Remote teams: Managing Geographically dispersed emplOYEES


By Bill Swan, Principal Consultant

Since COVID-19, the acceptance of remote work has shifted considerably. In the right circumstances, the legitimacy of remote work is not questioned for the right business. Remote work can significantly reduce the company’s operating expenses, satisfy the employees’ work/life balance, keep a lower cost of living, and enable recruiting and hiring from a much larger geographic region than before. Those are strong considerations for embracing remote work, which is now a defining feature of the modern workplace. However, managing geographically dispersed teams comes with a set of challenges. Here are some key points to consider for a successful remote work environment:

  • Communication: Clear and consistent communication is vital for remote teams. To keep everyone informed and connected, utilize various communication means and tools for instant messaging, video conferencing, and project management.
  • Set Expectations and Define Roles: Clearly defined roles, expectations, and performance metrics are essential for remote work success. Regular check-ins and performance reviews help maintain focus and accountability.
  • Foster Collaboration, Not Isolation: Remote teams can feel isolated. Schedule virtual team-building activities, encourage collaboration, and recognize team achievements to build a strong team spirit.
  • Asynchronous Communication: Embrace asynchronous communication whenever possible. Utilize project management tools, shared documents, and discussion boards to allow team members to contribute in ways that meet the company schedules.
  • Core Collaboration Hours: Establish core collaboration hours where work hours and time zones overlap so everyone is available for meetings or real-time discussions. This minimizes scheduling conflicts across time zones.
  • Respect Work-Life Boundaries: Be mindful of time zone differences when scheduling meetings or sending urgent requests. Respect team members’ time and avoid creating a culture of expected around-the-clock availability. Set clear communication boundaries like designated work hours and after-hours communication etiquette. This helps employees maintain a healthy separation between work and personal life.
  • Address Physical Inactivity: Provide or encourage ergonomic workstations and breaks for movement to prevent physical issues associated with prolonged sitting. Consider adding gym memberships or other similar health-focused opportunities to your benefits package.
  • Promote Mental Wellbeing: Acknowledge the unique challenges of remote work, such as social isolation and the potential for burnout. Offer resources for mental health support and health, and encourage breaks throughout the workday.

By implementing these strategies, your organization can cultivate a productive remote work environment. Remember, a successful remote work model prioritizes clear communication, collaboration tools, respect for time zones, and employee well-being. This will empower your team to be productive, engaged, and successful, regardless of location.

If your organization needs help getting remote work productive, FIT HR can help. FIT HR employees are all remote workers, so we understand the environment well!  Contact us, and let’s start a discussion.