Tips for Managing Remote Workers

A successful and productive remote team is reliant on a strong manager to lead them. It is challenging to coordinate all your team members from their off-site locations, but despite this, it is still possible to conduct a productive atmosphere among them. AOE knows this better than anyone: having run a virtual firm for 17 years with highly efficient and happy team members, we know what works and what doesn’t. 

AOE President Kimberly Kayler shares these tips for managing remote workers. These practices will not only lead to increased productivity, but better communication between team members and a more connected, collaborative team dynamic.

  1. Check in with your team via phone, not just email. Make up a reason (any reason) to make this happen.

  2. Make sure you have a good feel for what your team members are doing. Weekly goals are a great practice, and you may consider daily check-ins as well. For example, our team sets new goals each week and we update one another on our progress.

  3. Get together with your whole team at least once a week — via video conference (preferred) or conference call. Find a reason for a quick catch-up. For example, Kayler requires her team members to share what they learned in work-sponsored professional development workshops so that the whole team can benefit. The topic can be anything: as long as you get the team together for 30 minutes or so, the response will be positive for team morale.

  4. Have a space for team members to share non-work stuff — family, hobbies, etc. One way would be to use a private Facebook group to share events or information with one another. For example, we have done virtual baby and wedding showers, celebrated birthdays, and even had a book club for a while!

  5. Training can be done, in most cases, in a virtual environment. All it takes is a little organization and creativity by the trainer. Use your network for help: find out how other companies are running their trainings.

  6. Make sure the team knows the company goal, the department goal, etc. Tie it into all your meetings, projects and trainings. Constantly connect these back to the overall strategy. 

These tips will get you started, but the best thing you can do is keep the line of communication between you and your team open. Make yourself available to them as best you can. Get creative in finding ways to stay connected to your team — during the work day and outside of it. Be flexible as team members adjust to the circumstances and work with each member individually as needed. These tips are a great place to start, but working remotely is an adjustment for everyone. Be patient with figuring out what works best for your team.