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?

Eyeo GmbH

No. We have an absence management tool so that we can manage every kind of leave request, such as vacation, parental leave, etc.

GobySavvy

Everyone is expected to respond to both internal and client communications within half of a business day. For working with clients on long-term projects, 2…

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…

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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…

Bitovi

Yes! We organize three all-company events per year. One focused on working together on specific company projects, one focused on training, and another focused on…

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…

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Do your remote team members meet in person?

Big Universe, Inc.

Currently, we meet on an as-needed basis (e.g. once/twice per year), However, similar to Automattic (the WordPress folks), we would like to meet much more…

Canonical

At any point across the year there will be teams attending ‘sprints’ in locations across the globe.  Sprints provide an architect for groups to come…

Collage.com

We meet in person every three or four months, except for during our busy holiday shopping season.

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How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?

Hubstaff

The Hubstaff software has useful features like activity levels and randomized screenshots, so we can see how productive our team members are being while tracking…

Origin Eight

Through project management and time tracking tools.

Bright!Tax

We agree upon targets with measurable results for all our team members, allowing them and us to keep track of their progress. The reality though…

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

StudySoup

Clear communication guidelines are very helpful. Miscommunication happens all the time in person, and happens a lot more over Slack or email. Just recognizing this…

ezhome

Trust and transparency. In order for our team to work together effectively across locations and time zones there must be a very high level of…

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…

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What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?

Remote Year

One of the challenges in managing a remote workforce is employee engagement. To be successful at Remote Year, employees need to be both collaborative and…

NodeSource

Making sure people are consistently aligned with the mission.  People can start to lose track as they get heads down on the day to day…

Tortuga

The hardest part of management is keeping everyone on the same page. As I mentioned above, we try to do this weekly, monthly, and quarterly.…

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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…

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…

Universal Mind, Inc.

We are all very communicative. We have on-the-fly Google Hangout video calls when needed, and we have weekly meetings set up to go over project…

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What is your BYOD policy for remote workers?

Sococo

Our employees get a laptop for administration work, as well as a display, keyboard, and mouse. The software developers and QA team may have different…

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…

1Password

We don’t have hard-and-fast rules. We expect our team to be adults, and we expect everyone to have a sense of ownership and respect, treating…

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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.  

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…

Jungle Scout

Unlimited paid vacation. Many team members travel and work on the go, mixing the two. But we wholeheartedly encourage and support all team members to…

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What were your biggest fears in managing remote workers?

Fire Engine RED

My first opportunity to manage a full-time employee came at Fire Engine RED! I had previously supervised contractors and freelancers … but now I was…

Balsamiq

We very naively started all being remote, so there were no fears. Here’s a challenge that surprised me: on the same day, I had a…

InVisionApp

Our biggest fear with regards to having a remote workforce was that individuals would feel left out, not engaged, or like they were missing out…

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