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?

Ushahidi

No.

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…

AirTreks

Yes, but they are different. We have regular meetings where we expect people to do their synchronous work. We also promote “core hours” 7-10 a.m.…

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Do you organize remote team retreats?

Timely

Yes we do, and they are awesome. My tip would be to keep the work content to a minimum. A brief session on how the…

Kin HR

Here are some tips: 1) Retreats should be easily accessible (closer to the airport) 2) Consider having the whole team living under one roof through…

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?

SimpleTexting

Not yet. Skype and Google hangouts are what we use.

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…

Aha!

Twice a year, the entire company gathers in a destination travel location for a week. We call these “onsites.” This is our opportunity to look…

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How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?

Taksa Technology Solutions

We also define goals for each of our employees. These goals are company goals as well as their personal goals. We review these goals on…

The Geller Law Group

As attorneys, we measure productivity through billable hours generated by the employee.

Tropical Travelers

I am very fortunate to have an incredible team of consultants. They are self-starters who work until the job is done. This type of work…

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

Simple [A]

Truly, a distributed company operates with all the same leadership dynamics and laws of physics a traditional, co-located company does. Culture matters first and foremost.…

Inspired HR

Frequent communication, appropriate resources, a culture of support, and the use of technology.

Hanno

Trust is perhaps the biggest. Trying to control or command people remotely simply never works, and if you don’t trust the people you’re working with,…

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What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?

Formstack

The biggest challenge is the “if only we were together (physically)” thought that pops into your head on those days when you want to call…

Hippo Education

Making sure we build relationships offline as well as online.

TeamGantt

The hardest thing is just making sure to stay in touch with everyone and make sure everyone knows that they are part of the team…

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

Appen

Clear and precise communication, including town hall meetings, fireside chats, e-learning training sessions, and reward programs reinforcing performance.

Go Fish Digital

While we aren’t big on meetings, we do have a regularly scheduled Monday meeting where we go over any admin items and talk about the…

Dell

Communication and information sharing are key. Dell has developed and actively supports an Employee Resource Group (ERG) called Conexus that champions a flexible work community…

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What is your BYOD policy for remote workers?

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,…

InVisionApp

We provide everyone with a MacBook, a Bluetooth headset, and any necessary devices or software needed for their home office.

AnswerFirst

Our remote workers must have all of their own equipment to qualify for the work-from-home CSP position. They must have a computer with a webcam…

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What is your time off policy for remote workers?

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…

MomsRising

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

Articulate, Inc.

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

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What were your biggest fears in managing remote workers?

Qkids

We were a bit worried about our teachers not feeling a sense of belonging. But it turned out most of our teachers just love us…

RunRepeat

My biggest fear is that I do not always know what employees feel. When I make an update, what do they think? Sure, they give…

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…

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