Tips on How to Manage a Remote Team

14 Best Practices for Managing Remote Teams in 2023

We’ve seen a major shift to remote work in recent years since the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have ravaged the traditional workplace. In less than a decade, an almost non-existent freelancing industry became the norm, and companies are fumbling to implement strategies for successfully managing remote teams. 

Leading a remote workforce is an emerging challenge. Leaders need to invest in resources and processes that improve the efficacy of a remote working model. Here are 14 tips to help you navigate the intricacies of leading online employees. 

Importance of Effective Management for Remote Teams

An effective remote (and hybrid) strategy can optimize work hours and foster improved engagement, collaboration, and outcomes on essential metrics. Leaders must continuously improve team experience to achieve these benefits: 

Increased productivity

Many factors affect remote work productivity: team dynamics, technology options, policies, work life balance, etc. When all these elements function cohesively, remote workers can maximize their time while focusing on results.  

A study from Harvard Business Review discovered that people who operate from home can better maximize their hours because they have no commute, are in a quieter environment, and start earlier than people onsite. 

Managers can facilitate a streamlined workflow by empowering team members, reducing administrative burden, and promoting a results-driven culture.

Improved team collaboration

When a remote leader takes the initiative to improve technology, onboarding, and team collaboration, the overall quality of results follows. People-focused initiatives allow collaborative environments to bloom, allowing team members to operate seamlessly despite geographical distances. 

Building trust in a remote environment is more challenging due to the lack of face-to-face interactions. Hence, it’s important to encourage team members to partake in informal activities. 

Reduced turnover

Leaders must look out for their team’s physical, mental, and career wellness. Even if employees work remotely, they will still need to receive feedback, check-ins, and mentorship. 

Setting your team to succeed in their roles will go a long way in keeping a highly motivated workforce. Meeting these needs can enhance team morale and loyalty, which, in turn, reduces turnover while increasing engagement. 

Remember, providing career development opportunities alongside a healthy work-life balance fosters loyalty and a sense of belonging among team members. 

Higher quality of work

A culture of excellence, encouraged by effective management, drives individuals to uphold high-quality standards.

Leveraging technology for real-time collaboration and review ensures consistency and accuracy in outputs, while a positive, supportive environment fosters the motivation necessary for producing high-caliber work.

Challenges of Managing Remote Teams

Every workplace has unique challenges, more so when remote and in-person workplaces are compared. While online employment can provide flexibility and cost savings, online professionals also encounter exclusive obstacles. 

According to Upwork, distributed workforces tend to bring new management challenges. Here are remote team leaders’ most common difficulties in their day-to-day operations. 

  • Cultural and language barriers: Misunderstandings may arise from linguistic nuances or differing cultural norms, impacting effective communication and collaboration.
  • Technical difficulties: Reliance on technology can halt progress if issues arise, requiring team members to have good understanding and troubleshooting skills.
  • Productivity monitoring: Gauging productivity remotely can be challenging; it requires trust and practical tools to ensure tasks are completed timely and efficiently.
  • Team culture building: Fostering a unified, positive culture is challenging without physical interactions, needing creative virtual solutions to build camaraderie.
  • Work-life balance: Remote work can blur the boundaries between personal and professional life, potentially leading to burnout without clear delineation.
    Conflict resolution: Resolving conflicts is tricky without face-to-face interactions and may require additional effort to address issues constructively.
  • Onboarding strategies: Efficiently onboarding remote employees should be prioritized, and members should be aware of processes and procedures to avoid delays. 
  • Multiple schedules: Someone’s day shift can be another person’s night shift. Different time zones should be considered as they affect plans and availability. 

There are different reasons why employees work from home. Leaders who consider these factors will be detrimental to inspiring a remote employee unit. Managing a remote or hybrid team involves allocating/tracking time and resources across globally distributed teams. 

Tips to Manage Remote Teams

An online workplace is a whole new world compared to brick-and-mortar arrangements. A management style that works onsite might not be ideal for managing remote employees. Here are some remote work tips and best practices you can use to foster a conducive environment for productivity, engagement, and success.

1. Define expectations and boundaries

Defining expectations and boundaries is crucial to building a high-functioning remote team. It establishes a clear framework within which team members operate. Clear expectations develop roles and responsibilities, aligning everyone with company culture and project guidelines. This creates a structured yet flexible remote work environment.

Consider a scenario where leaders manage remote workers without proper onboarding or kick-off sessions. Some employees may be restricted from contributing properly without these conversations taking place. 

Ways to improve: 

  • Communicate expectations early and often.
  • Conduct regular alignment check-ins.
  • Employ ethical monitoring tools.
  • Be mindful of time zone differences.
  • Encourage a feedback-rich culture.

2. Be an adaptable role model

Being an adaptable role model involves a blend of organization and flexibility. Managers should be able to mobilize structured workflows while allowing creative problem-solving to emerge. Being organized means a leader can keep everyone on the same page while being flexible ensures you can pivot when needed. 

Imagine a team facing a sudden client request change. Without adaptability, this could lead to confusion and delays. However, an adaptable manager would swiftly rearrange priorities and communicate effectively with the team to meet new requirements. All while keeping strict compliance with existing remote work policy. 

Ways to improve:

  • Set a consistent team rhythm and timetable.
  • Keep a structured yet flexible project tracking.
  • Establish flexible strategies for contingencies.
  • Maintain transparency in schedule coordination.

3. Use meetings wisely

Using meetings wisely is pivotal when you manage a remote team. Adapting the length and frequency to your team’s needs ensures efficient communication and decision-making. Avoid lengthy meetings if these engagements negatively affect your team (and vice versa). This promotes a culture of respect for each other’s time and a focus on getting things done.

Use video call tools like Zoom to facilitate team meetings seamlessly. Proper arrangements can facilitate productivity, quicker decision-making, and a happier, less stressed team.

Ways to improve:

  • Adapt meeting lengths to team preferences.
  • Only involve relevant participants in meetings.
  • Establish meeting-free blocks to avoid “Zoom fatigue.” 

4. Equip your team with resources

Providing apt tools, training, and collaborative platforms ensures seamless communication and effective client interactions. You can multiply your team efficiency tenfold by offering tools such as Jira for project management, Slack or Microsoft Teams for communication, and Ahsuite for client management. 

Imagine a team scrambling with mismatched tools versus proficiently with proper industry-standard platforms and project management tools. The second team will likely have streamlined experience in project tracking, communication, and organized client interactions. 

Ways to improve:

  • Offer ongoing training for tool proficiency.
  • Ensure easy access to collaborative platforms.
  • Establish a resource hub.
  • Regularly discuss tech efficacy in team calls.
  • Encourage feedback on tool usage and resources.

5. Keep your team progress on track

Keeping teams on track remotely isn’t just about hitting deadlines; it’s about nurturing a culture of shared progress. It starts with gauging employees’ individual performances, which, in turn, reflects on the larger organizational picture. This helps in nailing down what’s performing well, what’s not, and where the room for improvement lies.

Consider a team navigating without tracking versus one with a clear roadmap and regular progress check-ins. The latter stays in sync, adapts to hurdles, and maintains momentum towards goals. In contrast, the former might be tangled in misdirection and inefficiencies.

Ways to improve:

  • Set crystal clear key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Roll out self-tracking systems for team members.
  • Have regular catch-ups to review performance.
  • Foster open communication about progress.
  • Encourage refreshing breaks to keep the energy up.

6. Foster collaborative communication

Fostering collaborative communication is the glue that holds remote teams together. It instills trust and loyalty, ensuring everyone is updated on deadlines, resources, challenges, and expectations. Selecting communication tools that resonate with the team’s culture enhances engagement and paves the way for a harmonious remote environment.

Remote or on-site, an organizational unit must actively support each other for collective success.  A team with robust communication channels navigates work schedules, deadlines, and challenges seamlessly, cultivating a trustworthy environment that propels everyone toward common goals.

Ways to improve:

  • Establish varied communication channels.
  • Set clear expectations for response times.
  • Encourage regular team check-ins.
  • Promote a culture of open feedback.
  • Organize virtual social interactions.

7. Proactively address problems

Addressing issues proactively is a hallmark of successful remote team management. Early resolution prevents minor hiccups from snowballing into major crises, helps maintain a cheerful ambiance, fosters trust, and proves cost-effective. It’s about fostering a culture of open communication and prompt action.

Think of two scenarios: In one, a remote team member struggles with a task, but there’s no mechanism to flag the issue early. It escalated uncontrollably and started affecting the project.

In the other scenario, regular check-ins catch the problem early. The manager provides resources to resolve it, keeping the project on track. 

Ways to improve: 

  • Conduct regular check-ins and communication.
  • Utilize technology effectively.
  • Make open feedback a positive thing.
  • Establish ways to make issue reporting easier.
  • Use project management software.

8. Be a part of the team

Being part of the team goes beyond managing tasks/deadlines and coordinating schedules. It’s about building genuine connections, showcasing equality, and practicing empathy.

Ensuring your team members know they’re trusted and belong to the group is essential. Doing this can help reduce any feelings of isolation they might be experiencing and create a stronger sense of unity. 

There will always be times when employees need coaching and encouragement. Great remote managers recognize this and come prepared to assist during difficult situations. Knowing your members will help create improvement plans that best fit their personalities and skill sets. 

Ways to improve: 

  • Initiate fun and engaging virtual group activities.
  • Maintain an open-door policy, being available across time zones.
  • Arrange knowledge-sharing sessions to enrich team expertise.
  • Treat your employees equally; involve remote workers in discussions.
  • Help new employees get started.

10. Let diversity flourish

Allowing diversity to flourish is essential in a remote unit for sparking innovation, enhancing performance, and cultivating an inclusive culture. It drives collaboration, battles isolation, and lends a spectrum of perspectives that enrich remote workplaces. 

For instance, a remote group lacking diversity may face stagnation in ideas, while a diverse team could leverage varied perspectives to solve a problem innovatively. The latter scenario portrays a collaborative and culturally rich environment, yielding better solutions and a collaborative atmosphere.

Ways to improve: 

  • Recognize and celebrate individual differences.
  • Implement asynchronous workplace protocols.
  • Celebrate cultural events using a diversity calendar.
  • Organize casual virtual meetups for personal interaction.
  • Ensure equal growth opportunities for all.

10. Motivate, not micromanage

In a remote setting, choosing to motivate rather than micromanage is a catalyst for propelling your team towards delivering their best work. It showcases trust, respect, and open communication, fostering a conducive and empowering environment for members.

Imagine two managers: one bombards the group with continuous check-ins, while the other holds a weekly sync-up, entrusting the team with their tasks. The latter scenario cultivates a relaxed, productive atmosphere where employees thrive, contrasting the stifled, tense environment in the former.

Ways to improve: 

  • Avoid excessive monitoring; trust your team.
  • Embrace a micro-understanding approach.
  • Adjust your leadership style to individual needs.

11. Give praises and feedback 

Providing praise and feedback is fundamental in a remote setup. It celebrates success and nurtures a culture of continuous improvement and open communication. This practice makes members feel valued, enhancing their engagement and motivation to deliver exceptional output.

Members might feel disconnected or unsure about their performance when feedback is scarce. In a setting where praises and constructive feedback are frequent, employees are more aligned, confident, and driven to excel, knowing their efforts are acknowledged and valued.

Ways to improve: 

  • Establish a regular feedback schedule.
  • Create channels for peer-to-peer recognition.
  • Encourage an open feedback culture.
  • Celebrate achievements in meetings.
  • Provide clear, constructive feedback promptly.

12. Conduct regular check-ins

Regular check-ins are integral in a remote setup, offering a structured dialogue to assess progress, understand challenges, and exchange feedback. Managers can build trust by tracking employee workloads without micromanaging, strengthening accountability and support.

Imagine a remote employee struggling silently with overload versus one whose manager identifies workload issues during a regular check-in, adjusting tasks accordingly. The latter scenario exemplifies a supportive, tuned-in management style, fostering a culture of open communication and problem-solving.

Ways to improve: 

  • Establish a predictable check-in schedule.
  • Promote honesty in workload discussions.
  • Delegate or redistribute tasks when needed.
  • Keep an open dialogue about working hours.
  • Ensure ample notice for meeting changes.

13. Advocate for your team

Advocating for your crew is crucial in remote leadership. It involves providing essential tools, resources, and training, enabling a conducive environment. This practice embodies a supportive leadership and management approach for enhancing work life balance, morale, and productivity.

Picture a team struggling with outdated tools versus a group whose leader advocated for updated project and communication tools. The latter experiences smoother workflow, better morale, and less burnout, showcasing the remarkable impact of proactive advocacy in making remote employment effective and enjoyable.

Ways to improve: 

  • Invest in appropriate project management tools.
  • Ensure training for tool proficiency.
  • Maintain a balance between formal and informal check-ins.
  • Set clear expectations around employment hours.
  • Cultivate a culture where members feel comfortable seeking help.

14. Documentation is the key

Effective documentation may seem mundane, but it’s pivotal for managing and supporting remote employees. It replaces casual desk-side chats with clear, accessible guides, ensuring everyone is aligned on processes, which is crucial for maintaining consistency and efficiency in many settings.

Imagine a member facing a process roadblock versus having detailed documentation at hand. The latter scenario promotes self-sufficiency and time-saving, illustrating the substantial positive impact well-documented procedures have in keeping employees in the loop. 

Ways to improve:

  • Involve members in crafting Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
  • Ensure easy access to documentation for all.
  • Schedule regular reviews to keep documents updated.
  • Encourage feedback to refine procedures.
  • Incorporate clear definitions, prerequisites, and relevant details.


In wrapping up, employing the right management tips is crucial in building a productive remote setting for managers and employees. Addressing hurdles remote employees may face and facilitating employees to work efficiently are pivotal.

Understanding what remote employees need and enabling remote employees to get the necessary tools and feedback bolsters their performance and cultivates a culture of trust and open communication, which is essential for remote success.

Keep remote management streamlined and efficient across your team with Ahsuite’s comprehensive business management tools. Sign up for the Ahsuite Starter plan to receive up to 10 client portals and a free task manager, which can help business owners and freelancers manage client interactions efficiently. 

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