Working Remotely: The A-Z on Managing a Remote Team

The sudden shift to working remotely may have been tricky for a lot of workers and two years later, some people are still working on navigating its waters. But if there is anything this pandemic has made us realize–it’s that there is a capacity to work even if you’re not on the same floor, building, city, or even country! And those KPIs and business goals can still be achieved and worked on even as a remote team.

Nonetheless, with this awesome work setup starting to look like the norm, a lot of us, remote employees and working in remote management, still need a few pointers and reminders here and there, which is why we got them here for you! So, read up and perhaps, you can apply some of these to your next Zoom meeting (for the nth time!).

In this remote working guide

Working Remotely Your Guide to Managing a Remote Team

Empathy in the remote workforce

To fully understand and get a grasp of working remotely and managing a remote team, we need to set some groundwork and foundations first.

The remote workforce does not just consist of fresh graduates or first-time job seekers whose first hand experience in the workforce was the remote setup. This includes the existing workforce who had to shift into a remote setup and or had to find new jobs because of the sudden shift to working remotely.

The point here is, almost everyone was new to this, and everyone at the start was wading the waters and trying to figure out what worked for them when managing a remote team and overall being a remote employee.

And the one thing that you need to accept to fully thrive in working remotely especially in managing a remote team is that it’s not easy.

Maria Santoro of bizjournal.com shares with us the importance of empathy when managing a remote team.

Empathy is needed now more than ever, including sharing how you are doing as well. Share a slice of your life from your neck of the woods. People tend to meet you where you are when you’re willing to put down your guard. Bringing the human back to work feeds into everything — career, home, even parenting.”

Working remotely is tough, it can be tough on a person emotionally, physically, and even financially even more so handling a team of workers you can’t see in person. This is why it’s a great practice to build rapport, express empathy, and connect more deeply even outside of work-related matters. This way, you can open communication channels and get more engagement with your team albeit remotely.



To fully understand and get a grasp of working remotely and managing a remote team, we need to set some groundwork and foundations first. The remote workforce does not just consist of fresh graduates or first-time job seekers whose first hand experience in the workforce was the remote setup. This includes the existing workforce who had to shift into a remote setup and or had to find new jobs because of the sudden shift to working remotely. The point here is, almost everyone was new to this, and everyone at the start was wading the waters and trying to figure out what worked for them when managing a remote team and overall being a remote employee. And the one thing that you need to accept to fully thrive in working remotely especially in managing a remote team is that it’s not easy. Maria Santoro of bizjournal.com shares with us the importance of empathy when managing a remote team. “Empathy is needed now more than ever, including sharing how you are doing as well. Share a slice of your life from your neck of the woods. People tend to meet you where you are when you're willing to put down your guard. Bringing the human back to work feeds into everything — career, home, even parenting.” Working remotely is tough, it can be tough on a person emotionally, physically, and even financially even more so handling a team of workers you can’t see in person. This is why it’s a great practice to build rapport, express empathy, and connect more deeply even outside of work-related matters. This way, you can open communication channels and get more engagement with your team albeit remotely.
Source: Medium (Krish Chopra, CEO of NPHub).

The ironic thing here though is that technology like video conferencing has really made working remotely possible; however, in a way, it also disconnects us on some level with our peers which is why there is a need to build more meaningful relationships even outside of your regular work hours. So, aside from catching up on work, or just talking about your projects in general, open up to your team. Make them feel that they are welcome to air their thoughts and ideas whether it is about work or their personal struggles at home, most importantly, with working remotely.

At the same time, empathy is not only for managing remote employees, it’s also there to help you stay in tune with yourself. Keeping you aware of your own capacities and limitations and finding effective and productive ways to cope with them.

Keeping up with the productivity and engagement

With empathy thrown in the fold, it doesn’t mean that work can not be done anymore. We all know and understand that we need to keep the ball rolling, and as much as we can cultivate empathy in the remote workforce, there’s still work to be done.

So how does one who is working remotely and managing remote employees keep up with productivity and engagement?

Technology is yet again one of our strong weapons in combating stagnation and loss of productivity. Here are some great productivity apps to help you in managing a remote team.

Notion

Notion has really earned its spot in the productivity game. This very creative productivity platform has made it possible for anyone, especially when working remotely to create their own platform and productivity dashboard of sorts, to be able to keep track of their work, progress, news, and essentially anything and everything.

The great part about this is its shared function, you can create a shared Notion with your team and have anyone chip in and enhance your Notion workspace. Even integrate other possible exciting productivity applications into your shared notion workspace along with communication platforms!

Zoom

If there is one application that has become synonymous with working remotely it has to be Zoom. The past two years have been full of zoom calls and conferences that has become almost everyone’s computer or mobile device staple. This application not just allows you to meet with people virtually but as well as to conduct conferences with its breakout room function and host up to a hundred attendees in a single zoom call!

This teleconferencing application has been used by both the business and education sectors in setting up virtual workspaces for people to engage and just work remotely.

According to CNBC’s Jordan Novet, “Zoom is known for its reliability, avoiding long outages that discourage repeated use, and it doesn’t have the latency that makes some services painful for extended conversations.” No wonder they’ve coined it “the darling of remote workers”.

Trello

Sometimes when working in a remote team you just want a no frills platform that helps you manage your team’s work and monitor everyone’s progress all in a shared digital workspace. Trello is essentially that.

It’s UI consists of cards wherein you can put in the deliverables per person on your team and mark its current progress or status. You can also leave comments on each card, giving you the means to communicate with each other in your remote team.

What’s also awesome is that Trello is also aware of the hiccups and learning curves in managing a remote team or working remotely, which is why they also have a very useful blog that has awesome tips and write-ups on how to survive remote work. Talk about knowing your audience!

tl;dv

Teleconferencing has become the norm in setting up meetings, even if you’re in the same town or neighborhood. However, one of the hardest things when going on a call is keeping up or writing down the minutes of your meeting. Unlike in the olden days when people used to sit in the same room to have a meeting, it was easier to take notes and ask people to repeat a point. But online, interrupting in the middle of a meeting just to repeat a point seems a little too awkward.

tl;dv, however, makes things a lot easier by creating a recording of your call and producing a transcription with timestamps so that it would be easy and more convenient for everyone on your team to go back and take note of important matters or just relisten to the time your voice cracked.

Slack

Instant messaging applications aren’t always ideal when working remotely. Yes it is instant, but it’s not also organized. Communication is key in remote workforce management and you need a communication platform where you can organize your threads, channels, and messages altogether.

Slack is a great communication platform for the remote workforce that allows you to not only communicate clearly but also provide a platform for transparency in the workplace by providing a highly customizable platform that will fit your team’s needs. Organize everyone on your team into channels, have people reply to threads directly, create restricted channels for specific team members only, and send direct messages all in one organized platform.

Nurture yourself and your remote team

Aside from utilizing the great technology to support our remote team and remote employees. We also need to do some extra TLC on ourselves and our remote team. The past 2 years have opened our eyes to the need to nurture ourselves holistically.

Some great and accessible material you can use to nurture yourself are podcasts that you can listen to while working! Here are our top picks:

Culture Happens

Hosted by Hubspot co-founder, Darmesh Sha, This podcast explores the future of work, especially now with the looming uncertainty brought about by the pandemic. This podcast is great if you’re stuck with remote management and need some extra tips on working remotely.

The MINDset game

This podcast is great for remote workforce management, understanding how we can use our brain and other untouched cognitive practices to bring the best out of our team and even ourselves. The podcast is hosted by Verad Kogan, a mindset and career coach who brings on a plethora of leaders in the fields of coaching, mindfulness, and many more.

WorkLife with Adam Grant

Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist and a well-known TEDTalk speaker who talks about how to get a better working life, how to cope with frustrations at work and how to build stronger motivation in order to thrive in this modern working world. In his podcast, Grant gives us more of his great talks with his amazing guests on this podcast.

Final thoughts of remote team management

Working remotely may sound hard with all these needed extras just to keep up and cope, but according to homejobshub.com, 74% of professionals said yes when asked “Will remote work become the new normal?”

That percentage alone speaks volumes, and we might be looking or even experiencing first hand what the future of the workforce will be in the next few years. So as much as we may seek out the normal of being able to work right beside your coworkers or walking a few steps, or taking the elevator up to your boss’ office, this just might be an archaic reality.

Working remotely is today’s new norm, and we need to continuously find ways to make it accessible and manageable for us and other employees. So sit down wherever you are and start looking into the tips and resources we’ve shared with you today because it looks like this will be how things are from here on out.

But don’t worry, at the end of the day, we’re all in this together and we must all work together to not just make our workspaces viable for working remotely, but to make working remotely viable for everyone.