Blog Corporate Wellness Remote Team Management: Strategies, Tips, And Hacks To Building A Productive Remote Team

Remote Team Management: Strategies, Tips, And Hacks To Building A Productive Remote Team

Remote working options are one of the key constituents of the “new normal”— i.e. life in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses all over the world have adopted remote working structures to varying degrees, whether it is by allowing employees to work from home, through satellite offices, or in a hybrid model. 


However, the shift has been unanimous. Remote work options allow businesses to remain productive in the midst of sudden lockdowns and curfews, provide them with access to a global talent pool, and help them better retain workers in such a chaotic economy. 

Despite the numerous benefits of remote work, building effective team management is a challenge many business leaders face. While leading a team and engaging in team-building activities are definitely far easier in person, translating them to best practices for remote team management requires the use of certain tools, tips, and strategies. 

Here, we will take a look at the proven ways of building effective teams with a work-from-anywhere model and how this can help increase both productivity and output. However, we must first understand where remote working came from and how old the practice is. 



How Did Remote Working Evolve As A Practice? 

If you believed the pandemic gave rise to the culture of remote working, you’re in for a shock. The earliest shift to remote work arguably began with the adoption of work-from-home (WFH) policies in 1970s America, as soaring gasoline prices that were caused by the 1973 OPEC oil embargo ma1de commuting more expensive (5). The advent of the internet, personal laptops, cellphones, broadband connectivity, videoconferencing, and other telecommunications systems have all allowed remote work systems to thrive. 

As digital connectivity prospered in the following decades, employees started questioning whether a physical presence in the office was completely necessary. As the pandemic forced various options to be explored, many organizations emerged as the first responders to an altered working system. The benefits of remote working for both employees and employers are quite numerous: 

For Employees 

  • No commuting 
  • Reduced distraction
  • Better work-life balance
  • Increased work flexibility and creativity
  • Greater motivation
  • Decreased stress (9, 3

For Employers 

  • Increased productivity 
  • Access to the global talent pool 
  • Increased adaptability to change ( 8, 6)

The American Opportunity Survey 2022 by McKinsey and Company showed that not only is flexible work popular, with 80 million Americans engaging in it (when the survey results are extrapolated to a wider population), but many more would choose to work remotely for much of the week if they were given the choice.

  • 87% of workers would embrace remote working opportunities if allowed to a certain degree and spend an average of 3 days a week working from home. 
  • People offered full-time flexible work spent more time working remotely, on average, at 3.3 days a week. (6)
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Interestingly, over 19 million US workers quit their jobs in the months leading up to April 2021, which was attributed to a certain degree to the unavailability of remote working solutions. (2) Therefore, it is imperative for businesses to embrace this new culture and build effective team management skills that will help them prosper. So, how do you lead a productive, efficient, and happy virtual team? Let’s take a look. 

How Do You Manage A Team Remotely?

The biggest challenge that must be faced when creating or maintaining a remote team is communication. Effective communication is incredibly difficult with remote work, and breakdowns in communication inevitably contribute to several other issues that are common with remote teams. 

Why Breakdowns In Communication Happen? 

One reason is that digital communications often create a sense of vagueness. Regardless of how many reminder emails and follow-up questions you send, it is impossible to gauge the exact tonality of the communication, as it can be open to interpretation. Therefore, confusion can result and this can impact everything from productivity to morale. In addition, the delay between digital communications can also result in issues such as frustration and miscommunication.

Therefore, the very starting step of building effective teams should be the development of a communications schedule and channel that helps employees communicate effectively and reduces any scope of confusion. 

Read more: National Wellness Month: Motivate And Support Employees For Win-Win Productivity And Retention.

When Hiring, Understand The Skills And Talents Of Prospective Employees 

One of the best remote team management tips is for the hiring stage. When building effective teams, it is important to understand how potential employees will contribute to the remote work structure. While some are naturally adept at remote working, others may require a certain amount of hand-holding during the process, which can reduce overall productivity. It is important to look out for the following skills when recruiting potential remote team members; 

  1. Ability To Work Independently
    Every leader will inevitably need to delegate tasks to their teams and expect them to perform them without much intervention. A remote team member should have the ability to manage their time, meet necessary deadlines, and produce the best quality work from their end.
  2. Ability To Understand The Work That Is Delegated
    Even with virtual communications systems and videoconferencing, face-to-face problem-solving cannot be replaced. Therefore, it is important when hiring that the remote team member is a self-starter who understands the task at hand through the kind of training you provide. Prioritizing certain skills that establish their awareness of the work that may be delegated to them is crucial to ensure they get ahead.
  3. Ability To Communicate Effectively
    As most remote working teams are hugely dependent on communication via email, texts, WhatsApp, and other virtual channels, hiring someone with a willingness to participate in the process is essential for success.
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remote team management tips

Set Clear Expectations And Metrics For Gauging Productivity 

One of the best practices for remote team management is setting clear expectations of the task at hand. The ability to make your employees feel as if you trust them while ensuring they are most productive requires a delicate balance, which can be achieved through effective communication. When building effective teams, the following must be clarified: 

  • Whether employees need to log in or out using time-keeping software
  • Specify slots when remote team members must be available 
  • Create specific goals for each team and each member 

In addition, while it is important to regulate remote work schedules, it is equally crucial to develop metrics that help assess productivity more objectively. Whether this is through systematic targets or results achieved, developing reports that gauge overall outcomes can help incentivize remote workers to perform to their fullest potential. 

Establish Clear Channels Of Communication And Schedule Regular Catch-Ups 

For effective remote team management and successful team leadership, establishing clear channels of communication is essential. As the element of regular meet-ups is eliminated with remote working, such structures help foster a sense of togetherness and understanding. Such practices may include;

  • Regular virtual meetings with all teams 
  • Maintaining a schedule of regular communication such as end-of-day catch-ups, or weekly check-ins 
  • Promoting the use of effective language in communication 

Another remote team management tip is ensuring your schedules are adaptable across different time zones if your employees are located globally. This will help them remain on track with the established communications norms and stop them feeling overwhelmed. 

Utilize The Correct Software For Communication And Productivity 

In addition to establishing standards for communication, you should establish a set of standard apps, tools, file-sharing cloud services, and file-naming conventions for your teams. In this way, your teams can effectively communicate together. You must understand the needs of your organization and your employees before proceeding with your selection of particular softwares and tools. The required tools for effective team management can be placed into two broad categories: 

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Communication Tools

Rather than using generic messaging software, you should provide your team with communication software that is designed for remote workgroups. Such software often packages conferencing tools such as virtual whiteboards together with integrated voice and video chat and file-sharing capabilities.

Job-Specific Tools

You should ensure individual team members have the correct tools for their work. For example, access to image banks for graphic designers is a job-specific tool that may not be relevant for a computer or IT engineer. 

Engage In Virtual Team-Building Strategies 

One of the most significant challenges with remote infrastructure is the lack of social interaction that virtual working results in. It is important to balance this with effective team-building opportunities that may take the form of in-person meetings or associated well-being programs

Methods for building team culture can include: 

  • Spending some time each week catching up with employees on non-work-related matters such as how they spent their weekend, whether they watched a new show, or if they hung out with their families. 
  • Sending care packages occasionally to ensure they maintain a positive outlook toward their employer. This can include a wide assortment of goodies that are custom-made for your organization. 
  • Indulging in corporate well-being packages that provide mental health counseling options, diet plans, and access to nutritionists. 

Celebrate Victories 

Building effective teams requires equal validation on the successful completion of tasks. When your team completes a project, you should have a quick video session to congratulate them. However, taking it a step further by delivering a small gift to their homes, providing bonuses, or offering incentives can prove beneficial in retaining employees in the long term. 

What Is The Best Management Style For Remote Teams?

There are many ways remote teams can be managed effectively, but we will tell you the best style you can adopt. The following skills will transform a remote team manager into an exceptional leader; 

Be Participative But Not Intrusive

Allow remote workers to approach you with their queries, but avoid micromanaging each task as this can result in increased dissatisfaction among employees. 

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Establishing Trust Is Imperative

Trust is important with remote teams and ensuring you allow your employees to manage their time effectively is paramount. Putting them under pressure if they don’t meet a traditional 9-to-5 schedule can cause issues, and leaders must understand that this structure must be flexible due to other responsibilities that may occur simultaneously.

Being Inclusive Goes A Long Way

Whether with language or circumstances, an inclusive team manager is ultimately a more well-liked leader with the ability to inspire employees. A leader who understands where their employees are operating from or any challenges they face will allow them to step in whenever required. 

Managers Should Be Connected With Other Managers

This will help them effectively work across teams and realize company goals collectively. This can be done on a weekly basis so each team lead has a perfect understanding of how much progress has been made. 

Providing Constructive Feedback

For effective remote team management, providing effective and timely feedback is essential to facilitate growth. It can be all too easy to simply move on to the next thing without taking the time to stop, give a shoutout or a virtual high-five, or recognize what someone has done. At the same time, if there is a problem or a situation that requires constructive criticism or redirection, it is equally important to have that conversation as close to the moment and in as sensitive and direct manner as possible. (8)

remote team management tools

How Do You Build A Strong Remote Team?

A strong remote team is not only a great marker for current times, but it is also the pathway to increased productivity and success for any organization. However, creating a strong, effective remote team requires patience, constant updating of company values, and the ability to hire accurately. Some of the best practices for remote team management include: 

Encouraging Active Participation In The Workplace

Creating a taboo culture within a remote working operation can result in issues and miscommunication. According to Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson, creating a “psychologically safe space” means employees must have ‘‘a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish someone for speaking up.” (9)

Promoting Active Communication

Particularly relating to the challenges you are facing. Being collaborative and following certain communications protocols will show employees how to remain connected. You should outline the tools and software that should be used and when (such as Slack vs. email). Providing such guidelines will ensure smooth collaboration and help everyone remain in the loop.

See also
Employee Burnout: How Can HR Professionals Tackle The Workforce’s Biggest Concern? 

Showing Appreciation And Providing Constructive Feedback When It Is Needed

 This is particularly important whenever a remote team member achieves a milestone. Giving them a virtual high-five is an easy way of ensuring they remain committed and feel valued for their work. Praise and recognition go a long way in helping create effective teams that thrive on employee satisfaction. 

Allowing Them To Grow Professionally 

If a remote worker has demonstrated exponential growth in their time in the organization, it is important to provide them with necessary career opportunities and not restrict their growth. Additional avenues of growth such as stipends for continuing education and peer programs to connect with experienced managers can also be provided. 

Read more: 5 Stages Of Burnout: What It Is, How To Recognise It, And How To Recover.

What Skills Do Remote Leaders Need?

While this is largely dependent on the industry and organization at hand, some skills are required across the board for all remote leaders, which include: 

  1. Excellent communication skills 
  2. Future planning ability, i.e. planning projects effectively ahead of time 
  3. Flexibility 
  4. Technical knowledge of the field 
  5. Exceptional problem-solving skills 
  6. The ability to listen and work intuitively 
  7. Organizational skills 
  8. Trustworthiness 


What Are The Biggest Challenges With A Remote Team?

The biggest challenge with a remote team is establishing an effective communication channel among employees. Setting clear and specific expectations, establishing communication schedules, and investing in appropriate software are essential for the success of remote teams. 

How Do You Keep A Remote Team Happy?

An organization can keep a remote team happy by allowing greater participation, promoting flexible work hours, appreciating the efforts of employees, and providing growth opportunities. 

How Can You Make Remote Team Collaboration More Successful?

You can make remote team collaboration more successful by better communication, establishing transparency, outlining clear objectives and goals, supporting one another, and participating in virtual team-building activities. 

The Bottom Line

It can be said that organizations must be willing to adapt to the needs of their employees to ensure effective remote team management. While remote working has allowed access to the global talent pool, increased productivity, and better employee retention, it has posed certain challenges in terms of effective virtual team management. In this article, the various ways in which an organization can invest in building a productive, successful remote team have been outlined. 




This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Council Post: Seven Ways to Adapt Your Management Style for a Remote Team. (2020,
  2. How Companies Can Turn the Great Resignation into the Great Attraction (2021, 
  3. How to Create a Psychologically Safe Workplace – Recruiting (2023,
  4. Is Remote Work Effective: We Finally Have the Data (2022,
  5. Milestones: 1969–1976 – Office of the Historian (
  6. Nature of Virtual Teams: A Summary of Their Advantages and Disadvantages (2008,
  7. The Economic Perspective Of Remote Working Places (2020, 
  8. Working from Home and Productivity under the COVID-19 Pandemic: Using Survey Data of Four Manufacturing Firms (2021,
  9. Why Working from Home Will Stick (2021,