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?

Knack

We have an overlap policy where we expect everyone to be generally available for conversations and video chats. Remote does not by definition mean time…

AnswerFirst

When working, our remote workers must always be in chat and respond as soon as they are able to (not interrupt their engaged call). We…

ICUC Social

We do not have specific communication norms. We focus on results and work, not the management of people. If a project is immediate and requires…

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Do you organize remote team retreats?

Fog Creek Software

Yes – see my blog where I wrote the definitive guide to planning an offsite. 

LiquidSpace

We organize retreats and offsites about once per quarter. A couple tips: choose a great venue for your company retreat and, of course, use the…

Envato

We don’t organise retreats, but we do have a ‘visit Melbourne’ subsidy where we reimburse remote workers $1,000 if they wish to visit Melbourne and…

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Do your remote team members meet in person?

Ultimate Software

Every team is different, but at least quarterly.

Appen

Each year we hold a company meeting and try to gather together as many remote teams as possible. These meetings last a few days and…

Project Ricochet

We fly our entire team out for a conference once each year. This is our opportunity to spend time together, get to know new team…

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How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?

Scrapinghub

Nobody works alone at Scrapinghub. Everybody reports to a manager that keeps track of their work and this feedback moves up the chain, as it…

Simple [A]

We rely on the outputs from both independent and team work to understand how individual [A]gents are doing. We also are able to evaluate detailed…

CloudPeeps

We look at a lot of different metrics – from crude things like time (it’s remarkably easy to see if someone is “showing up” and…

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

Big Universe, Inc.

For us, it’s the use of video and platform agnostic systems. We require our employees have a modern computer, hi-speed Internet and a HD webcam.…

Aha!

The principles of a successful working relationship with remote teammates do not differ that much from any other relationship. You have to be responsive, goal-oriented,…

Chargify

Trust, communication, and transparency are key. One of the most common questions I get from people who work in more traditional offices is, “How do…

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What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?

Jackson River

It’s about making sure there is enough time to actually support staff, and that there are effective processes around what we expect our managers to…

Bright!Tax

You don’t develop such close relationships as you do with people whom you see every day. This can be a positive too though, as productivity…

World Wide Web Hosting

Communication – without a doubt. Since the “water cooler” talk isn’t possible, we provide a wide variety of channels and tools for staff to communicate.…

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

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…

Goodway Group

At Goodway, we don’t treat our remote employees any differently than if they were in an office setting. They can’t be seen as exceptions or…

Referral Rock

We set OKRs for each team that are talked about in every all-hands meeting. We also have a #winning Slack channel where teams post a…

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What is your BYOD policy for remote workers?

Fire Engine RED

Our company provides computer hardware and software to all our team members.

GobySavvy

We do require our remote team to work on their own devices. Some projects involve designing or optimizing an iOS app, some an Android app,…

Taksa Technology Solutions

As a company we have internal policies that helps us to have key security measures that protects us from any liability concerns that possibly could…

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What is your time off policy for remote workers?

Buffer

We have a minimum vacation policy at Buffer where we ask employees to take at least 15 days off every year, in addition to whichever…

DVMelite

You can take off whatever days/weeks needed and as long as you have someone covering for your clients, we are fine.  

MomsRising

As a mom friendly organization we have a generous time off policy that includes paid sick days and paid family leave.

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What were your biggest fears in managing remote workers?

LoveToKnow

I think my biggest fears are when we lose touch with someone. Every once in a while, someone will just “disappear” – they don’t answer…

Origin Eight

Not many fears that I can think of. Really just accountability and showing up, but I don’t feel that’s any more of an issue than…

Inspired HR

We did so much research before going remote that we were not too worried about making the change. Once we made the switch, we never…

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