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Remote Work

10 Strategies For Managing Remote Employees

Amanda Cross

Since the pandemic, remote work has become essential for employees who crave flexibility and companies who want to tap into a wide net of talent. While some companies have harped on the importance of in-person work, it's essential to understand that demand for remote work is at an all-time high.

Managing employees in the office and globally can be stressful for any manager. However, building a remote team that works when and where they feel most creative and safe can empower you and your employees. If you need help creating a great work environment for remote workers, we've got several expert tips for you.

1) Figure Out What A Remote Workforce Means To Your Team

First, you must determine what a distributed workforce means to your team.

“Get to know each of your remote employees and how they navigate work-from-home life,” says Rachel Roff, Founder & CEO of Urban Skin Rx, “While leaders can’t eliminate all the challenges that remote employees face, they can at least find ways to strengthen the employee experience and build a diverse and engaging company culture.”

What do you expect from your in-house employees? Can they spend most of their time working remotely, or will they need to spend most of their time in the office? Can they relocate easily? What happens to their current benefits or pay when they move?

For remote employees, where do you want them located? Are you looking to branch out and find talent all over the country or the world? Do you want to keep remote employees in your state or time zone?

Understanding what a distributed model looks like for you is crucial. You don’t want to have so many people scattered around the world that having an office becomes a money pit (unless your ultimate goal is to get rid of your office.)

One of the best things you can do is talk with your current employees. What are their thoughts on creating a distributed workforce? Should your company leave the office for a remote-first experience? Answer all these questions before adding remote employees to the roster.

2) Make Sure Remote Workers Are Just As Invested As Office Workers

Creating a distributed workforce opens your company up to a world of possibilities. You’ll be able to utilize a pool of untapped talent that cares about your company and your mission.

Remote employees (like all team members) won't automatically care or understand your mission. You have to take the initiative to hire employees just as invested as your in-house staff. Then, you need to train them, so they understand your company's nuances.

To do this, you must ask the right questions when vetting new talent. You might not see these employees in person before hiring them, so make sure you use video to get the best feel for potential employees during interviews.

Here are some potential interview questions:

  • What compelled you to apply for this position?
  • Our company values are ____; which of those values do you resonate most with? Why?
  • What would you seek to accomplish during your first 90 days in this role?
  • Where do you see yourself a year from now? What do you hope to accomplish?
  • What do you know about this company? How did you find out about us?

3) Utilize The Right Technology

Creating the right technology stack can make or break remote and distributed teams. Here are a few ideas to help you pick the right software for your distributed team.

  • Slack: Slack is a messaging tool for companies of all sizes. Slack is a great way to streamline communication because you can message the company (or different teams) in various Slack channels or send direct messages to people you want to work with one-on-one.
  • Zoom: Slack is great for texting and easy conversations. If you need to have a difficult conversation or hold a team meeting, using a video conferencing tool like Zoom is the best way to communicate.
  • Google Drive: Sharing files and information isn't easy when you work remotely. A tool like Google Drive can help you share information, collaborate on important documents and presentations, and much more.
  • Asana/Trello: If you want to have a distributed team, you need some way to keep everyone on the same page. Using agile project management tools like Nifty, Asana or Trello will help you showcase your progress on your weekly goals.
Keep your remote team connected and engaged with Nectar

4) Trust Your Employees

Trust is pivotal when employees are scattered across the country and the world. 

“Whether necessitated by an external event, a crisis, or part of your employee flexibility offerings, the most important thing to successfully manage a remote employee is constant communication and trust,” shares Patty Hickok, Sr. Director Employee Relations, HRIS & HR Operations at NANA Regional Corporation

Trust has to be a large part of your company's communication and delegation plan. Hickok continues that it's crucial for employees to "know that they are trusted to get their jobs done, and that their contributions are critical to the department and organization- no matter where the job is being done from."

Encourage Flexibility And Autonomy 

If trusting your team is vital, you must encourage flexibility and autonomy. Remote work should be about more than just the freedom to work where you want. Your team's work schedule may not overlap perfectly with yours, and you'll need to give your employees a lot of leeway to get their work done effectively.

“Focus on the expected outcomes and offer guidelines but allow the team member autonomy in how they complete the work,” adds Nola Simon, Hybrid/Remote Work Futurist at Nola Simon Advisory.

Simon continues, “Flexibility in terms of hours and location of the work allows people to do better work - they can manage their caregiving responsibilities and their individual energy better.”

Ask Employees To Be Accountable For Their Outcomes

Often companies spend time monitoring keystrokes and time tracking, but there are better ways to encourage your team. Vincent Chan, the Chief Operating Officer at Christina, suggests flipping this notion on its head. Instead of addressing accountability with a top-down approach, Chan suggests approaching it from the bottom up.

“We do the opposite and encourage our people working remotely to regularly check in with us,” Chan adds, “I expect our remote employees to stop what they're doing and reach out to me at least 2-3 times a day to give me an update on what's happening.”

How frequently you expect check-ins depends on your team and each employee, but it’s important to set clear expectations with each remote team member.

  • How often do you expect check-ins from team members? (Multiple times a day, daily, weekly, etc.)
  • Where will these check-ins live? (Slack, email, calls, etc.)
  • What do you want in each check-in? (A thorough rundown of each task, high-level stuff, questions, etc.)

If you want to make this process as painless as possible, consider creating a check-in template that team members can tweak to fit their roles.

Make Yourself Available As A Resource Rather Than A Supervisor

As you put a lot of trust in your workers, you must change your management style. The mindset shift of being a resource instead of a supervisor is powerful and helpful.

“I've been leading a remote team long before the pandemic, and I believe successful remote management is the result of one thing,” states Volodymyr Shchegel, VP of Engineering at Clario, “You need to be a resource for your team, not a supervisor. This means making yourself available to share your insights, provide guidance, set goals, and delegate.”

5) Maintain Consistent Benefits Across Teams

If you have an office space, you might have a few in-house benefits that are part of coming into the office, like catered lunches or free coffee. Your distributed workforce will not have access to these benefits, unfortunately.

If you allow in-house employees to work remotely, you cannot use remote work as a real perk. So you need to find a way to balance the perks you offer office workers and remote workers.

Here are some exciting perks for remote workers:

  • Home office stipend: Remote employees need a fun place to work. Offer a home office stipend they can use to pay for things like a nice desk, office chair, decor, and more.
  • Gym memberships: Working out and staying healthy is a must. Help your remote employees stay healthy by offering a gym membership or a subscription for online workout classes.
  • Meal delivery kits: If you often cater lunch in the office, consider getting your remote employees a gift card to a service like HelloFresh or Freshly.
  • Home bill stipends: Remote employees use way more electricity, internet, water, etc. Help your employees with their bigger bills by compensating them for some of these expenses.
  • Nectar Peer Recognition And Rewards: Use a system like Nectar to deliver excellent recognition and rewards to your distributed and in-house team. Peer recognition is essential to building great relationships with in-house and distributed staff members.

6) Find Ways To Make Your Remote Team Feel Like Part Of The Team

As a team leader, your goal is to make everyone feel like they are a part of the team. If remote or distributed employees feel less than, your remote employees won’t feel well cared for. Do you show favoritism toward in-house employees (even if you don’t mean to?) Think about how you treat everyone on your roster, so your employees can feel valued and appreciated.

Here are some simple ways to make your employees feel appreciated and included:

  • Check in with your distributed team regularly to ensure they have everything they need.
  • Help build great relationships between your in-house staff and distributed workers.
  • Make sure you celebrate your remote employees’ work anniversaries, birthdays, etc. Make them truly special!
  • Advocate for remote workers when it comes time to negotiate raises, promotions, home office stipends, etc.
  • Treat remote workers like employees and not contractors or freelancers.

Adjust Meetings To Improve Relationships With Remote Workers

You get a lot of time to chat with colleagues when you are in the office. There's so much time to connect at the water cooler, over lunch, or even at your cubicle. Remote employees don't get this, so we should adjust our meetings to make room for this banter.

“One of the best things we have done for internal team dynamics is to make sure we include some non-work stuff in our weekly meetings,” adds Sarah White, CEO & Head of Research at Aspect43, “(Employees) are never required to share, but it's okay to spend time telling about your weekend, or something exciting that happened, a funny situation you had, or things that are stressing you out.”

7) Treat Your Remote Team Members With Fun Experiences And Takeout

If you are managing a hybrid workforce, you know that in-office employees often get random treats throughout the week. These spontaneous, "I was thinking of the team, so I bought in cookies" moments may seem small, but they add up over time. You may not be able to personally deliver cookies to every member of your remote team, but there may be something small you can do.

“At least once a week, I’ll DoorDash some random lunch or sweet treat to my remote team,” shares John Ross, CEO of Test Prep Insight, “It might be an animal-style cheeseburger from In-N-Out just before lunch, a frappuccino from Starbucks mid-afternoon, or a full cake from a local bakery, but I make a point of surprising people with an awesome snack or drink every week.”

Ross shares how this makes the Test Prep Insight team feel appreciated and excited. Often they’ll send thanks via Slack or even share a quick picture enjoying their treat.

Treating your employees to a DoorDash order (or, at the very least, a DoorDash gift card) can work wonders. Alternatively, you can use sites like Spoonful Of Comfort or SnackNation to send a nice treat to remote employees.

At Nectar, we regularly provide lunch for in-house team members during our All-Hands meetings. To ensure remote workers feel included, we offer a $15 lunch credit to remote workers via the Nectar platform so they can enjoy this perk too.

Create a culture people won't want to leave with Nectar

8) Find A Similar Schedule

Working across time zones can feel like an impossible challenge for some teams.

First, we need to establish an important rule, “comprise happens on all sides.”

Sometimes your team in the office will have to wake up early, and sometimes distributed workers will need to stay a bit later than they hoped.

Try to find the most similar times to come together. After you define the best hours to have a meeting, schedule your most important team meetings during those times. Encourage everyone to consider time zones when planning meetings with distributed workers.

Encourage employees to take turns for meetings that need to be outside of typical business hours for office or distributed workers. Some sessions will be scheduled for in-house employees, and some will be planned for distributed employees.

Google Calendar has a great feature called World Clock, which allows you to see the time in different locations at-a-glance. This simple settings adjustment will let you see what time it is in several time zones when creating meetings. By having this clear reminder, you can ensure you are creating fair meetings for your team members.

9) Bring Employees Together Regularly

If possible, your goal should be to bring everyone together as often as possible. Many companies with distributed workforces try to get their employees together at least a few times a year. As your company expands, that may be challenging to accomplish.

There are a couple of ways you can think about this: bringing the entire company together vs. bringing individual departments together.

Think about how often you want to bring employees together and what the cost will be. Retreats don’t have to be extravagant. You don’t need to meet each other in Hawaii or some other pricey destination.

You can hold some retreats virtually or host at your company's office, so you only have to fly in remote team members.

Consider how you can make the most of that time when you come together. Work happens every day, and you don't need to be in the same room to make that happen. The best retreats focus on team building and big-picture thinking (creating goals, discussing the company vision, announcing significant changes, etc.)

Employees should leave any company retreat feeling rejuvenated and excited about the company's direction.

10) Utilize Anonymous Surveys To Gather Essential Feedback

Employee feedback is crucial for the growth of your business. If your remote function is new, you may need to collect a ton of feedback to perfect the experience.

“One of the best ways to improve internal processes without singling anyone out is to survey employees anonymously so managers and leaders can focus on the data instead of the employee,” remarked Zach Goldstein, CEO & Founder of Public Rec.

Do you need help getting employees to fill out your employee engagement survey? We have a helpful resource for teams struggling to improve employee engagement survey completion rates. Whether you send out a survey to remote workers (or all workers), this content can help you build a poll that gets your desired response.

Another consideration you must think about is how many remote workers you have. Keeping the survey information anonymous can be challenging when you only have a handful of remote workers (especially when you ask for other identifying information like race/ethnicity, department, and gender.)


Moving from an in-office staff to a remote (or hybrid) team is tough for many employers. However, growing your staff and reaching out for new talent is admirable and will ultimately help you create the team you need to take your product or service to the next level. Following the advice in today's article will help you build a remote company that feels supported and included.

Actionable workplace tips & insights for fellow people lovers

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