The Key to Managing Remote Teams in 2024 

This may surprise you, but did you know that over half (51%) of small and mid-size businesses are embracing the remote or hybrid work model? 

According to an Owl Labs study, globally, 16% of companies are fully remote. This new dynamic presents unique challenges and opportunities for managers aiming to maintain productivity, engagement, and team cohesion. In the office, you can easily ask the person next to you a quick question, chat by the water cooler, or pop into the boss’s office for a quick discussion. These interactions are a bit trickier in the remote world. That’s why clarity is the key to all of the best practices that I’ll detail below. 

Regardless of your proficiency with remote employees, the following steps maximize the return on your investment in a digital workforce.  

Steps to successfully manage a remote team  

Before we begin, I want to make a quick disclaimer–your remote team’s work culture almost always mirrors your in-office culture. So if you have a largely in-office team and the culture isn’t great, things won’t improve with remote team members.  That said, the strategies below will work well with your in-office team as well.  Keep these things in mind as you continue reading.  

Establish clear working guidelines 

One of the easiest ways to create an unproductive working environment, remote or not, is without clearly established working guidelines.  When are people expected to “be at their desks? Is it ok to run out to pick up the kids? If so, do we alert other team members? 

The last thing you want is to put your remote staff in stressful situations due to ambiguous guidelines. Having clear cut policies, whatever you decide for them to be, reduces mystification and keeps everyone on the same page. 

Articulate responsibilities clearly 

What sorts of tasks are employees responsible for? How is progress measured? Are there daily, weekly, or monthly goals they should complete?  

The more articulate you are with defining responsibilities and expected outcomes, the more successful your remote staff will be. Whenever a new employee joins your team, make sure they know what’s expected of them and what success looks like in their role on macro and micro levels–like things specific to the role as well as particular projects and tasks.  

Do more than delegate. Make it possible for them to visualize the successful completion of any particular assignment from start to finish. Employees who see and understand the why behind their work are more motivated and engaged than those who don’t.  

Set meeting and communication expectations  

One of the biggest challenges in managing remote teams is maintaining clear and effective communication. In the office, you can ask the person next to you a quick question or have impromptu meetings. These interactions help keep everyone on the same page. However, in a remote setting, these casual interactions don’t happen as naturally. So, how do you bridge the communication gap and ensure your team stays connected and informed? 

From day one, it’s crucial to establish clear communication guidelines. What tools should be used for different types of communication? When is it appropriate to use email versus instant messaging? How quickly should team members respond to messages? At WorkBetterNow, we ensure every team member knows which platform to use for what purpose, reducing confusion and ensuring that important information doesn’t get lost. 

In the remote world, regular check-ins are vital. These can be daily stand-ups, weekly team meetings, or one-on-one sessions. The goal is to keep everyone aligned and address any issues before they become major roadblocks.  

Foster informal connections  

Remote workforces lack a place to gather for spontaneous conversations and in-person gatherings. That’s why creating meaningful chances for informal connection can make a big difference in the way your team interacts. It could be something as simple as a virtual happy hour at the end of a work week or some other virtual bonding activity.  

Regardless of what strategy you implement, the goal is for remote workers to feel as if they’re truly part of your family.  

If you’re struggling to manage your remote team or want to start hiring but don’t know where to look, you aren’t alone. Most business owners don’t know where to start with remote work or have significant reservations due to a lack of knowledge and first-hand experience.  

From day one, my company has been 100% remote. Since its inception, WorkBetterNow has seen significant growth while learning how to effectively manage remote teams, unearthing insights to maximize engagement, productivity, and solidarity.  

Interested in learning about how my company and I can help you with your remote work needs? Have questions about whether or not it’s a good fit? Schedule a free fifteen-minute consultation to learn more.  

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