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10 Best Practices For Remote Team Management – Part 3

November 14, 2022
Wes Mitchell-Lewis
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This is Part 3 of our 3-Part Series – Continue your learning and check out Part 1 & Part 2.

This is your one-stop-shop for insights covering everything from interviews, onboarding, async communication, learning & development and so much more. We’ve compiled the top tips, tactics, best practices, and real-world examples of remote team management.


Let’s recap –

Part 1

  1. Run The Best Remote Interview
  2. Start Things Off With Outstanding Onboarding
  3. Set Clear Goals & Expectations

Part 2

  1. Nail Your Workflows
  2. Empower Your People
  3. Balanced Communication

Part 3

  1. Quality Remote Meetings
  2. Create Connections
  3. Learning + Development
  4. Create A Great Culture

7 – Quality Remote Meetings

37% of employee time is spent in meetings, according to one study, and 47% of employees see meetings as time-wasters. Meeting efficiency and effectiveness is even more important for remote teams as often it’s the only time they are getting face-time with the larger org.

While no one has yet managed to “fix” the corporate meeting, establishing a regular meeting schedule, with a clear purpose and agenda through intentional engagement with remote teams can go a long way toward alleviating the pain and even boosting productivity.

Build A Weekly Meeting Schedule

Start by setting a weekly and monthly cadence of meetings to create consistency in how your teams come together. Then, consider one by one where remote teams fit in.

Schedule To Start

  • Daily Standups. Short, 15-minute virtual stand-ups to share current projects and discuss any blockers hindering development.
  • Weekly 1:1s: Between managers and reports, 1:1s should happen weekly, virtual or in-person, focusing on project reviews, coaching, and relationship-building.
  • Project Scrums: Include members of only the immediate project team for status & next steps.
  • Bi-weekly Sprint Planning & Retrospectives: These project-focused discussions are essential to align everyone on their workload and velocity.
  • Monthly Team Meetings: Bring the entire team together to share scrum team updates and get face-time with leadership.

After you’ve built a consistent meeting schedule, make sure that all elements of your meetings transcend into the virtual space. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Start With Icebreakers. These tear down personal-work barriers, allowing remote team members to share about themselves and get to know others.
  • Have An Agenda. Let employees know what the meeting will cover and allow people to contribute to the agenda via a cloud-based form.
  • Video & Voice. Not every meeting has to be a video meeting. Especially on a busy meeting day, it can lead to ‘Zoom fatigue.’ Consider mixing in a walking meeting call or something similar.

8 – Create Connections

The quickest thing to go out the window with remote work is also the thing that makes us the happiest – human connection. Even for the most introverted, connection is a powerful force that motivates us and puts meaning behind the work we do.

In our recent engineering survey, 22% of engineers reported feelings of loneliness and isolation when working remotely. But, there is a path to maintain a human connection through intentional actions that bring people together.

Here Are Six Tactics To Create Connections:

  1. We recommend you bring remote hires to HQ at the start of their employment to help build a strong relationship with them. Managers should also build travel to remote teams into their budgets, spending time on building social and productive connections.
  2. Lean on video conferencing. Technology can sometimes separate us, but video tools like Zoom or Google Hangouts allow for face-to-face connection among teams. Consider creating happy hours or coffee chats to bring “water cooler conversation” opportunities to remote teams.
  3. Hold a virtual off-site for the entire team. At Terminal, our HR team hosts remote off-sites where all employees are at their computers – bringing together social and productive time that’s open to all.
  4. Keep an eye on mental health. Remember the person behind the screen. If remote is new to your team, do more frequent check-ins to understand how employees are adjusting. They don’t need to be structured – just reach out with a simple “How are you doing?”
  5. Provide access to leadership (not just direct management). From blocking off office hours for remote teams to virtual Q&A sessions.
  6. Create a remote team champion. Gitlab was one of the first to hire a Head of Remote to champion all remote initiatives. Darren Murph says “It’s important to put the onus on someone driving this. This lies somewhere between HR and operations. As you enter a remote space you’ll have a lot of communication gaps that pop up.”

9 – Learning + Development

In our Engineer 2020 report, learning & development was one of the Top 5 criteria developers look for in a job opportunity. Here’s what both managers and organizations can implement to ensure professional growth makes its way across the border and helps differentiate your organization for prospects.

For Managers:

  • Hold regular career development conversations quarterly – your reports must know that their success and growth are top of mind for you.
  • Create individual development plans, stating employees’ learning goals and concrete actions to reach them. Align on the support they will need to achieve them (coaching, resources, time, etc.)
  • Ask your employees about their learning styles and preferences. Keep this in mind as you consider how to help them grow.
  • Look for common themes or skills that need to be developed in your team and build learning circles or communities of practice around these.
  • Genuinely care about their progress – as your employees start to learn a new skill or competency, do regular check-ins to see how they are progressing, ask them what they have learned, and how they are applying the learning back to their job.

For Organizations + Teams:

  • Carefully assess your organization and teams’ learning needs. If they cannot be fulfilled with free resources, consider developing them in-house with your subject matter experts or offering a subscription to online learning content providers.
  • Bring in-person workshops online. That could mean streamed talks held at your office or exploring some of the exciting technologies for experiential learning, such as gamification and VR/AR.
  • Consider organizing special projects where people can learn or practice new skills. As a good rule of thumb, consider allowing 10% of employees’ time to be spent learning new skills.

10 – Create a Great Culture

Culture is not a top-down set of initiatives created by management – it’s owned by everyone in an organization. But certainly, executives and team leaders have a lot of stake in setting up the workflows and mechanisms that create and translate culture across the organization.

Define Values For Your Team

Likely, your company already has a set of values that drive your culture.  At Terminal, a few of ours are “Global citizen and Local champion” “Agents of growth” and “Own it.” A shared set of ideals and characteristics is proven to bring teams together. And, just the act of creating them can be a highly rewarding process for the team to be able to contribute and shape the values that define them.

Translate Values Into Experience

Once you have a set of values in place, give thought to how these translate into your internal communication, programs, team-building activities, policies, onboarding, and more.

At Asana, for example, one of their engineering team values is “Ship fast, sustainably.” They make huge investments that allow for continuous deployment with multiple pushes per day and offer teams no-meeting Wednesdays To Get Work Done.

Three Tips To Create A Remote Culture

  • Hire For It: Sometimes screening for culture goes by the wayside with remote employees – but the best way to build the culture you want is to ensure you screen for culture.
  • Build Workflows: Distribute Consulting recommends developing workflows to inject the culture directly into a regular process. For example, if your culture revolves around an active lifestyle, start your weekly standup call with a jumping jack challenge.
  • Create Digital Pathways: Create channels where you can celebrate big wins, share announcements, or just have water cooler conversations across the company.

TL;DR 

Remote teams can have significant productivity and happiness gains – building the right remote thinking now will help you adjust quickly to the rapid shift toward remote we’re all experiencing. But it’s not as easy as hiring a remote employee and giving them a laptop. Putting strategy and intention behind your team structure, market selection and management is the difference between a group of engineers building code and a product-building powerhouse that will drive your growth.

This concludes our three-part series on Best Practices for Remote Team Management. Be sure to check out Part 1 & Part 2 if you have not already!


We hope you were able to learn today! Keep exploring the rest of Terminal’s content offerings and if you are interested in learning more about how we can help you accomplish your growth goals, please

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