Organizational Structure

Everything You Need to Know to Build and Manage a Remote Team

By The Org

Last updated: Feb 15, 2023

    Table of contents

An increase in remote work means managers have to adapt to working with geographically dispersed teams. Our guide walks you through how to hire top talent remotely and manage remote teams from afar.

Dessidre Fleming via Unsplash
Dessidre Fleming via Unsplash

What You Need to Know to Build and Manage a Remote Team

More companies than ever are hiring remote workers, and new kinds of flexible work arrangements continue to emerge.

There are good reasons for that, too. Remote work offers a number of benefits for employers and employees alike — it can drastically reduce the costs of running a business, make your employer brand more competitive, and boost employees’ general wellbeing so they bring their best selves to work everyday.

However, building and managing remote teams also comes with a few potential obstacles. But with the right approach, you can overcome those challenges and get the most out of your remote teams. Here’s how.

How to Build a Remote Team

1. Maximize The Advantages of Remote Hiring.

Recruiting remotely can sound intimidating to even the most seasoned hiring managers. The reality is that recruiting from distances near and far always comes with a few hiccups, and the way candidates respond and problem solve along the way can provide valuable intel about how they operate under pressure and how they’ll mesh with your team.

But to make sure your remote hiring process goes smoothly enough to attract and convert top talent, you need to start with a solid job description. A skills first approach helps you scope out the robust responsibilities for the role so you can reverse engineer an appropriate job title, and ultimately attract best fit candidates to your opportunity.

Remote interview processes aren’t as daunting as they were in the spring of 2020. Video calls are second nature to most of us now, so expect your candidates to feel just as comfortable — if not more — with a Zoom interview as a face-to-face one. Virtual interviews can also make it logistically easier to include a range of stakeholders in your hiring process, but this can also be done asynchronously by recording interviews or “test” assignment presentations (with permission) to share with your team for feedback.

How to Find (and Hire) the Right Candidate for a Job

2. Optimize Remote Onboarding with Your Org Chart.

The candidate experience doesn’t end once your brand new employee signs on the dotted line. You still have to onboard them, and the more efficient and transparent onboarding phase is, the sooner they’ll be operating at full capacity.

Don’t leave it up to chance, either. Most remote workers find it harder to learn the ropes of a new job, and many get discouraged at the lack of oversight from their employer. But sharing your company’s org chart gives them a northstar to refer to when they get stuck and don’t know who to ask for help.

By making sure that your fresh hires are getting the warm welcome and training they need, you can give yourself happier, more productive workers from the start. For a more comprehensive look at how to optimize the hiring and onboarding process, see here:

How to Hire and Onboard Remote Teams

How to Manage a Remote Team

1. Master Asynchronous Communication.

One of the hardest aspects of managing a remote team is maintaining strong communication. Virtual communication just isn’t as easy as it would be in a traditional work environment. Plus, everyone has different preferences when it comes to building work relationships. When employees are separated by vast distances, it may be hard for them to truly connect with their colleagues — not the best conditions to build a great remote culture.

In order to keep your farflung team on the same page, you’ll need to master asynchronous communication — as well as the best practices and rules of engagement that make sense for your org’s structure and culture. Nailing asynchronous communication can make or break your remote team dynamic and operations, but a healthy remote culture still requires some “face-to-face” communication — even if it’s virtual.

Schedule regular calls with your team, and 1:1 sessions with your direct reports. Provide opportunities for team members to get to know each other on a more personal level. Above all, develop a remote culture where effective communication can thrive for work and play.

To learn more about how to improve remote team communication, give this post a read:

Tips for Better Communication with Remote Teams

2. Set a Gold Standard for Knowledge Management.

There’s no shortage of software tools to help remote teams collaborate smoothly — knowledge management tools, org chart software, project management software, and virtual workspaces and whiteboards, to name just a few. But you’ll find these tools don’t work in a vacuum — they tend to cause more confusion than clarity without clear standards and expectations for how they should be used across the organization.

Whether you’re trying to align all remote collaboration around company values, deliver on your OKRs, or simply make sure the right people have visibility into the right projects — set some standards for how employees are supposed to engage with them.

This might be one of the biggest secrets of successful cross-functional collaboration on remote teams. Plus, holding all teams to the same standards for knowledge management makes it easier to accurately scope out projects, set achievable deadlines, and spot a small spark before it becomes a full blown fire to put out.

The 9 Best Tools for Collaborating With Your Remote Teams

Add your company to The Org, for free.

Get in front of millions of visitors and job seekers.

  • Showcase your company culture to a vast community of professionals
  • Host your team on a free org chart to keep employees aligned
  • Post jobs on our free job platform for high growth startups

Learn more

3. Ask Your Team What Motivates Them. Then Deliver It.

Providing moral support is just as important for remote team leaders as it is for managers working in person — if not more important. The potential isolation and lack of supervision remote employees have to deal with can make it difficult for them to motivate themselves and stay productive.

Because there are fewer impromptu exchanges and run-ins with remote team members than there'd be in an office setting, remote managers can easily miss nonverbal cues that indicate employee wellbeing. It's important to check in with them about how they're doing to demonstrate that you care personally about them — not just their output.

There are plenty of creative ways to keep your remote team motivated, but it’s important to keep in mind that what motivates and encourages one person on your team might elicit an eye roll from another. So tap into your emotional intelligence, consider the individuals you’re trying to motivate, and don’t be afraid to ask your team what motivates them — that way you won't miss the mark.

One thing that tends to work for most employees is recognition for performing especially well. By acknowledging the strengths of top-performing team members, you can inspire their colleagues to increase their own efforts. Plus, everyone works harder when they know they’re going to get the credit they deserve. A little recognition goes a long way.

4. Lead By Example.

Hiring top talent, mastering remote working tools, and supporting your employees are all critical for building and managing a remote team. But none of it will be enough if you aren’t leading by example. “Do as I say, not as I do” won’t earn you any loyalty in the Age of Transparency. Effective remote collaboration starts at the top.

So make it a priority to practice what you preach. If you set standards for your employees, don’t make yourself an exception to the rule. Trust in company leadership is especially important for managing a remote team, and trust is built by investing time and reciprocity in your team.

When you walk the walk yourself, you can expect your employees to fall into step behind you.

Add your company to The Org, for free.

Get in front of millions of visitors and job seekers.

  • Showcase your company culture to a vast community of professionals
  • Host your team on a free org chart to keep employees aligned
  • Post jobs on our free job platform for high growth startups

Learn more

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