Whether you are managing an in-office team from afar or overseeing and entirely remote team, managing from a distance is a big challenge.
You won’t be able to see what your team is doing on a day to day basis, but there are many ways to establish trust and create a solid work ethic amongst your team, whether you’re in the office or not. Let’s see what these tops business leaders have to say about managing from afar.
Darren Litt, Chairman & Co-Founder MarketerHire
1. Trust Your Team
If you are working remotely, it’s important to keep your team's end goal in mind and not focus too much on the details along the way. If you’ve hired a team that you trust, there’s no reason that they won’t figure out a way to get tasks done. Keep expectations clear, and don’t micromanage!
Joe Thomas, Founder Loom
2. Combine Tools
The best way to manage teams from afar is by combining different tools — both new and old. For example, we use Zoom for real-time communication, Slack for asynchronous communication and email for weekly updates. Each solution has its own benefits, so the key is mixing and matching and not concentrating on any one.
Roy Ferman, Founder & CEO Seek Capital
Use administrative tools like Slack to keep track of daily tasks and questions. It’s much easier to send a quick slack message than call someone and wait for an answer.
It’s also a great way to customize your communication and make it fun. Using appropriate emojis and gifs can actually streamline communication and create a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere.
Dylan Fox, Founder & CEO Assembly AI
4. A Variety of Tools
It has never been easier to manage a team remotely than it is today. With technology offering a plethora of tools and project management resources, as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, you can lead your team from just about anywhere on the planet.
Set up Standard Operating Procedures, so that everyone can refer to them when they have questions or need a reference — even if it is 2 a.m. Additionally, make sure that there’s always someone to answer emergency questions during every time zone that comes into play for your employees.
Benjamin Smith Founder Let's Disco
5. Bi-Weekly Meetings
Set weekly meetings, this is a must! As useful as email, slack and texting are to communicate, nothing can replace a face to face meeting with your team.
Even if it is over zoom, it’s essential to give both yourself and your team a voice every week to voice concerns, send praise or updates with everyone in the company.
Brittany Dolin, Co-Founder Pocketbook Agency
6. Be Transparent
Be transparent about your expectations for your team. One of the biggest challenges with remote work is a lack of understanding as to how much or how long to work for. It will be easier to manage if your employees have a designated time to stop every day. This creates trust that your company understands that its employees' time is still their own.
Annabel Love Co founder & COO Nori
7. Be Flexible
If most of your company is still remote, you’ll have to come to terms with the fact that there are distractions at home. It’s reasonable to expect focus and engagement from employees during work hours, but we also have to be flexible to possible changes in schedule around home repairs, childcare, and any unexpected changes to routine.
Shaun Price Head of Customer Acquisition MitoQ
8. Short Check-ins
Simple, short check-ins are key when managing projects from afar. A long, drawn-out email will likely go unanswered, but a short question or check-in will likely get you some info about the status of the project.
It also shows that you aren’t asking them to take time out of their actual work to respond to your email, you’re just seeing where things are at.
Bill Glaser, Founder Outstanding Foods
9. Google Calendar
Make obsessive use of google calendar! This is a great place to store all your appointments and schedule video calls with your team.
It’s a nightmare to have all your video meetings and calendar dates in separate places, consolidate them all so you can share them with your team and everyone stays on the same page.
Chris Gadek VP, Growth AdQuick
10. Don’t Saturate Inboxes
You want to make sure you’re keeping track of your team, but don’t saturate their inbox and slack channel with constant messages. You’ll come off as micromanaging and that you don’t trust your team to get their work done.
Let them finish within the time frame given, and manage any hiccups along the way as needed. If your team feels like they can reach out to you, you’ll likely know about any issues before you need to ask.
Aidan Cole Co-Founder TatBrow
11. Video and Audio Meets
Video and audio meetings continue to be an important part of remote work. While it’s important to break things up and not saturate your team (and yourself) with meetings all day, some things are easier to convey just by talking to someone rather than emailing.
Emails can feel impersonal, and sometimes can be interpreted incorrectly resulting in confusion on both sides. When you’re working in fast-paced environments, a quick meeting can resolve issues quickly.
Eric Anderson, CEO Spaced Adventures
12. Keep Employees Safety in Mind
Be as flexible as possible. In many ways, remote work can improve efficiency. It might not be ideal as far as what we’re used to, but being open to these changes is much better than fighting them. Keep in mind that we are also trying to keep employees safe and comfortable.
Ben Thompson, CEO Hardwood Bargains
13. Get Feedback
Offer your team the opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions on management, especially if it’s a remote situation. You’ll only know how things look on your end so listening to your team is essential to having a well rounded perspective on how to manage and improve on your management.
Omid Semino, CEO Diamond Mansion
14. Create Checklists
Creating spreadsheets to check items off is a great way to track your team's progress in real time. It’s a simple, effective way to keep yourself in the loop without being overly communicative and ultimately slowing work down.
Google suite has a few different options for setting something up like this. You could use sheets, forms or live documents to create checklists.
Jeff S. Goodwin, Vice President of Direct to Consumer and Performance Marketing Orgain
15. Be Clear and Detailed About Changes
We are all at the mercy of safety for the entire population, so when big changes happen you’ll need to be as quick and clear with the details as possible. For example if you are trying to return to the office, don’t wait to share that news.
Get as much information from your team as possible and inform them immediately of your decision. The same goes for offices turning to a remote format.
Bing Howenstein, Founder all33
16. Positive Reinforcement
Many of us don’t have the same in person validation that we had at work before. Make sure that when something goes right, everyone knows it! Positive reinforcement is an essential tool to keeping your operations running smoothly no matter where you or your team are.
Raul Porto, Owner and President Porto’s Bakery
17. Be Available to Your Team
No matter how busy you are, you need to make sure that your team feels like you are approachable and available. If not, issues can go unsolved and balloon into much bigger problems than they were before. Be open and encourage communication as much as possible.
Nik Sharma, CEO Sharma Brands
18. Don’t Be a Pushover
Be patient with your team. Each person at your company is an individual, and faces individual challenges in their lives. Be as understanding as you can to each individual while still enforcing company wide policies.
If employees need slightly more flexible schedules, that should be something that’s easy to accommodate. However, don’t let your team take advantage of a remote situation, there should still be clear expectations as to what needs to get done and when.