How to Manage a Remote Team: 12 Best Practices + Common Challenges Managers Face

How to Manage a Remote Team: 12 Best Practices + Common Challenges Managers Face

From large multinational corporations to small-scale web development agencies, many businesses worldwide have implemented work-from-home policies. Working remotely has become popular since it has many advantages, from increasing productivity to achieving a better work-life balance.

However, managing remote teams might be challenging due to such aspects as different time zones or cultures. Without the right management style and communication tools, leading remote teams may disrupt your business.

With this in mind, we will go over the 12 best practices on how to manage a remote team.

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1. Invest in Project Management Software
2. Give Constant Feedback
3. Improve Online Communication Skills
4. Set Clear Expectations
5. Set Boundaries With Remote Workers
6. Provide Learning Resources
7. Encourage Social Interactions
8. Set Up Recurring One-On-One Meetings
9. Host Meetings for Ongoing Projects
10. Do a Remote Team Building
11. Create a Trusting Environment
12. Prepare to Deal With Technical Issues

Now, let’s see the best practices to effectively manage remote employees.

1. Invest in Project Management Software

One way to ensure success in managing a remote team is by using the right project management tools. Such software allows each team member to organize, plan, and update their projects’ progress as well as communicate in a centralized place.

As a result, managers can monitor their virtual teams and collaborate with them easily.

Here are some tips on how to find the best collaboration tool for your team:

  • Identify your challenges – look for features that will resolve the major issues in your team and smoothen your workflow.
  • Research thoroughly – look online for reviews, blog posts, and social media testimonials on the tool to see how it actually works.
  • Test out the tool – leverage the free trial or money-back guarantee to see if the software is easy to use and has the features you need.
  • Collect feedback from your team – have your employees use the tool so that you can understand its pros and cons. Create a survey, set up a meeting, or interview your team members., ClickUp, and Wrike are popular project management tools that provide free versions and various integrations with other tools. If you use WordPress, consider installing project management plugins, such as WP Project Manager and SportsPress.

homepage of

2. Give Constant Feedback

When managing remote employees, providing continuous feedback is vital. It helps managers maintain each employee’s performance and ensure that expectations are aligned.

Unfortunately, many leaders struggle to give constructive feedback. According to a survey, 37% of managers are uncomfortable doing so, as they’re afraid of getting negative responses.

Here are some tips for delivering constructive feedback:

  • Schedule time – ensure to plan feedback sessions regularly where you can discuss the employee’s performance.
  • Add relevant context – talk straightforwardly and mention the specific situation where the feedback is relevant to prevent misunderstandings.
  • Be honest – sugarcoating doesn’t encourage remote employees to perform better, as they won’t learn what they need to improve.
  • Utilize video calls when necessary – some cases may require you to deliver your message through a video call rather than text, especially when the feedback is prone to be misunderstood.

3. Improve Online Communication Skills

Online communication skills are the foundation of a successful project for teams that work remotely.

Here are some common strategies to foster communication in a remote work environment:

  • Be transparent – use communication channels to ask questions or discuss any related topic instead of sending a direct message to one person. It will help other team members to know what’s going on and participate in the discussion.
  • Set a guideline – create rules on how to use the tools effectively for the remote team members.
  • Minimize synchronous communication – reduce the number of regular conference calls to prevent Zoom fatigue.

Conduct thorough research to find the best communication tool for your remote team. We recommend using Slack or its alternatives like Rocket.Chat.

The homepage of Rocket.Chat.

4. Set Clear Expectations

When managing remote teams, defining clear expectations will help you to maintain alignment, from availability and deadlines to target performance. For example, instead of simply setting a high priority for a project deadline, give the exact date for when you want it to be done. Doing so enables your team members to manage their priorities.

Moreover, choosing company values, such as integrity, learning, or customer obsession, is one of the best ways to set expectations and develop the company culture in a virtual environment. This will also help managers hire the right people with the same values.

5. Set Boundaries With Remote Workers

Creating boundaries might be challenging for some remote employees since they need to manage their personal and professional time in the same place, which can lead to burnout – a condition where they feel exhausted mentally and physically, caused by excessive and prolonged stress at work.

For that reason, setting boundaries is important to build a healthy remote work environment that can boost employees’ motivation.

To do so, consider implementing these tips:

  • Define boundaries with team members – discuss what makes them feel comfortable and tell your expectations, from work hours and a communication style to job responsibilities.
  • Be consistent with your boundaries – don’t make any exceptions to avoid confusion among the team members.
  • Prepare for boundary-breakers – find the best solution or response to the remote employee who crossed the boundaries.

6. Provide Learning Resources

Since many remote workers search for skill development opportunities at their workplace, providing them with learning resources, and perhaps an educational stipend will make your company more appealing.

Furthermore, ask your team members to share their own learning resources and recommend online courses.

Additionally, managers can create workshops about a certain topic or add resource links from YouTube. Moreover, make sure to add them to a place like Google Workspace, which is accessible from anywhere.

The homepage of Google Workspace.

Finally, managers can set up virtual training or mentoring programs, especially for new employees, to help them adjust to remote work.

7. Encourage Social Interactions

Being unable to interact face-to-face with team members when working remotely can bring emotional challenges. To minimize them, encourage team members to socialize more.

For instance, schedule a virtual coffee break or lunch, where employees can discuss non-work-related topics. It will help them to reduce stress and create a sense of belonging, establishing a strong relationship and emotional support.

Furthermore, having such a social interaction may improve your teams’ productivity and remove communication barriers.

8. Set Up Recurring One-On-One Meetings

One-on-one meetings help you develop a better relationship with remote team members. It also enables you to get direct reports by asking your team members whether they have any blockages or are overwhelmed by their workload.

Here are some ways to optimize your one-on-one meetings:

  • Find the right time – schedule the time that works for both participants, and determine how often the meeting should occur.
  • Prepare an agenda – use a well-constructed agenda to keep your topics in line and clear.
  • Be a good listener – focus on what your employees share and take notes of key points.
  • Create a follow-up – make an action list for you and your employees to discuss at the next meeting. Additionally, you may provide emotional support and guidance for your remote teams.

9. Host Meetings for Ongoing Projects

When managing remotely working employees, it can be difficult to supervise them due to different locations and time zones.

You may even need to organize extra check-ins until the team successfully adapts to a remote environment. For example, scheduling weekly team meetings might be a good option. It will help you maintain ongoing projects so they can be done well and on time.

To make your meetings run effectively, ensure to have reliable connectivity, minimize distractions, and engage with all your team members. Use ice-breakers to start the conversation and bring a lively atmosphere.

10. Do a Remote Team Building

Another way to manage remote teams is by creating team-building activities. It will help you bond with your entire team, resulting in better communication and collaboration. Although most team bonding activities are held outside the workplace, you can do them via online platforms.

To get started, create an interesting channel or group about certain topics, such as movies, food, or music. This way, employees from any department with the same interests can have fun with each other and build a good connection.

Alternatively, make a game for your remote teams. Some great ideas are playing one truth and one lie, scavenger hunt, and food round.

11. Create a Trusting Environment

Building trust with your employees is a crucial aspect of remote team management. It allows your teams to feel more confident and comfortable within their work, boosting their productivity.

For this reason, whenever giving employees a task, let them use their own strategy to do it. Doing so will let you empower employees by giving them clear goals.

Avoid micromanaging and over-checking since that can make remote workers feel not reliable.

To gain the employee’s trust, consider showing transparency and empathy as well as giving feedback. With these aspects, you’ll be able to create long-term success for the company.

12. Prepare to Deal With Technical Issues

Since managing remote teams relies on technology, you may face technical issues, such as viruses, unresponsive computers, and audio problems. Although these issues will hinder your team’s workflow and cause them stress, you can minimize the impact with good preparation.

To do so, follow these tips:

  • Offer training – ask IT specialists to train people who work remotely to be more aware of the security threats and provide basic knowledge to maintain their devices.
  • Create an IT support channel – provide a medium where everyone can ask related questions and get assistance to solve their issues.
  • Use a remote access tool – allow your IT team to securely resolve an issue from the user’s endpoints. Some popular software includes TeamViewer, RemotePC, and AnyDesk.

The Difficulties of Managing Remote Teams

While implementing various strategies that can improve the effectiveness of managing remote teams, it’s important to recognize that this type of work environment presents its own set of challenges.

  • Miscommunication. One of the biggest challenges in managing remote teams is miscommunication. Without any face-to-face interactions, employees working remotely might not fully understand each other.
  • Cultural Differences. Since your team members might live in different countries or continents, you’ll need to learn their cultural backgrounds to understand their workflows, communication styles, and points of view. Doing so will help you avoid misunderstandings, especially when it comes to giving feedback or organizing remote team buildings.
  • Social Isolation. While remote working can save employees time from commuting, it can make them feel isolated. In fact, 50% of remote workers feel lonely at least once a week. That’s because most remote workers don’t participate in traditional office activities like eating lunch with another team member. This can negatively impact their motivation and productivity.
  • Lack of Cohesion. In a remote environment, it might be challenging to rally employees to work together toward the same goal. This is because they have fewer opportunities to bond and connect on a personal level, making it difficult to make your team feel united.
  • Time Zone Differences. If you manage a global team, different time zones will affect your members’ communication. For example, scheduling video meetings can be hard since a remote manager needs to find a convenient time for all team members so they don’t have to sacrifice their off hours. As such, you will need to learn how to communicate asynchronously to pass information and discuss ideas.
  • Home Distractions. Around 47% of remote employees indicate managing at-home distractions as the biggest challenge of working remotely. Common examples include playing with your smartphone, interacting with people at home, and taking care of your pets. If remote employees can’t manage their priorities, these distractions can lower their productivity.


While remote work offers various benefits for your company and employees, it might be challenging to manage remote teams. Some common issues include miscommunication, social isolation, and home distractions, which require much effort and time to solve.

Thus, we’ve shared the 12 best practices for effectively managing remote teams. Here’s the summary:

  1. Choose the right project management tool.
  2. Constantly provide feedback.
  3. Enhance online communication.
  4. Set clear expectations.
  5. Manage boundaries with remote teams.
  6. Offer learning opportunities.
  7. Encourage social interactions.
  8. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings.
  9. Arrange virtual meetings for ongoing projects.
  10. Initiate virtual team building.
  11. Build a trusting environment.
  12. Prepare for technical issues.

We hope this article has helped you understand how to manage remote workers effectively. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comment section below.

The author

Sopha M.

Dinda is a WordPress and digital marketing enthusiast. She loves to share her knowledge with others so that they can be successful in their online endeavors. During her free time, she enjoys watching movies and exploring historical places.