How to Manage a Remote Team


Kate Russell Content and Editorial Associate for Clutch

Friday, March 20, 2020

Whether it is to establish expectations, analyze performance, or make a connection, communication is necessary to successfully manage a remote team.

Article 4 Minutes
How to Manage a Remote Team

Remote teams are the future of the workplace. Since 2005, regular remote work has grown by 159%.

With 50% of US employees working in a role that is compatible with at least part-time remote work, businesses are increasingly likely to manage a team with remote capabilities.

Managers must be ready for the challenges remote work entails, and have a plan to provide accessible remote work opportunities to employees who need them.

By engaging three steps, businesses can better manage their remote employees:

  1. Set clear expectations
  2. Make a personal connection
  3. Measure team performance and productivity

By communicating expectations, tracking performance, and making an effort to connect with a remote team, managers can adapt and better embrace the future of the workplace.

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Set clear expectations

When managing a remote team, there is a greater potential for miscommunication than would occur in-house.

Everyone has different standards, which means it is important for businesses to communicate their expectations to remote employees.

Leaders should give remote workers examples of the work they are expected to produce. Managers can also share calendars, documents, and spreadsheets to ensure remote employees understand when their work is to be delivered.

Asana is an effective tool for managing tasks across a remote team.

Visual from Asana showing how the tool can help marketers manage their tasks during campaigns

When employees view an Asana project like the marketing campaign above, they’ll see the priority of the task and what project phase it falls under. 

In addition, providing remote employees with clear examples of a company’s standards enables them to succeed in their roles.

With a remote team, managers should concentrate on what their remote team has accomplished rather than attend to what the team is currently doing.

To ensure goals are met, it’s important to set an effective communication strategy. Managers should set a number of meetings where remote employees can discuss their work. This strategy should also include methods to fulfill worker needs; some work better with a list of tasks whereas others prefer to receive them one at a time.

With established channels for regular communication, leaders can set expectations to better manage and encourage the productivity of their remote team.

Make a personal connection

People spend more of their waking hours at work than at home. For managers to foster a healthy and productive workplace, it’s crucial they ensure their remote employees feel like part of the team.

An easy way to make a connection with out-of-office teammates is to schedule time to speak face-to-face.

Video conferencing technologies such as Zoom and Skype enable managers to better engage remote employees.

Visual of conference and remote teams technology that can help keep employees connected digitally



Managers can leverage this technology to invite remote employees to participate virtually in office events. These moments help remote teammates form close connections, which foster engagement.

Through video conferences, managers can break the isolation that remote employees often feel to encourage engagement. Whether by video, phone, or email, this daily contact helps remote workers collaborate with in-house employees.

According to a Harvard Business Review study, teammates working remotely are more likely to feel like colleagues are saying bad things behind their backs, and making changes without informing them.

Study from the Harvard Business Review showing how remote employees feel about issues with their colleagues compared to on-site workers

To build an inclusive culture, managers should integrate informal communication between their in-house and remote teams; organic conversations between colleagues increases collaboration.

Frequent communication also provides an opportunity for managers to demonstrate an understanding of an employee’s life, helping them to feel like part of the team.

Managers who foster personal connections with remote teammates create a more productive workplace.

Measure team performance and productivity

By tracking metrics at the beginning of each project, managers can ensure their remote teams remain productive and informed.

It’s important to update and reference KPIs frequently as this lets remote teammates understand they are an integral part of a company’s efforts to achieve a larger goal. If a remote team is to work towards a goal effectively, the right metrics must be measured.

To ensure that KPIs are relevant to the project, managers should include their remote team in the metrics decision-making process.

For teams that are newly remote, it’s helpful to limit the number of metrics. Too many KPIs can lead to ‘analysis paralysis’, where employees track so many metrics it overwhelms their actual work.

By tracking a remote teams’ performance, managers are able to verify the team is making progress towards their project goals.

Further reading:


Kate Russell

Kate Russell is a Content and Editorial Associate for Clutch, an Inc. 1000 fastest growing private companies that helps decision makers determine the best B2B service providers for their needs.


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