Successfully Managing a Remote Work Team

As we shift to a remote work environment, managers have to find new and more effective ways to ensure accountability, productivity and a sense of belonging. As managers it is up to you to create the conditions that allow your team to do their best work.

See Purdue System Remote Work Guidelines and Learning Resources

Top 9 Characteristics to Successfully Lead a Remote Team

When people describe their favorite manager, they talk about who that person is, not necessarily, what that person did. Here a few behavior traits to consider to successfully navigate your team in a remote work environment.

  1. Maintain Communication – Make a concerted effort to frequently share information, answer questions and facilitate employee interaction by using multiple communication methods.
  2. Set Clear Expectations – Establish team and individual expectations for performance and daily operations. Being clear with your team will keep everyone focused and working toward the same goals.
  3. Manage Performance – Create results-based goals with clear performance measurements. Schedule time to meet with your employees, assist with setting priorities and establishing timelines to meet deadlines.
  4. Lead with Empathy – Listen to your employee’s perspective/feedback/concerns without judgment. Be present, supportive and understanding.
  5. Be Flexible – Respond to changing conditions and individual circumstances. Be open to new ways of doing business or processes.
  6. Be a Coach – Empower people to solve their own problems, with your support. Enable your employees to do their best work and develop themselves. Give positive and constructive feedback.
  7. Motivate and Engage – Show appreciation through reward and recognition. Say thank you. Share positive stories. Create a sense of belonging. Seek input and ask for feedback.
  8. Manage Work/Life Balance – Take care of yourself. Designate your own scheduled work times and share with your team. Encourage employees to establish and adhere to work schedules. Refrain from constantly checking email on evenings and weekends.
  9. Build trust – Do what you say you will do when you say you’re going to do it. Model the behaviors you seek. Admit what you don’t know and be transparent. Remember, when there is a lack of information, false information fills the void.

Tips and Ideas

  1. Communicate health and wellness resources to employees
  2. Create a shared document where everyone can review and edit ie: To-Do lists
  3. Celebrate successes, no matter how small
  4. Assign different team members to lead weekly staff meetings, projects, etc.
  5. Form ‘buddy’ relationships by pairing up team members to act as a resource and support one another
  6. Reach out to individuals more often just to check-in
  7. Create informal and optional opportunities for the team to connect. Virtual coffee chats, water cooler talk, play games, or lunch and learn.
  8. Identify sources of online collaboration ie: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx
  9. Be flexible in considering non-traditional work hours