Remote Academy
8 min read

The Ultimate Guide to Managing Remote Teams Efficiently

Published on
April 25, 2024
Phoenix Baker
Product Manager
Lana Steiner
Product Designer
Drew Cano
Frontend Engineer
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Leadership is a lifetime goal. Yet, even the most remarkable leaders struggle sometimes, second-guess their decisions, and create confusion among team members. In addition to the everyday challenges of leadership, managers need to master remote managing teams efficiently.

Remote working became the norm after the pandemic of 2020. In the US alone, 71% of the country’s workforce started to work from home and 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022, so remote is here to stay. So how will leaders adapt, and what are the most common challenges of this sudden switch?

Most common challenges when managing remote teams

Remote teams lack the right communication tools

Communication is key to managing remote setups, especially when it comes to human interaction in large teams.It might be harder for some people to understand the brief and follow instructions, leading to delays and frustrations. Avoid that by encouraging team members to communicate regularly. You can determine the frequency according to the complexity of the project and the number of teammates.

💡 Pro Tip: There’s a tool that allows you to save time on daily meetings by sending daily follow-up questions at predefined times. Learn more here →

You should also consider your staff type of contract. The responsiveness of freelancers will be different from full-time staff members, for instance. Setting up timeframes to catch up with your freelancer will help you to keep communication flowing.

Everyone in your team should be able to easily reach you. Either by email, phone, chat, or any other communication tool. The most frequent communication tools that are effective for small and medium teams are Slack, Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, Google Chat, Gmail, and Microsoft Teams.

Most businesses use Slack as their preferred way of communication. In fact, more than 10 million people around the world use Slack every day. They offer many apps to encourage responses, collaborative work channels, and efficiency.

There are no clear roles or personal ownership

Lack of ownership usually drives remote teams to lack results. Managing remote teams also means setting clear roles and giving team members autonomy to take ownership of their ideas and decisions.If an employee is taking too long on a particular task, take a minute to examine how you approach team meetings and communication. For example, are you meeting too often, reducing productive time? Or are you meeting too little leaving room for confusion?

If there's still confusion after setting clear goals and automating unnecessary meetings, consider using a project management tool. Asana, ClickUp, Trello, and Notion are some of the most popular project management tools. Although they're all different, you will need to choose the one that best adapts to your business, team, and workflow.

  • Best for beginners: Trello
  • Best for large teams: Asana
  • Best for complex projects: Clickup
  • Best for designers and creatives: Notion

Also, trust your staff. Micromanaging is one of the most common reasons why employees quit. Establish clear expectations and set regular catch-up meetings to avoid micromanaging.

People lack human contact when working remotely

61% of Americans prefer to work from home. But what about the remaining 49%? There are many reasons why workers may choose to work from an office, including:

  • Comfortable working environments
  • Free food and snacks
  • Relaxing commuting time
  • Keeping a work-life balance
  • Relationship building
  • Human interaction

Particularly in the latter one, some people prefer that extra encouragement and recognition. There is no small talk or happy hours in a remote setup, and life can become pretty repetitive.

If you feel some of your teammates are experiencing this, here’s what you can do to manage remote teams efficiently:

Have a face-to-face meeting regularly

You’re getting to know your team better and planning and executing faster as the entire team is only a few meters away from the other.

Ask them how they are

In high-level environments, it’s common to follow KIPs blindly and forget about the human aspect. Have daily mental health check-ins with the team.

You can actually focus on productivity and look after your team’s mental health with Daily Bot. Have a "Folks, how are you all feeling?” sent to your team on a regularly. Start now →

There is no work-life balance

We mentioned above that one of the main reasons people choose to work from an office in the USA is because there’s no work-life balance and people end up working twice as much as there’s nothing separating work from personal life.

There’s no doubt this has increased the productivity of many companies, especially startups, but this also brought consequences, like the great resignation. In 2022 alone, around 4.5 million Americans have quit their job. And the curious part is that unemployment rates are at a record low.

How can we explain this phenomenon? People are burned-out and can get a new job easier than ever!

The great resignation has made many companies reconsider their perks and work ethics and worked towards a healthy work-life balance during WFM.

A good way to increase productivity during the regular 9-to-5 is by using techniques like Pomodoro. At DailyBot we found a clever way to implement Pomodoro techniques successfully into the work culture.

People don’t feel like part of the team

Each remote employee comes from different background and has different skills and motivations. A good leader should be able to identify strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, many managers end up improvising team strengthening activities like happy hours, 1:1, and pizza parties that end up doing little to nothing to the team’s cohesiveness.What can you do instead?

Celebrate achievements 🎉

Good managers don't celebrate achievements just to get that item out of the way. Instead, they give genuine recognitions, more like a team effort made possible thanks to an individual effort. Even though there won’t be any in-person kudos, you can surely celebrate victories by sending notes, kudos, GIFs or verbally recognizing them during the company meetings.

There’s no proper follow-up and feedback

Tracking and monitoring your team process is vital for your company's success. Things can get really messy really quickly if there's no clear direction and constant feedback.

Having regular meetings is a good place to start. Most remote companies have at least a weekly management meeting. Decide on the frequency based on your main company's KPIs. Here are some tips for approaching weekly or daily meetings efficiently:

  • Follow up on their main priorities. Everyone should be clear on priorities and the KPIs they’re focusing on.
  • Set daily and weekly tasks. (Make sure everyone is aligned).
  • Identify blockers. Ideally fix the blocker during the call or show them how to remove the blocker.
  • Encourage discussion. Discuss improvement plans or encourage them to come up with ideas and establish ownership.
  • Make sure they’re ready for the meetings. This means all the team members are on top of their tasks. Remember, micromanagement is not your friend.

The only way to make progress is to measure and collect data. There's no way to make thoughtful decisions without historical data and results.

Did you know you can automate this process and save time with DailyBot? See easily what's going on. Start today →

How can DailyBot help with managing remote teams efficiently?

The truth is that remote work is most likely here to stay. So how can your company adapt? Automation to increase the work quality of your team! Automation is not dehumanizing, but instead gives people time to focus on what really matters!

How can you improve your workflow using DailyBot?

  • Track automatically what your team is up to. Run async and written updates, agile daily stand-ups, retrospectives, or periodic check-ins like 1:1s.
  • Track your team’s mood. Understand your team's motivation with mental health check-ins and simple anonymous mood surveys.
  • Kudos made fun! Recognize the great teamwork. Give kudos and celebrate actions that contribute to better team culture.
  • Shortcuts your team will love. Create custom commands for DailyBot and keep all your essential operations one shortcut away.

You can integrate DailyBot to Stack, Teams, Google Chat, Discord, and soon Telegram!

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