Recent years have brought many companies into the new world of fully remote work, and for many it has been a boon. However, large-scale change to the very way we operate is not without challenge, as well. The challenges and successes of leading remote teams vary depending on the culture and the remote work approach that fits each that company’s goals.

There is no one-size fits all. Instead, it’s best to utilize a variety of approaches when it comes to managing remote employees. Instead of focusing on strict procedures, we encourage individuals to thrive in their own way and contribute to the team.

Set Clear Guidelines

Having clear expectations is key to help the team stay on the same page. While each individual may have their own responsibilities, the entire team should have the same guidelines.

Before anyone joins our team, they should agree to the core values and buy in to group procedures and expectations. This helps establish a baseline for how you operate. Strong values make it possible for people to make decisions that benefit your company, even without a manager over their shoulder.

Values help our remote workers prioritize their work and manage their own projects. They also help managers plan when to get involved and when to leave.

Hire people that know how to self-manage

It’s hard to lead a remote team when someone doesn’t meet the expectations of the company and its values.

Having the right people on board is a critical step in managing a remote team. It can help avoid making poor decisions and undermining the team’s success.

Conventional hiring techniques don’t work for remote-first teams. When people come from different countries and work experience, managers might not recognize their previous companies.

Instead of focusing on the job title, take a look at the traits that are most important to you and your organization, and find ways to asses who the candidate truly is and what they bring. you can isolate key characteristics, like positive attitude, dedication, independent problem solving, and more.

However, ultimately, a candidates success will likely come down to their passion for your mission and approach. Instead of just asking about an assignment, ask about their desire to work for your company, and how your role will bring out their natural skills.

Through our hiring process, we were able to find the best candidates. They were able to share their passion for The Remote Company and show off their skills in a natural way.

Capitalize on Automated Tools

Over the years, the use of remote work technology has exploded. There are tools that allow you to manage remote team members, track employee goals, and more.

A variety of strong core apps that organize your workflow and communication will allow your team to collaborate. Being able to communicate and manage these tasks remotely and automatically is very important.

GitHub is one example that allows companies to manage projects and keep everyone on track. It eliminates the need for frequent check-ins and meetings.

The same goes for tools that allow you to communicate and collaborate. They allow managers time to to focus on the bigger picture and anticipate roadblocks in the workflow.

Ensure Clear Standards for Communication

Communication is a vital part of team management, especially when it comes to managing remote teams. All decisions must be made online.

Employees must be willing and comfortable to share all their thoughts and actions in writing. This is also a critical step in making remote communication work seamlessly.

For example, developers might use Slack to document all of the bugs and how they were fixed. This method helps minimize technical language and makes communication more human-friendly.

Instead of having to check messages every time someone writes a message, encourage your team to communicate asynchronously. This method allows them to work uninterrupted.

When planning a meeting for a global team, make sure that it’s announced in advance so that everyone knows about it.

Keep a Close Eye on Productivity — Without Micromanaging

While remote work requires the individual to manage their own projects, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t provide a set of rules and procedures that employees can share in common. Strong procedures should tracks everyone’s progress, without telling them how or when they must do their jobs.

The best way to get the most out of each team member is to give them a goal and allow them to work in their own style. Not forcing them to follow a set of rigid rules makes them feel valued.

Trusting remote employees is the best way to manage them. Give them the assignments and hold them accountable.