The Top 5 Best Practices For Managing Remote Teams in 2022 and Beyond

Working Remotely

These 5 tips for managing remote teams will help your company foster more engaged, productive, and loyal employees. See what’s on your to-do list now:

Managing remote teams in 2022 and beyond takes a unique combination of experience, flexibility, and the right technology.

While some remote companies have been crushing it for years, the pandemic and The Great Resignation created huge shifts for remote employees and employers alike.

Remote job seekers are now prioritizing value alignment more than ever. And many remote employees are leaving their roles for more competitive employee benefits packages

But how you manage your remote teams plays a huge role in their decision to leave or stay. 

So today’s tips will help your leaders foster happier, more engaged, and productive employees. After all, when your team is excited to show up each day, they’ll be more likely to stick around long-term.

Let’s go over five fundamentals that stand the test of time before highlighting the latest best practices.

5 Best Practices for Managing Remote Teams That Still Hold True in 2022

We shared five best practices for managing remote teams a few years back, and every one of those tips should still be in use today. So it’s essential to have these foundational pieces in place first:

1. Create a remote work policy. Your remote work policy should outline everything about how your company operates. This sets your company’s expectations for employees right from the start. 

Explaining even the smallest details ensures everyone adheres to the same standards and results in fewer surprises down the road.

2. Communicate regularly, the right way. Communication is especially important for remote companies. Breakdowns here often lead to missed deadlines, lost sales, and unhappy employees and customers. That’s why it’s crucial to improve remote work communication ASAP. 

3. Use one centralized project management tool. The best remote tools keep everything organized and on track for your team. They also provide the perfect place to communicate project details and share resources, which is why the right technology is a must-have for remote managers.

4. Always give kudos. People need to feel appreciated and valued at work. No matter who you hire, every employee brings unique skills and abilities to the table. So show your team they’re not disposable. Doling out kudos, recognition, and praise are all fantastic ways to prove you care and value each team member. 

Leaders often lose sight of this human element and focus solely on moving the needle. But that’s a big mistake. Employees can feel this, and when that happens, they’re more likely to go looking for other opportunities. Give recognition often, and you’ll see it goes a long way.

5. Have fun between work hours. It’s easy to forget about creating a fun, creative work environment when managing remote teams. But taking the time to do this helps unite cross-cultural employees scattered around the globe.

So carve out room in your busy schedule to build camaraderie. Host virtual team-building activities and happy hours. Send gifts to everyone (like a small desktop plant) and have them open them at the exact same time on camera. 

Do whatever you can to relieve stress and foster engagement during your team’s downtime. 

With those foundational pieces on your to-do list, we can move on to:

The Top 5 Tips for Managing Remote Teams in 2022 and Beyond

If there’s anything The Great Resignation taught us, it’s that people are willing to leave their jobs in droves if they’re unhappy or lack workplace flexibility.

So remote managers must not only recruit the best talent, but also help them be their most productive selves and boost job satisfaction. Fail to do this, and your remote company will get stuck in a never-ending (and costly!) hiring cycle.

Follow these five best practices for managing remote teams to get this right:

1. Set Realistic Standards and Expectations

Burnout was one of the most commonly-cited reasons employees left their jobs during and post-pandemic.

When employers turned on the remote work switch, employees who weren’t used to this work style adopted an “always-on” mindset. They’d clock in early morning hours and burn the midnight oil. This inevitably led to the “six-month WFH burnout slump” and, eventually, higher turnover rates.

Remote employees are most productive and less stressed when leaders set realistic expectations and deadlines. So managers must learn the signs of burnout in their employees and push teams to truly disconnect from work.

Take a step back to see if your deadlines and expectations are forcing people to work in overdrive. 

Missed deadlines and work turning up after hours could be signs that you’re running the ship a little too tight. Try to adjust your time management strategies before your team burns out and jumps ship.

2. Assign Specific Tasks to Specific Team Members

Anytime a manager or leader adds a new task to your company’s project manager, it should be assigned to a specific person or team. It should also have an ideal or target deadline.

If you don’t add these key details, you’re literally asking people to read your mind, which we know isn’t possible.

Your employees need to know what’s on their plates ahead of time, so they can schedule blocks of deep focus to complete their parts.

If someone doesn’t see their name assigned to a new project or task, they’ll move on to something else and miss it. This is how important jobs slip through the cracks, leading to scrambled, stressed employees and unhappy customers or clients.

But when you include details like who’s responsible for what and when it’s due, you remove the confusing guesswork. Then you can keep people accountable and on track. And you’ll know who to turn to if something comes up. 

3. Focus on Deliverables, Not Time

Another vital ingredient for successful remote managers is focusing on the right metrics.

Rather than worrying about how many hours your employees physically work, you should focus on their output or deliverables. 

Are they knocking out projects that delight your clients and customers? Are they doing so in a relatively timely manner?

If they’re hitting their deadlines, there’s no need to track their time or question how long it takes.

Of course, if you need to know the latter for planning purposes and deadline adjustments, that makes sense. But you don’t need to track how long people sit at their desks if the jobs are getting done.

Trust your people, give them the tools they need to succeed, and don’t micromanage them along the way. Let them shine.

Here’s a good workflow to prevent micromanaging remote teams:

  1. Figure out the deliverable milestones you want your team to reach.
  2. Set realistic deadlines for them to hit.
  3. Schedule regular check-ins to make sure they’re on track.

If the work isn’t getting done by the time you expected or your team seems swamped, you may need to reevaluate your initial milestones. If certain employees frequently miss deadlines, you may need to probe deeper to see what’s going on.

4. Always Use Asynchronous Communication

Just because you’re a remote company doesn’t mean you should expect to reach your team members 24/7.

If that’s the case, you’ll have to double their salary and pay them extra for those late-night and early-morning requests.

So a better approach is to show your remote employees that you value and respect their time by adopting an asynchronous communication style.

With asynchronous communication, employees are not expected to respond to messages immediately. Instead, they can reply when it’s best for them to do so.

This switch means remote teams don’t have to be glued to their communication tools. They can focus on getting into deep work without interruptions in their flow.

To make this work, you’ll need to give employees all the details they need to complete your request or respond with an informed answer. 

Spell out your communication expectations in your remote work policy, so your employees know when they’ll need to reply (within 24 hours? Before EOD?). 

Psst! Check out our guide on Asynchronous Communication Examples, Tools, and Workflows next!

5. Check-In Regularly and Provide Feedback

Leaders and managers need to regularly check in on their teams and provide relevant, helpful feedback.

While you shouldn’t virtually hover over their shoulders, your team members will start to feel underappreciated or forgotten if you go too long without touching base. 

This may be the catalyst that leads your employees to look for greener pastures with companies that recognize and value their hard work.

So hold one-on-one weekly check-ins. See how everyone is doing and touch base on deadlines, obstacles, and other topics of note.

Provide consistent feedback. Let your team members know where they’re excelling. Then give helpful suggestions about where and how they can improve other areas. Doing so will give your employees the confidence to finish projects on time and at the highest level.

This regular feedback will also help your remote teams feel more engaged with your company, making them less likely to wander off to a competitor.

Time To Add These Best Practices for Managing Remote Teams To Your To-Do List

Figure out a way to incorporate today’s 10 best practices for managing remote teams into your daily workflow, and you’ll score higher engagement, productivity, and loyalty from your employees.

When you become a great place to work, your remote company will have no trouble keeping great people and attracting even more top talent.

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