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?

Appirio

We don’t have any policies in place around communication norms for our remote team. We just ask our team to be respectful of others and…

Crossover

There is no hard and fast rule, but as a general rule of thumb, the quicker the better. Because we are a startup company, things…

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…

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Do you organize remote team retreats?

Modern Tribe

Once a year we converge on a tropical location for our annual company retreat. (You can find a recap of our 2016 team trip here.)…

iTutorGroup

Our best teachers are invited to an all-expenses paid trip to Shanghai every year! This is the best way to allow the teachers to experience…

Fog Creek Software

Yes – see my blog where I wrote the definitive guide to planning an offsite. 

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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…

Jackson River

We only do one formal meeting each year, a 4-day annual retreat that tackles some operations-level work, but is mostly for play and social time.…

Formstack

Yes! Every fall, we gather for our annual “All Hands” meetup with our entire team. We started doing these meetups in 2013, and they have…

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How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?

TNTP

As an organization, we hire really driven people, set clear and ambitious goals, and check in on them regularly throughout the year, both formally and…

The Geller Law Group

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

Lullabot

We’re a very results oriented company, but for client services work depending upon the contract type we do track hours and do things that are…

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

Knobs.co

Clear tasks, responsibilities, and deliverables.

CloudPeeps

We place a strong emphasis on transparency, authenticity and being direct. We do monthly one-on-one feedback sessions, which we call “pair calls” where we run…

ICUC Social

Rely on the technology available. From Google Apps to Cloud offerings, explore options that will suit your company best. Set regular meetings (as long as…

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What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?

TeamSnap

Scheduling meetings can be tricky because we cover a lot of timezones and some people may choose to work very early or very late, depending…

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…

GobySavvy

I think communication is the hardest part. We don’t have the power to walk into someone’s office and ask for an update or motivate. However…

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

Hubstaff

We make sure all of our employees understand our strategy and core beliefs, so we all know what we’re working to achieve. We also have…

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…

Five Q

Our leaders are continual learners in what good leadership truly is. Ultimately, we keep ourselves moored in our mission, the continual development of a warm…

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What is your BYOD policy for remote workers?

Taksa Technology Solutions

As a company we have internal policies that helps us to have key security measures that protects us from any liability concerns that possibly could…

iDoneThis

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

Toptal

We don’t really have a formal policy. Most people use their own devices, but we make sure people have what they need. Everyone is free…

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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…

Inspired HR

We have no formal vacation policy. It is important that our client’s needs are still met when a team member is away, so we make…

Aha!

Aha! currently offers 15 days of paid time off to all teammates in their first year and 20 days in the following years, as well…

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What were your biggest fears in managing remote workers?

Packlane

Not being able to express when an issue is truly urgent. This is a problem, but it’s gotten easier the more we all work together.…

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…

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…

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