Navigating Remote Work: Expert Tips for Managing Remote Teams Effectively

Updated on October 28, 2023 · Published on
navigating remote work expert tips for managing remote teams effectively

Piktochart has been a remote first organization since 2021 and we have never looked back. Today, we’re fully remote, after having let go off our office in Penang. We may be biased, but we think it’s the way to move forward in the world today!

Lots of companies are thinking about how to manage remote teams or a hybrid work arrangement, and we are penning our thoughts down in this post.

Table of Contents

What are the benefits of remote work?

Working remotely has brought a number of benefits, and they’re worth highlighting! First up – flexibility! With the ability to work when they’re most productive, remote workers can better juggle their work and personal responsibilities.

Remote working also means no more time spent commuting to the office. Not only is that a huge time saver, but it’s also environmentally friendly.

Beyond that, studies suggest that remote workers are often more productive! With fewer distractions and a comfortable environment, workers are able to give their best effort every day!

Employers also benefit from remote work, as it allows them to tap the best talent from anywhere in the world. A more diverse and skilled workforce is always a happy side-effect! 😃

Finally, did I mention that remote working can save you a lot of money? No more office rent, no more commuter expenses, and no more fancy lunches to try and impress coworkers. The savings are real!💰

However, we also do not take the challenges of remote work lightly. We are cognizant that our team is small, and we’re distributed around the same time zones (mostly 8-10 hours apart).

benefits of remote working
Benefits of remote working

What are the challenges faced by remote employees and employers?

Remote work brings significant benefits, but it also comes with a set of challenges for both remote workers and employers. Below are some challenges of remote management, supported by statistics:

Employer Perspective

Communication Barriers

20% of companies found communication as one of their biggest struggles with managing remote employees work.

According to a Buffer’s State of Remote Work report (2020), 20% of companies pointed to communication as one of their biggest struggles with managing remote employees work. But when we dig into the data further, a lot of these companies employ a partially remote or hybrid team formula. A fully-remote organization would usually have learned how to make communication work.

We have created visually-appealing templates perfect for improving communication at your remote workplace. Get started for free to create personalized presentations, reports, and more with ease. Apply your brand assets with our tool in seconds.

Performance Measurement

Evaluating productivity and output can be difficult with remote teams. Team members can find it challenging to monitor work effectively, which can lead to misunderstandings regarding performance and expectations.

These management challenges can be circumvented by having a different perspective of managing employees. Hiring the right people who would like to work remote and focusing on outcome rather than output is a clear way to go.

Employee Perspective

Work-Life Balance

25% of remote employees find unplugging after work hours was their biggest challenge.

In a study by Buffer (2022), 25% of remote employees reported that unplugging after work hours was their biggest challenge. The blurred lines between personal and professional life can lead to burnout if not managed well.

Isolation and Loneliness

24% of remote employees struggle with loneliness.

Buffer’s report also revealed that 24% of remote employees struggle with loneliness. This can significantly impact mental health and overall work satisfaction.

Distractions at Home

48.7% of people who work remotely from home struggle with distractions at home.

A survey by Beyond Booksmart found that 48.7% of people who work remotely from home struggle with distractions at home. The lack of a dedicated workspace or presence of household chores and family members can interrupt work.

Keep in mind that these challenges can be mitigated through effective project management tool and strategies, proper tools, and clear communication within the team.

challenges in managing remote team and working as remote team members
Remote Working Challenges

What does company culture mean in remote work?

Company culture in a remote work environment refers to the set of company values, practices, and attitudes that shape the way remote teams interact and work together. While it shares many elements with traditional office culture, it also includes unique elements due to the nature of remote work.

Here are a few key aspects of company culture in remote work:

Trust and Autonomy

In a remote work environment, managers can’t physically see their employees working. So, a culture of trust and autonomy is crucial. This means believing in your team’s ability to get the work done and giving them the independence to manage their own tasks and schedules.

Communication

Clear communication guidelines are even more critical in a remote work setup because employees can’t walk over to a colleague in a physical office for a quick chat. An open and transparent communication culture, leveraging various communication tools, is essential to ensure that everyone stays on the same page.

Many remote companies also have face to face interaction in a yearly company retreat.

Collaboration

The ability of remote managers to collaborate effectively is a significant part of a remote company’s culture. This involves regular virtual team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and collaboration on shared digital platforms.

Work-life Balance

Remote work can blur the boundaries between professional and personal life. Hence, a remote company culture often emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, encouraging employees to set boundaries and take time off when needed.

The company can assist to establish rules, i.e. no meetings outside of work hours etc.

Employee Well-being

As remote work can sometimes lead to isolation and burnout, many remote companies are prioritizing a culture that values employee mental health and well-being. This could include offering flexible working hours, mental health resources, a virtual team presence, or regular check-ins to discuss any work-related stress or provide emotional support.

Building and maintaining a positive company culture in a remote work setting can be a challenge, but with intentional strategies and a focus on employee engagement, companies can cultivate a culture and remote environment that supports productivity and employee satisfaction.

There’s a tendency to rely on remote team management style of building activities, which we have compiled here, but we are also suggesting that that’s the icing on the cake, but the principles and foundations also need to be present!

How to manage your remote team effectively?

Great remote managers do a few things differently, but the foundational pillars are set by the company. They encourage team members by trusting them, and not to micro-manage remote team members.

Set Clear Expectations in the Entire Company

Ensure your remote team members know what is expected of them. This can include deadlines, quality of work, communication, and availability hours.

Establish Regular Communication

Regular check-ins and team meetings are vital in a remote work setting. Make use of various tools like video conferencing, instant messaging, and project management tools (also listed below) to facilitate communication.

While that is usually the advice given, Piktochart does not believe in regular conference calls. We believe rather that the “fat should be trimmed” and team members kept to focus on the most important things. However, check-ins from the managers are required at a minimum of once a month.

Provide the Right Tools

Your remote team members needs the right software and hardware to work effectively. We have a list of tools you can look at the bottom of this article!

You can also access our resources to learn more about employee engagement, wellness, and remote workplaces. Sign up for free.

Promote a Culture of Trust

Show confidence in your team’s abilities to perform their tasks independently. Micro-managing can be detrimental to the team morale and individual productivity. Establish some ground rules so that the employees know if asynchronous communication is okay.

Create Opportunities for Social Interaction

Virtual team-building activities, casual chat rooms, and occasional in-person meet-ups can help combat feelings of isolation and build a sense of camaraderie.

Encourage Work-Life Balance

It’s easy for work and personal life to blur in a remote setting. Encourage your team to take regular breaks, set boundaries, and make time for rest and relaxation.

Promote Continuous Learning

Encourage remote employees to enhance their skills through online courses, webinars, or workshops. This not only benefits the individual remote leader but also the company.

Support Employee Well-Being

Recognize that remote work can be stressful, and make sure your own team member has access to resources that support their mental health. We provide subsidies to a physical workspace or a co-working space nearby. Regular one to one meetings can also help managers gauge the well-being of their employees.

Recognize and Reward Good Work

Remote workers can sometimes feel that their hard work goes unnoticed. Employee recognition and rewards can go a long way in boosting morale and motivation.

Be Inclusive

Your remote team may be spread across different time zones and cultures. Strive to create an inclusive environment that respects and accommodates these differences, such as flexible meeting times and acknowledgment of various holidays or cultural events.

We have summarized all the tips in a handy infographic below!

tips on managing remote team effectively
Remote Working Tips

What are some must-have tools for remote collaboration?

Here are some of our favorites in our remote working model!

As remote work becomes increasingly prevalent, many tools have been developed to help teams collaborate effectively. Here are some must-have tools for remote collaboration:

Communication Tools

  • Slack: A messaging platform for teams with features like direct messaging, team channels, file sharing, and integration with many other productivity tools. We love having virtual meetings, also known as Huddles!
  • Microsoft Teams: Provides chat functionality, video meetings, file storage, and application integration.

Video Conferencing Tools

  • Zoom: Known for its high-quality video and audio, screen sharing capabilities, and large meeting capacity. A staple for our all-hands meetings.
  • Google Meet: Part of the Google Workspace, it offers secure video meetings, screen sharing, and integrates well with Google’s other tools. This is the video conferencing tool of choice for our project teams.

Project Management Tools

  • Trello: A card-based system for organizing and prioritizing projects. Each card can contain checklists, attachments, deadlines, and comments.
  • Asana: Helps teams organize and manage tasks and projects. Features include to-do lists, reminders, and progress charts.
  • Jira: A popular tool for software development teams, providing issue tracking, agile project management, and more.

Document Collaboration Tools

  • Google Workspace: Provides a suite of productivity tools including Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive for real-time collaboration on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
  • Microsoft 365: Offers tools like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneDrive, which allow for real-time editing and collaboration.

Design Collaboration Tools

  • Piktochart: A visual communication tool for team alignment, which also has great branding features to streamline your internal communication channels.
  • Figma: A cloud-based design tool that allows multiple users to work on a design simultaneously.
  • InVision: Allows for prototyping, collaboration, and workflow integration, making it a great tool for design teams.

Time Zone Tools

  • World Time Buddy: A user-friendly time zone converter to help schedule meetings across different time zones.
  • Every Time Zone: Offers a visual comparison of different time zones.

File Sharing Tools:

  • Dropbox: A cloud-based tool for storing and sharing files and folders, with options for access control.
  • Google Drive: Allows for storing, sharing, and real-time collaboration on files.
infographic featuring project management software and communication tools for remote environment
Remote Collaboration Tools Infographic

Remember to consider the unique needs of your team when selecting the right tools in working remotely, as one size doesn’t fit all.

Some templates you can count on in managing remote team

SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) Templates

sop template to set ground rules for remote workplace
SOP Process
hiring process flowchart template to align many managers
Hiring Process Flowchart
hr onboarding checklist template to keep the ongoing tasks on check
Employee Onboarding Checklist
onboarding process template to help onboard new remote workers
onboarding process

Internal Alignment Templates

employee counseling process template to help managers managing employees working remotely
Employee Counseling Process
creative communication plan presentation template to align multiple remote teams of a project
Creative Communication Plan
assessment process template to help align and manage remote employees
Assessments Process

Internal Report Templates

employee satisfaction survey result report template to align remote workers
Employee Satisfaction Survey Result
survey report template to help align remote teams
Survey Report
summary infographic template you can edit to help managing remote teams
Summary Infographic
learning program template to help you effectively manage remote workers
Leadership Training
project status summary template you can use to align remote teams
Project Status Report

Internal Communication and Announcement Templates

internal announcement template to celebrate remote worker anniversary
1 Year Work Anniversary Quotes
hr announcement template to announce resignation of remote team members
Resignation Newsletter
new employee newsletter template you can use to announce new remote team member
Geometric Welcome New Employee

Internal Newsletter Templates

news bulletin template to align your remote team
News Bulletin
company newsletter email to update other team members
Company Newsletter Email
internal newsletter template you can use to align team member working remotely
Company Newsletter Email

Wellbeing Educational Templates

wellbeing poster you can share to internal team member working remotely
Health is Wealth Poster
mental health flyer template you can distribute to employees working remotely
Mental Health Flyer
benefits of exercise template you can distribute to your remote team
Benefits of Exercise
wellness newsletter template you can distribute to your remote team
Wellness Newsletter

Internal Email and Blog Banner Templates

internal blog banner template for internal article about wellness
Health and Wellness Blog Banner
anniversary email banner template for employee anniversary
Work Anniversary Wishes to Colleague
email banner template to promote conference to your team
Conference Invite Email

Piktochart as a visual communication tool for remote teams

Branding Made Easy

Piktochart takes the complexity out of brand-consistent design, allowing your team to focus on crafting impactful visuals rather than sweating over design details.

Our easy-to-use branding feature enables you to set up a Brand Kit that contains your brand’s logos, color palette, and fonts, ensuring all your visual content is in line with your brand identity and set yourself apart from the competition.

piktochart brand kit tool makes managing remotely possible
Branding Made Easy with Piktochart

Enhanced Collaboration

Whether you’re working on an infographic, presentation, or report, team members can contribute, provide feedback, and make revisions in real time, streamlining the process and ensuring everyone is aligned.

This collaborative feature not only reduces the time spent emailing back and forth but also fosters a more engaged, creative, and efficient team environment.

collaboration features in piktochart making it easy to delegate tasks and enable team chats
Enhanced Collaboration in Piktochart

Organized and Accessible

Piktochart’s robust folder and organization feature helps you neatly store and manage your visual assets.

By creating folders for different projects or categories, you can quickly locate and access the files you need, when you need them.

Furthermore, Piktochart’s cloud-based system means your work is accessible from anywhere, making it easier than ever to share reports or deliver presentations.

Give it a try by signing up for free today.

robust features helps in managing teams and the tasks they are working on
Stay Organized and Accessible with Piktochart
Ai Ching
Ai Ching Goh