How To Lead A Remote Team

Sam Jones our consultant managing the role
Author: Sam Jones
Posting date: 4/2/2020 10:27 AM
GitHub. How-To Geek. Toptal. Zapier. These are just a few of the businesses which have been 100% remote since their inception. On the front lines of the remote working lifestyle, they understand the benefits and the challenges businesses new to remote teams are facing.

In recent years, some businesses tried offering remote working, then pulled workers back in house. Some offer part-time work-from-home opportunities, but still required a few days in the office. In today’s climate, businesses have been forced to develop remote working strategies and everyone is learning how to manage this new way of doing business.

There are a variety of apps and software to help businesses work as close to the old ways as possible. So, as remote workers learn how to balance their personal and professional lives while at home, leaders also must learn how to manage remotely. Below are a few immediate benefits of remote teams for business.

Three Immediate Benefits of Remote Working


  • Less overheads
  • Less office politics
  • Increased productivity

However, there’s more to leading remote workers than the above. As teams tighten, it’s important to ensure everyone is on the same page. Most of what’s been done within the office walls can also be done virtually.

Planning a staff meeting? Zoom. WebEx. GoToMeeting. Google Hangouts. Microsoft Teams. These are all video conferencing call software applications you can use to not only conduct your weekly staff meetings, but client meetings as well. Record the meetings so you can refer to comments or questions, you may have missed or to refresh your memory of planned next steps.

Managing projects? Think Trello. Asana. Monday. Basecamp. Slack. Assign teams. Have a space just for brainstorming or just for fun. Emulate the office environment of those quick hallway meetings and watercooler chats.

Need to access documents from anywhere? Google Drive. Dropbox. Box. These are just a few of the applications which allow anyone with a link to jump in and add their two cents, comment or correct.

Does your team have all the necessary equipment? Computers, phones, access codes, passwords? How can you help them best do their jobs?

These are just a few things to think about when planning for and leading remote teams

Leading Remote Teams


One of the issues remote workers once faced was “out of sight, out of mind” leadership. In an office, it can be easy for a manager to walk past someone and communicate on the fly or for remote workers to feel left out in company events, strategy sessions, or general camaraderie with others in the office.

Companies who have always been or are moving to fully virtual teams have now levelled the playing field. However, this change marks just how important communication is for your team.

Often, the best managers will check-in regularly. These managers are good listeners who offer feedback, check on progress, and determine if there’s too much workload or if an employee is ready to take on another project. Managers who communicate without micromanaging engage in trust and accountability of their employees. Having this kind of ownership of habits and behaviors can improve productivity and the trust goes both ways.

Reach out to everyone on your team regularly. To ensure you’re including everyone when you assign tasks or projects, it’s a good idea to have a list of employees with their photos.

Set Clear Boundaries and Guidelines


It’s even more important when working from home to set clear hours for working and avoid burnout. Add to this the best methods of communication to use such as a project management app like Slack, a quick text or Skype call, or an email. Don’t forget to make allowances for how things like childcare may be handled as many are not only working from home, but may also be homeschooling, too.

Ensuring everyone is clear on when they can turn to colleagues versus when they should reach out to their leaders helps put everyone on the same page. 

Keep Everyone Connected


Remote working is a lifestyle. But not everyone may be ready for it or have the personality for it. One benefit of the brick-and-mortar office is camaraderie and connection, even if it’s just a smile and wave in the hallway. Even the most resolute remote workers feel lonely and disconnected at times.

Staying on task can feel paramount to success, but to meet the new challenges of a virtual team go a little deeper. Not only is it important to make time for personal interaction, but businesses can organize virtual check-ins and fun events. Think Trivia time, funny videos or GIFs, even virtual pizza parties. 

It’s important in this time of social distancing and remote working lifestyle to stay connected and engaged with your workforce. It could even make your business stronger and more in sync than ever before. Not only can it be of benefit to your business, but can also offer and open up opportunities for more future employees. Without a location base, you open yourself up for the right person for the job, no matter where they are.In the wake of work-from-home policies, remote working, and the shifting landscape of working outside the office, technology careers are prime opportunities to both gain increased knowledge in your chosen field or begin your career path. 

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