Managing Remotely

140 companies answer 6 questions

Managing a remote or distributed team successfully requires good support, planning, and communication. Whether deciding if and how to get the team to meet in person or defining the line between vacation and flexible work, the management of a remote team has differences from managing traditional on-site teams. In our Managing Remotely section we ask top remote companies how they keep their teams running smoothly from thousands of miles away.

Do you have remote communication protocols for your remote workers?

TeamSnap

Be generally available, coordinate with your team to be most effective, realize that working remotely means overcommunicating.

Canonical

As with an office based role, remote workers are required to be available during the working day.  Generally most managers will establish the norms, as…

XWP

Within a global team, expectations are much closer to a 24-hour response time to chat-based communications, and meetings are scheduled well in advance and coordinated…

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Do you organize remote team retreats?

AnswerFirst

No, we did try to do meet-and-greet lunches in various locations. There was little to no interest since those who work remote do this for a…

Inpsyde GmbH

At our team meetings, we do organize loads of stuff, which are fun and supports team building. Most of the time we are away for…

Ushahidi

Yes. We find one place that can host us all. Make sure it’s not in a city, you want everyone to be huddled up together…

See all 32 answers

Do your remote team members meet in person?

Eyeo GmbH

Minimum twice a year for summer and Christmas Event

Melewi

We try to set a regular team meet up once or twice a year. So far, in 2016, the entire team has met up four…

Mokriya

Currently this is on an ad-hoc basis. It is not uncommon for parts of the team to meet in person in all parts of the…

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How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?

Sococo

We’re an Agile organization, so self-examination is built into our workflow very naturally. We set goals, then examine and measure progress, output at regular, discrete…

Lullabot

We’re a very results oriented company, but for client services work depending upon the contract type we do track hours and do things that are…

Beutler Ink

Strictly speaking, we measure it in their output. What’s most important to us is that the work needed is getting done, and that our team…

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What elements are key to successful working relationships with remote teams?

Knobs.co

Clear tasks, responsibilities, and deliverables.

Flex Professionals

Trust, trust, trust and communication, communication, communication.

Sanborn

We set clear expectations from day one. That includes expectations on everyone’s level of communication, when to ask questions (always), and when to raise a…

See all 69 answers

What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?

GobySavvy

I think communication is the hardest part. We don’t have the power to walk into someone’s office and ask for an update or motivate. However…

Acceleration Partners

Different laws in various states and keeping on top of that while trying to be fair to the masses. 2. Keeping everyone motivated and energized,…

Ultimate Software

One of the hardest things is making sure you have a good set of managers overseeing the remote employees, and making sure they are fully…

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How do you keep remote employees engaged and feeling part of the bigger picture?

Must Have Menus

We talk all the time. A short, daily all-hands meeting allows everyone to understand the what and the why. We make a point of being…

Batchbook

Keeping remote employees engaged is definitely a challenge. You need to make an effort to check in with co-workers and learn about their lives and…

SoftwareMill

Each team that is working for a client takes responsibility for all the issues: financial stuff, agreements, customer relations, etc. Thanks to our policy, people…

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What is your BYOD policy for remote workers?

American Express

Because of the type of work our customer care professionals do, they must be logged into a secured workstation to address Card Members’ inquiries. Many…

Remote Year

All Dreamers (Remote Year team members) bring their own devices. To enable Dreamers to have the equipment they need to do great work, we also…

Mavens

Every team member is provided with a laptop and can then use their own mobile phone with the company paying up to $150 of the…

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What is your time off policy for remote workers?

Ciao Bambino! Inc.

We do not have a time off limit. However, for it to be worth my while to manage our resources, they have to contribute a minimum…

Simple [A]

We have a fairly standard PTO plan for full-time [A]gents.

TaxJar

We have a MANDATORY vacation policy. We realized that an unlimited vacation policy was having the opposite effect – team members weren’t taking the time…

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What were your biggest fears in managing remote workers?

Envato

There is always fear that collaboration is based on face to face contact but it turns out it is not! People can work on things…

Modern Tribe

Accountability. The fear that people would simply flake, walk off into the distance, play video games instead of work. Sure they came true. And then…

Sticker Mule

My biggest concern is worrying about the happiness of our team members. It’s easy to tell how someone is feeling in person. Fortunately, we haven’t…

See all 37 answers