynchronous work hours across time zones, and adjusting management styles to focus more on deliverables than physical oversight.

Is it hard to manage a remote team versus an in-office one?

While remote work does present unique challenges, it does not have to be harder to manage a team where employees may work from home versus being in-person full time. Managers can set virtual teams up for success with the right collaboration tools and accountability systems that suit a distributed environment.

What does “remote management” entail in today’s increasingly dispersed workplace?

“Remote management” entails overseeing employees across multiple locations and time zones. It requires using human resources best practices adapted to flexible virtual work, having empathy when addressing burnout, and leveraging technology to enable seamless teamwork. The role requires more focus on enabling productivity through autonomy than traditional oversight.

What right tools are most essential for managers to have in place to enable clear communication, accountability, and collaboration with remote employees?

Some essential tools managers should utilize to communicate with distributed teams include video conferencing for meetings, cloud-based document-sharing platforms for transparency and alignment, and project management software to assign tasks, track progress, and ensure accountability across virtual collaboration channels.


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