Strategies for Managing Remote Teams

Shahzad Masood

Strategies for Managing Remote Teams

The modern workplace has evolved dramatically over the past decade, with remote work becoming increasingly prevalent. Technological advancements, the desire for work-life balance, and, more recently, global health crises have contributed to this trend.

Of course, this setup has unique challenges, including communication barriers, lack of team cohesion, and difficulty tracking performance. However, with the right strategies, these obstacles can be overcome, leading to successful remote team management and a thriving remote workforce.

The Rise of Remote Work

The pandemic has impacted many people’s financial situations. Online financial services have become increasingly relevant to help those who have been financially affected by these changes. Many even look for alternatives to big lenders to find better deals when it comes to interest rates and late fee, among others. Amid this economic flux, a survey by Gartner found that 88% of organizations worldwide have encouraged or required their employees to work from home due to the pandemic.

It has helped many workers recover from financial breakdowns and bounce back as competent team players in digital workplaces. Moreover, many businesses have found that remote work does not hinder productivity but enhances it, giving rise to a new normal in the professional world.

Understanding the Challenges of Remote Work

The first step to resolving problems is to acknowledge that there are issues. Before we look into the strategies for managing remote teams, let’s first look into the most common challenges of work setup.

Communication Barriers

One of the biggest challenges in remote work is communication. Without the ability to have quick, face-to-face interactions, messages can get lost in translation or overlooked entirely. It can lead to misunderstandings, missed deadlines, and a breakdown in team collaboration. Moreover, the absence of non-verbal cues, which constitute a significant part of our communication, can make it harder to convey tone and intent effectively.

Lack of Team Cohesion

Building a strong, cohesive team can be more challenging when employees are geographically dispersed. In a traditional office setting, casual conversations and shared experiences naturally foster a sense of camaraderie.

However, these spontaneous interactions are less frequent in a remote work environment. This lack of personal connection can lead to feelings of isolation among team members and a decrease in collective identity.

Difficulty in Tracking Performance

Another challenge of managing remote teams is monitoring performance and productivity. Managers can directly observe their team’s work habits and engagement levels in the office. But in a remote setting, this is not possible. Without the proper tools and strategies in place, it can be challenging to ensure that everyone is working efficiently and meeting their targets. Identifying those struggling and needing additional support can also be harder.

Effective Communication Strategies

To address the first remote work issue, here are three strategies you can follow:

Leveraging Technology for Seamless Communication

In the digital age, numerous tools are available to facilitate seamless communication among remote teams. Platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Hangouts allow instant messaging and collaboration, while Zoom or Skype provide video conferencing capabilities that simulate face-to-face meetings.

Regular Check-Ins and Updates

Regular check-ins are key to keeping everyone aligned and informed. These can be daily stand-ups for quick updates, weekly team meetings for more detailed discussions, or one-on-one check-ins to discuss individual progress and concerns.

Establishing Clear and Concise Communication Norms

Setting clear communication norms is crucial in a remote work setting. It could include guidelines on response times, preferred communication channels for conversations (e.g., email for non-urgent matters, instant messaging for quick questions), and etiquette for virtual meetings (e.g., when to mute microphones, how to signal you have something to say).

Building Team Cohesion Remotely

To foster solid team bonds within this work setup, here are some strategies that worked for many successful remote teams.

Virtual Team Building Activities

Team building activities aren’t exclusive to physical workplaces. There are plenty of virtual activities that can help foster a sense of camaraderie among remote teams. It could include virtual games, shared online courses for learning new skills, or even remote “happy hours” where team members can socialize and chat about non-work topics.

Celebrating Accomplishments Together

Recognizing and celebrating accomplishments is another effective way to build team cohesion. It could be as simple as giving a shout-out in a team meeting for a job well done or organizing a virtual celebration for major project milestones. Celebrating success boosts morale and reinforces a sense of shared purpose and achievement.

Encouraging Informal Conversations

Informal conversations play a vital role in team building. They allow team members to connect personally and strengthen their relationships. Encouraging casual chat channels or “water cooler” moments can help recreate spontaneous conversations in a traditional office setting.

Tracking Performance and Productivity

As previously discussed, tracking the performance and productivity of remote workers is also a challenge for many organizations. Here are some helpful tips we can share to address this issue.

Setting Clear Expectations and Goals

One of the first steps in tracking performance and productivity is setting clear expectations and goals. Everyone on the team should know what they’re working towards and what’s expected of them. It includes not only the tasks that need to be completed but also the quality of work expected, deadlines, and any key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be used to measure success. Clear expectations provide a roadmap for employees and a benchmark for managers to assess performance.

Utilizing Productivity Tracking Tools

Various productivity tracking tools are available to help managers monitor their team’s progress and productivity. These tools can track time spent on tasks, monitor progress toward goals, and even analyze productivity patterns. While these tools can be helpful, it’s important to use them responsibly to respect privacy and avoid creating a surveillance culture.

Regular Performance Reviews and Feedback

Regular performance reviews are essential for tracking productivity and performance. These reviews should involve quantitative assessments (e.g., have goals been met?) and qualitative feedback (e.g., how well does the employee collaborate with the team?). Regular feedback sessions also allow employees to voice their concerns, discuss challenges, and receive guidance on improving. This two-way dialogue can lead to continuous improvement and increased productivity.


As work dynamics continue to evolve, so should your strategies for managing remote teams. It’s important to stay flexible and adapt to new trends and technologies. Regularly seek feedback from your team and make adjustments as needed. Remember, the goal is to manage and lead your team toward success in this new remote work landscape. With the right strategies and a willingness to adapt, you can effectively manage your remote team and build a thriving, productive work-from-home culture.

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