Manager Remotely

Making Remote Work Successful: Tips for Managing Remote Workers & Teams

The need to create teams of employees who can work together effectively across locations and distances is a growing reality for organizations around the world. It presents a challenge, but it also presents an opportunity. With the right tools, approaches, and habits, individuals and teams working remotely can be even more productive than teams who work together in the same location. This post offers tips to managers of remote workers and teams.

Give yourself and your worker(s) time to adjust. Especially if working remotely is new, you’ll need to establish new ways of working. Even if you’ve worked well with someone for many years does not mean that you won’t face some basic communication and collaboration challenges when you start trying to work remotely. So try different ways of communicating and collaborating and see what’s best, and don’t worry if it takes a little time to find it.

Over-communicate at first. Especially if remote work is new for you, your employee, or team, set up frequent (even daily) brief video calls to check-in on projects and next steps. Once everyone has settled into the new way of working, you can reduce the frequency. Once in a routine, maintain weekly 1:1s with each direct report going forward. During your 1:1s, check-in with your worker(s) about how they’re adjusting to remote work.

Hold regular team meetings. Familiarize yourself with the interactive features of your organization’s web meeting platform to hold productive and dynamic virtual team meetings. Request that your team members enable video during meetings, unless low connectivity prevents this.

Expect and support collaboration. Establish norms for collaboration across your team. Set the expectation that remote workers use video during calls whenever possible. Learn about how to use collaboration tools, promote them within your team, and set expectations for using them.

Set clear work and performance expectations. Establish clear expectations for your employee’s work and projects, and be sure you’re on the same page about what success looks like. Check-in regularly on progress, successes, challenges, and next steps

Establish a development plan. Be sure your remote workers feel like they’re continuing to grow professionally. Work with your employees to establish a development goal, and set up a plan to achieve it. Help identify virtual opportunities for your employee to grow, such as those available via training providers like or Switchboard. Especially if remote work is new, consider a first development goal on remote work itself. Provide tools and tips to workers to set themselves up for remote success. Provide extra support to workers who may be most isolated.

Trust your workers. Establish norms around working hours, email response time, etc. Be sure your remote workers have established a routine for themselves so they have a work-life balance. Then, trust that they’re doing their work. Focus your management and oversight on what is getting accomplished, rather than what exactly is happening day-to-day, moment-by-moment.

Help your remote workers see the big picture. When working remotely, sometimes it’s hard to see how your individual work feeds into the broader efforts of the team and organization. Find opportunities to motivate your remote worker(s)/team and connect them to goals and work of the department or organization. This might include sharing updates about other work, or providing experiences to speak with members of another team.

Follow your people management standards. Even in a remote work arrangement, you should still aim to achieve your organization’s people management standards. In a remote relationship, these standards should be attended to with a greater intentionality – be more available, be clearer about expectations and feedback, and encourage and model collaboration.

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