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?

Pagely

Ha, no. This sounds terrible. Where is the trust?

Balsamiq

No, yuck. Responsible people do what they know needs to be done.

DevriX

We have a Monday weekly meeting for about 45min where everyone should show up. Other than that team members are free to take time off…

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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. 

StudySoup

Twice a year we organize a team work retreat. We just returned from a week in Lake Tahoe, CA. Our retreats aren’t really “vacations for…

AirTreks

TIP 1: think about the most important thing you want to accomplish and let that lead your decisions about who attends, what you talk about,…

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Do your remote team members meet in person?

Plex

Yes we have regular company retreats because we understand that nothing beats face-to-face contact for getting to know people and helping to build trust and…

Collage.com

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

Skillcrush

We don’t require it, but we do have hubs of team members in New York and Florida, and try to get together and cowork as…

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How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?

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…

ICUC Social

We work with project management tools and have set goals and KPIs. We rely on Asana, a project management tool, to keep track of projects…

TeamSnap

By the quality and quantity of the work they output, period.

See all 98 answers

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

Parse.ly

Andrew Montalenti, Parse.ly co-founder and CTO, has said: “The biggest thing missing from fully distributed teams is true face-to-face communication. There are a lot of…

Canonical

As with any successful recipe, there are a number of important ingredients to a successful remote working organisation.  These include: Establishing a culture of trust…

Packlane

Weekly one-on-ones are the best way to establish rapport, problem-solve, and encourage ongoing work on difficult projects. I’ve heard that always turning on your webcam…

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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…

SitePen

The hardest part about managing a remote workforce is the propensity for terse communication.  Often times, people are chatting, trying to quickly accomplish something or…

Crossover

The most difficult part is helping your team stay motivated and feel part of a team when they have never met. In the office, a…

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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…

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…

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?

Summit CPA Group

We provide remote workers with a $2,000 per year technology stipend.

Boldly

Our team is free to use whatever tools work for them! In fact, since we integrate fully into our clients’ businesses, we encourage our team…

GitHub, Inc.

We don’t have a formal BYOD/A program like some companies do, however it’s important that people can do their jobs effectively, and that means supplying…

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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…

Incsub

We ask that everyone let their team members know about any planned time off with as much advance notice as possible. There’s not limit, but…

Scrapinghub

We give everybody 20 paid vacation days per year (they generate 1.66 vacation days per month worked) and the local country holidays wherever they happen…

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What were your biggest fears in managing remote workers?

BELAY

I don’t know that we had any preconceived fears in working remotely, but I think generally speaking most organizations are fearful of remote workers because…

Jungle Scout

My biggest fear was probably that everyone was just going to goof off and not get any work done with little oversight. This has been…

Blossom

To me, making the work visible was a big fear. Even in traditional companies, there are people working nobody knows what they are actually doing.…

See all 36 answers