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?

Bitovi

We do not have explicit communication norms set for our team. In terms of responding to communications, it depends on a number of factors and…

Blossom

Not at all. Everybody should balance his needs with that of the company and act accordingly. As we don’t have working hours, people are not…

Hubstaff

We try to avoid too many emails, instead using Trello to communicate, Skype for IM, Jing for training, etc. On weekdays due to the timezones…

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Do you organize remote team retreats?

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…

Seeq

In the earlier days when the team was ~15 people, we would gather the whole company together for week-long (Mon-Fri) retreats in different locations 4…

Authentic Form & Function

We operate with two company retreats per year, each slightly different from the other. The first retreat is a full-week “working retreat” where the entire team…

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Do your remote team members meet in person?

ezhome

Absolutely. We have some very structured events such as week-long annual engineering team meetups. Many of our remote team members also come by headquarters in…

Acceleration Partners

As a whole company we have bi-weekly video calls every other week and we get together in-person 2x a year for all company meetings.

Intridea/ Mobomo

Yes, we usually kick-off a project in house – so we’ll fly folks in for that.  Also, we host an annual retreat every year for…

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How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?

World Wide Web Hosting

We measure productivity the same way traditional office workforces measure it – we look at the results. Being a remote workforce truly shouldn’t be a…

DevriX

Depending on the type of work, we have different KPIs and have developed a business process that allows measuring most of the day-to-day activities. Development…

Project Ricochet

We have a host of metrics that we ingest from several sources and make visible to our team using a Periscope Data dashboard. Each team…

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

Knobs.co

Clear tasks, responsibilities, and deliverables.

XWP

Trust is absolutely essential. We are a team of colleagues and hire some of the best talent in the world. If you don’t trust the…

Toggl

Open Communication – no blame games: The best way to overcome problems is to discuss them openly. Try to work towards a solution and avoid blaming…

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What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?

Coalition Technologies

Creating a healthy balance between trusting our team members to manage their work time and monitoring their activity. We have team members use time management…

Toptal

If you’re a typical startup, <10 people sitting in an office, then with everything that happens, everyone always knows about it. So how do you…

GitHub, Inc.

At GitHub it’s important to us that we look after our employees. We’re not just in this for short-term productivity, we’re in this for the…

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

SimpleTexting

Informal water-cooler style conversations about company goals and vision. People want to work for a company where they like the product, trust the management, and…

LiquidSpace

Every once in awhile, we send treats to all our employees. These can include snacks, wine, team hats, and more. And we’re always sending out…

OnTheGo Systems

We have different means to make sure our company members feel part of the bigger picture. Everyone is involved in quarterly meetings where we update…

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What is your BYOD policy for remote workers?

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…

Hippo Education

We tend to equip people with a strong Mac so they can be effective wherever they are.

Doist

Team members can use any hardware that they please. After you’ve worked with Doist for six months, you are granted a generous hardware and software…

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What is your time off policy for remote workers?

Mokriya

Mokriya has a flexible vacation policy. Meaning we don’t measure vacation time. We grant each team member the trust to take time off when they…

Melewi

Melewi has an unlimited leave policy. As long as it’s within reason, of course. Surprisingly though, since we’re remote and it’s quite easy to bring…

Groove

You must take time off. That’s about as far as the written policy goes. We don’t have limits; it’s especially easy to get burnt out…

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What were your biggest fears in managing remote workers?

VIPKID

We’ve always been worried that they wouldn’t commit to teaching online in the long run, because most of our teachers are busy with a full-time…

DataStax

That it would be harder than it actually is. In fact, the management problems are the same regardless of location.

Crossover

As is the trend with other remote companies, we worry about workplace culture. It’s a bit harder to foster when you only see one another…

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