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?

AnswerFirst

When working, our remote workers must always be in chat and respond as soon as they are able to (not interrupt their engaged call). We…

Greenback Expat Tax Services

We don’t set communication rules for the team, but we rely on a collaborative approach to accomplish the company’s goals. Rarely is one team member…

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…

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Do you organize remote team retreats?

Jungle Scout

Yes we sure do! Jungle Camps twice yearly. It is a great way to meet, work, and grow together. It is also a time when…

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…

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?

InVisionApp

We encourage employees to get together often, whether that’s a result of some personal traveling, a conference all members of a department or team are…

Toptal

All of our events are optional, but yes we have a lot of in person events. We have a very active community that organizes events…

Working Solutions

Yes, we do, and the frequency varies between teams.  Some meet quarterly, others annually.  We try to bring the whole company together annually for a…

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How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?

Universal Mind, Inc.

We use an agile development methodology that incorporates daily progress checks for the team. Also, if a developer’s velocity falls below a certain threshold, we…

Ciao Bambino! Inc.

We have sales and other deliverables which are measurable. I think it more difficult to measure the productivity for roles that don’t have clear deliverables…

Canonical

Quality of work completed Customer satisfaction Ability to meet deadlines Results Feedback from the business/360 Reviews Performance Reviews Objective Setting

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

OpenSnow

Weekly calls are important, as is setting and communicating realistic and exciting goals.

Dell

Communication is key. Keep the lines of communication open at all times, whether through regular meetings or just a quick check-in via instant messaging.

Sanborn

We set clear expectations from day one. That includes expectations on everyone’s level of communication, when to ask questions (always), and when to raise a…

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What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?

Simple [A]

Knowing what to do with all the awesome.

1Password

Balancing socializing in a virtual workspace with not working in a silo. When working remotely, it’s so easy to either block out everything and become…

Hubstaff

Sometimes remote workers just don’t have that much time for your company. They may have multiple clients, be traveling the world (you never know with…

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

Melewi

Talk to them – constantly, consistently, openly. Always make sure they know that they’re part of the team because they each bring tremendous and unique…

CloudPeeps

Sharing how the company is going and being fully transparent when it comes to growth and financials has allowed our team to be and stay…

Answer Connect

A remote workforce may need even more communication than a co-located one. We run daily challenges and promote lifelong learning through AdaptiveU, an online learning…

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What is your BYOD policy for remote workers?

The Cheat Sheet

We allow team members to use whichever device(s) they feel most comfortable working with. The Cheat Sheet does allocate company computers to our employees as…

PeopleG2

If employees have a laptop or computer, we will typically ask them to use that. However, if they need a new computer, or do not…

iDoneThis

Everyone is free to get their devices from the company, but as far as I know everyone’s just using their own machine.

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What is your time off policy for remote workers?

RunRepeat

You can take off whenever you like, but we pay you by the hour. You get one to five weeks of vacation depending on how…

Referral Rock

We have a few set major holidays as company holidays and instead give more PTO days for team members to use as they please. Funnily…

Tortuga

We offer unlimited vacation. I know that some companies have changed policies to minimum vacations, required vacations, or something else. As a travel company, our…

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What were your biggest fears in managing remote workers?

TOK.tv

You try to hire the best people out there but sometimes you simply can’t know if you did the right thing until they start. You…

StudySoup

My biggest fears were around not being able to manage work output, and not having clarity into someone’s projects. For the first 6 months this…

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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