How To Get The Best From A Remote Team

Once a workplace anomaly, working from home has become more and more mainstream in recent years. How do you get the best from this team? We explain.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many businesses found that their only option to continue working normally was to allow staff to work remotely.

Uptake in remote working soared – but what was interesting was that when the worst of the pandemic was over, and most people could return to work as normal, there was still a huge appetite for home working. And that desire came from employers as well as employees, as both had now been given the opportunity to see the benefits.

So, remote working is here, and it is here to stay. But that doesn’t mean that companies are perfect at it yet. Indeed, given the huge increase in working from home, many businesses have not yet adapted the way that they work and manage employees to take into account this enormous change in what we consider normal.

In general, there is far more that businesses can be doing to support their remote staff. This has the benefit not only of happier employees but also greater levels of productivity and efficiency across the business – so it is a win for everyone. In this article, we’ll look at how you can get the best out of a remote team

Communication and meetings

There can be no doubt that working remotely requires strong communication from all sides. This can take the form of effective meetings to keep everyone aligned and working towards shared goals, but it can also refer to more personal, impromptu meetings. Here are some best practices for remote communication and meetings that can help to avoid confusion and ensure everyone is on the same page.

  • Set clear expectations – establish clear expectations and everyone’s preferred lines of communication, response times, and what information should be shared in which channels.
  • Use video conferencing – video conferencing allows everyone to see and hear each other and with a reliable platform and setup, you can avoid technical difficulties.
  • Set an agenda – it’s easy for meetings to go off track if you don’t have a plan so, before each meeting, set an agenda and ensure that everyone is prepared.
  • Share meeting results – share the results of any meeting with all participants to make sure it was a focused and productive get-to-gether.
  • Encourage participation – encourage everyone to participate in meetings, regardless of their role or seniority.
  • Follow up – after each meeting, send a summary of the discussion and actions to ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows what they need to do next.

And don’t forget the importance of individual, one-to-one meetings with each member of your team. These can be just as vital for keeping a strong and cohesive team atmosphere.

“One-on-one meetings help you to build trusting work relationships, receive actionable employee feedback and suggestions, and allow you to have better collaboration among your remote teams,” explains Bryan Kitch, Content Marketing Manager at Mural. “They help to strengthen a company’s dynamic, and they make the employee feel heard, appreciated, and respected. In the remote work world, this is more important than ever.”

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Building relationships and community

Encouraging team building and camaraderie between employees has long been understood as a key part of getting the most out of any team. But this issue is only heightened when you look at it from a remote working perspective. When there is little opportunity for chatting and social bonding in person, it is up to you to work extra hard to provide your team members with the chance to build strong relationships and foster a great team spirit.

There are actually many ways of building a great atmosphere for remote teams – sometimes it takes thinking creatively, but actually the majority of the time, you simply need to apply the same principles of team building that you always have. For example, it’s well known that regular short meetings can help to build up good team cohesion – the same can be done via videoconferencing.

Performance and accountability

If you want to get the best out of a remote team, then you need to focus on them just as you do with an in-house team. Some business owners worry that remote workers, left to their own devices, will be significantly less productive than their peers in an office. Of course, experience has shown that this simply isn’t the case, but that doesn’t mean that remote workers should be left entirely to work without extra motivators. Instead, remote workers need to be managed a little differently. It is paramount to build up a rapport early on because a remote member is not as visible in the physical sense. It therefore, becomes more important to let a remote employee feel as valued, motivated and trusted as in-house workers.

All staff can benefit from having clear goals and targets set – but it is especially important for remote workers. In an office, it is sometimes easier to understand and recognise the goals that the business is working towards. So, remote workers should be provided with a clear structure and with regular opportunities to meet in person for evaluation and performance-monitoring purposes.

Work-life balance and flexibility

It is often argued that one of the best reasons to work remotely is to achieve a better work-life balance. The lure of avoiding the morning and evening commute and the chance to be closer to home at all times can make the concept very appealing. However, interestingly, there is some evidence to suggest that remote working is not particularly good for our well-being.

It is necessary, then, for businesses to pay close attention to their workers and ensure that

Growth and development

Remote work can sometimes make it harder for employees to develop their skills and advance in their careers. To help address this, it’s a great idea to offer professional growth and development opportunities. One approach is to provide regular training sessions, whether they be in-person or remote, that focus on topics relevant to your team’s work. This could include new technologies, industry trends, or soft skills like communication or project management.

Another strategy is to implement a coaching or mentoring program. This can help employees receive regular feedback and guidance from a more experienced colleague, which can be invaluable in helping them develop their skills and confidence. By providing opportunities for growth and development, you can help your remote team members feel more invested in their work and more engaged with your organisation as a whole

“We provide a yearly training budget for our remote staff,” says Mike Knivett, Managing Director of Sussex-based SEO agency Artemis Marketing. “Employees get the chance to discuss their training and development goals with their line manager, and they can then use the budget to enroll in training courses and sessions.”

Tools and technology

Getting the most out of a remote team can sometimes mean investing in new pieces of technology that might result in some training needed for the team. Ultimately, working remotely can be extremely productive and beneficial for your business, but it can’t be denied that some issues such as communicating and collaborating are made a little trickier by not working together in person.

The following are some key tools and technology that can benefit remote teams.

Communication tools – one of the most important things for a remote team is to have a clear and effective communication system. There are many tools available that can help with this, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom. These tools allow team members to communicate via text, voice, and video, and can also be used for screen sharing and collaboration.

Project management tools – to keep everyone on the same page and ensure that tasks are completed on time, project management tools can be extremely useful. Some popular options include Trello, Asana, Jira, Basecamp, and These tools allow team members to track progress, assign tasks, and collaborate on projects in real time.

Time tracking tools – when managing a remote team, it can be difficult to keep track of everyone’s hours and ensure that everyone is working efficiently. Time tracking tools like Toggl Track, Timely, and RescueTime can help with this, allowing team members to track their time and managers to monitor productivity.

File sharing and storage tools – sharing files and documents can be challenging when working remotely, but tools like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box can make it easy to store and share files securely. These tools also allow team members to collaborate on documents.

Virtual whiteboard and brainstorming tools – brainstorming and collaborating on ideas can be challenging when working remotely, but virtual whiteboard tools like Miro, Lucidchart, and MURAL can make it easier to brainstorm and collaborate visually. These tools allow team members to create diagrams, flowcharts, and other visuals together.

Employee engagement tools – finally, it’s important to ensure that remote team members feel connected and engaged with their work and their colleagues. Tools like Donut, Bonusly, and Officevibe can help with this by facilitating virtual team building activities, recognition and rewards programs, and employee surveys.

Management and empathy

Empathy and understanding are crucial when managing a remote team. If you are managing a remote team for the first time, or you don’t have much experience, it’s crucial to realise that it can be very different from operating in person. Managers should be flexible and understanding when it comes to remote workers’ needs.

One of the main challenges of remote work is that it can blur the lines between work and personal life. Without the structure of an office, remote workers may find it difficult to switch off from work, leading to burnout and stress. As a manager, it’s important to be aware of this and to offer flexibility when it comes to working hours and deadlines. Encourage your team to take breaks, switch off at the end of the day, and prioritise their mental health.

Perhaps what is most important here is that managers must understand that it is crucial for them to take a lead role regarding their remote teams. This can mean making parameters as clear as possible to maintain trust and keep realistic expectations of your staff’s output. Encouraging lines of communication and mediating on problems can help to overcome some of the barriers created by physical distance.

Mental health and well-being

We’ve already touched on how remote working can lead to extra feelings of stress and burnout. The lack of social interaction and support that typically comes from working in a traditional office environment can lead to staff feeling lonely or isolated.

One way to support your team’s mental health is by offering resources and support for stress management, mindfulness, and self-care. Implementing wellness programs especially designed for remote teams is a welcome and effective strategy. Plus, encouraging team members to take breaks and engage in activities that promote a healthy work-life balance can also help reduce stress and burnout.

It’s also important to check in regularly with remote workers and be aware of signs of burnout, stress, or other mental health concerns. Creating a safe and supportive environment where employees can feel comfortable discussing their concerns can make a big difference in their mental well-being.

In Summary

For those businesses that continue to operate with a proportion of their employees working remotely, it’s important to continually adapt, and refresh internal and external policies, technology and practices to ensure your remote staff feel well supported.

Rather than being detrimental in any way to your company’s output and outlook, remote teams benefit from having good lines of communication in place and the right resources and management back-up to feel valued and rewarded. Having the tools to develop remote employees can encourage personal growth and increase staff motivation. In turn, you are carving out a positive workplace culture for remote workers that is good for staff and business. Being aware of how and when to implement these changes allow you to create a healthier and more productive remote team that will help your business to thrive in the longer term.

About the Author

Dakota Murphey is based in the UK. She has more than 10 years’ writing and enjoys creating engaging content across a range of subjects. Dakota has covered everything from eCommerce, Digital Trends and Branding to Cybersecurity, Company Growth and Travel. She regularly contributes to a number of authoritative resources online and shares her knowledge and experience with other like-minded professionals.

Team 6Q

Team 6Q