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?

GitHub, Inc.

It depends on the team. I don’t know of any teams in our company that mandate response times for internal communication, but plenty of teams…

Envato

We don’t have any overarching rules or norms, other than to ensure that mandatory meetings are remote-friendly. Each team sets their own norms as necessary.…

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?

Pagely

Logistics are a pain, but the outcome is always worth it. Just allow plenty of time for planning and be frank with everyone that it…

Modern Tribe

Once a year we converge on a tropical location for our annual company retreat. (You can find a recap of our 2016 team trip here.)…

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…

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Do your remote team members meet in person?

1Password

We have an annual, weeklong meeting where we all gather to work and play together. We also have occasional mini conferences, during which individual teams…

SitePen

We are proponents of team projects so no one person is out there working on their own.  With onsite Customer engagements, we’re afforded great opportunities…

Edgar

We do! Twice a year, we gather the team for weeklong retreats, so we can both work together and get to spend quality time getting…

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How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?

Speak

We don’t actively measure anything like work output.  Everyone is quite honest about their flow and usually it’s quite clear from the amount of product…

PeopleG2

Productivity is easily measured by the output each day.  Our platform provides metrics which will show the productivity of individuals and the company.  We also…

ThirdPath Institute

I think this is a very important question for all organizations – not just organizations with remote workers.  Too often a “flexible workplace” turns into…

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

10up Inc.

Well, we only have remote workers, including me. For a 100% distributed team, I’d point to a few key resources: A flexible, instant “virtual office…

DVMelite

It is critical to have open communication and no silos.  Everyone should be able to communicate with anyone and be open to reply quickly.

Project Ricochet

Feedback, coaching and one-on-ones are absolutely critical to a good relationship with employees. Whenever I see something good or bad, I call that team member…

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What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?

X-Team

It’s a bit of a tie for me — the two things I struggle with most are satisfying each person’s needs as a remote worker,…

Referral Rock

It’s harder to have a general “pulse” of your team. You can’t see their body language and moods as much on a day-to-day basis, so…

Hippo Education

Making sure we build relationships offline as well as online.

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

Boldly

We have a monthly newsletter called Yours Virtually and the team takes turns to write in it from their perspective, and to share a little…

Help Scout

We have done three company retreats so far, and plan on doing at least two a year. Every time we do them, Nick, our CEO,…

Eyeo GmbH

First of all, we invite new colleagues to our headquarters in Cologne for the onboarding process. Then we have weekly team meetings which the colleagues…

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What is your BYOD policy for remote workers?

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…

Scribendi

Given the nature of our business, we require all of our remote workers to have their own secure PC in order to avoid compatibility issues…

Lullabot

We provide a monthly stipend for these sorts of things via a prepaid debit (Pex card) and we offer to front-load it on hire if…

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What is your time off policy for remote workers?

Articulate, Inc.

Take whatever time you need.  We’re a ROWE environment.  

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…

SoftwareMill

People charge daily. If they do not work, they don’t make money. It is also possible to have a lower daily rate and include 20…

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What were your biggest fears in managing remote workers?

Dell

I had no real fears of managing remote workers, but I always am cautious to ensure I communicate regularly and that my virtual door is…

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…

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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