How to Build a Successful Remote Team in 2023

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Remote work first became a part of the workplace mundanity during the pandemic back in 2020. Offering numerous benefits from improved employee availability to reduced upkeep costs, the trend has now been established internationally, and it's safe to say that it's here to stay. As a radical change from traditional office culture, companies should be able to continue adapting to the specifics of remote work as it, like everything else, keeps transforming, and get the most of its benefits.

The goal of this article is to offer nine practical tips for leading successful remote teams that are productive, collaborative, and successful in 2023!

 9 Tips for Building a Successful Remote Team 

1. Clearly define team goals and objectives. 

Above all, it is critical to define precise goals and objectives in order to establish a sense of purpose among the teammates and provide clear direction for your remote team. Setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals helps you guide your team's efforts and effectively measure success. Ensure that you collaborate with your team to identify overarching goals that reflect their purpose and align with organizational objectives.

It's important that each goal be clear and measurable, with no room for ambiguity. When working in the office, it's easy to clear things up, as employees work in the same space and can engage in task-related conversations effortlessly. When you set goals that leave room for much interpretation for your remote team, this might result in delays, continued confusion, and, to everyone's horror, a never-ending thread of emails. So be clear and realistic. Instead of setting unrealistic goals that will demotivate your team, strike a balance between challenge and attainability. Furthermore, ensure that the goals are relevant, contribute to the growth of the team, and align with strategic objectives. 

It goes without saying that time-bound goals with clear deadlines or milestones instill urgency and accountability. Communicate the defined parameters on a regular basis. This will serve your team well as it promotes a common understanding of the team's mission and each member’s unique role. Again, do try to be detail-oriented, as the more concrete you are, the more pleased you will end up being with your remote team's productivity, collaboration, and engagement.

2. Foster effective communication channels. 

Like most things business-related, effective communication is key to making a remote workplace a success. Thankfully, there are many communication tools available, and implementing them will foster seamless and timely interactions. While it's true that nothing can replace in-person meetings, face-to-face interactions are still made possible by video calls (e.g., by Zoom or Teams), so use them! As a good practice, you should make a point of scheduling 1-on-1 and team update meetings at least once a week. Some managers also state that they like to spontaneously call their team members, which simulates the workplace reality where coworkers are accessible to each other throughout the workday. All in all, regular virtual meetings, whether for team updates or individual check-ins, foster teamwork and reduce feelings of isolation. 

Utilizing instant messaging tools like Slack, for example, in addition to video conferencing, enables quick and effective communication. Team members can easily communicate, share updates, and collaborate thanks to real-time messaging platforms. It's relatively easier to keep your team organized and on the same page when you're all working from the office together. However, with remote workers, the manager has less control over the workers progress through the assigned tasks. So, in addition to the instant messaging tools, managers should consider offering a centralized platform for task management, file sharing, and collaboration. This ensures transparency and organization. 

While management determines which collaboration platform best suits the project and company style, it can be a good idea to let your teammates suggest the instant messaging applications that they would rather use. If it's a platform they like, it's a platform they'll use; hence, the effectiveness of in-team communication will be ensured. By fostering effective communication channels, you can cultivate an environment that promotes collaboration, transparency, and engagement, ultimately increasing productivity and cultivating a thriving remote work culture. 

3. Select the right tools and technologies.

It cannot be overstated: choosing the right tools and technologies is vital for providing your remote team with the resources they need to improve productivity and collaboration.  

Implementing powerful project management software such as Asana, Trello, or Jira allows for effective task management, seamless communication, and centralized project documentation. Time tracking apps like Toggl and Clockify assist in monitoring work hours, tracking progress, and ensuring accountability. Using cloud-based file-sharing platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive enables simple access, real-time collaboration, and secure data storage.  

Consider your team's specific needs, such as scalability, integration capabilities, and user-friendly interfaces, when selecting these solutions. Adopting the right tools and technologies enables your remote team to collaborate effectively, stay organized, and ultimately helps you build a successful remote team.

 4. Establish trust and accountability within the team. 

Trust and accountability are critical for remote teams to thrive. Encourage team members to freely share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. This will be monumental for the overall working process and task progress as the remote employees flourish in a psychologically safe environment. Remember that regular feedback is critical to developing trust, even more so in a remote workspace. It can be a challenge for your remote workers to really feel like a part of the team as they don't see their coworkers in person. Try to provide timely and constructive feedback to recognize accomplishments and identify areas for improvement. This is the feedback loop that encourages ongoing growth and development. 

Promoting transparency is another important aspect of building trust. Openly communicate information such as project updates, goals, and decision-making processes. Transparent communication promotes inclusion and keeps everyone on the same page. Building trust and accountability within a remote team requires consistent effort and proactive communication. By doing so, you create a positive work environment that promotes collaboration, enhances productivity, and cultivates a strong sense of unity among team members.

5. Set clear expectations regarding availability and work hours

As you establish clear objectives for your remote team members, be sure to clarify expectations regarding work hours, availability, and response times as well. This promotes effective coordination and saves you from misunderstandings. 

As remote workers are often allowed to work from any part of the world, it's important for the management to acknowledge what would be their most productive and appropriate working hours. It might be a good idea for you to be flexible in this regard, as long as the deliverable timelines are not compromised. When setting deadlines, try to be sensitive to the time difference between you and your remote worker.

Remember that you create a framework for efficient workflows and collaborative efforts by providing consistency and clarity in expectations. Encourage open dialogue and promptly address any uncertainties. It might become necessary, in order to adapt to changing circumstances and maintain a productive remote team dynamic, to revisit and reinforce these expectations on a regular basis.

6. Promote a positive team culture. 

Remote teams thrive extremely well when a positive team culture is enforced. Ensure that the working space you create, though remote, is an environment that recognizes accomplishments and promotes teamwork. Encourage a culture of recognition and appreciation in which team members recognize and value one another's efforts. Virtual shout-outs or team-wide acknowledgements can go a long way in this regard. 

 Your team working remotely should not mean that they cannot have fun together! Facilitate virtual team-building activities like book clubs or online video games to strengthen personal connections and foster a sense of belonging. Some remote-operating companies also report that implementing coffee-break video calls between employees and engaging in virtual water cooler conversations has served them well in terms of overall work culture and morale. 

 You can also try scheduling knowledge sharing sessions, asking your teammates to share their expertise on a subject of their choosing to create a positive and motivating environment. 

 If the geographical distance between the remote workers allows, of course, try to meet up in person every once in a while, as well. Yes, modern technologies do wonders for revolutionizing social interactions, but real-life exchange between people they work with will boost the sense of community in your employees.  

7. Provide opportunities for professional growth and development.

It goes without saying that employees, no matter the industry, love the jobs that offer opportunities for professional growth and development. Since remote workers are detached from the office space and their job is virtual, it becomes even more important to give them a wealth of opportunities so that they have positive, motivating conditions to hang on to. 

One way companies can invest in the advancement of their remote teams is by providing online training programs, webinars, or courses tailored to their roles and interests. By giving them access to relevant resources and educational opportunities, you empower your team members to improve their skills and knowledge. Encourage them to attend industry conferences or virtual events where they can network and stay up-to-date on the latest trends. 

You can also support their professional development by offering mentorship programs or coaching sessions to encourage ongoing learning and skill development. Additionally, make sure to recognize and reward their efforts in pursuing opportunities for advancement, thereby reinforcing a culture of learning and improvement. By putting professional development first, you not only improve the individual capabilities of your employees and strengthen loyalty within them but also contribute to the overall success of the team. 

8. Encourage work-life balance and well-being.

For remote teams, encouraging work-life balance and prioritizing well-being is vital. Management should recognize that remote work can blur the lines between professional and personal lives. In an effort to care for your employees individually, and for the success of your team overall, actively encourage your team members to strike a healthy balance. Make it a point to encourage regular breaks throughout the day to avoid burnout and increase productivity. 

 To avoid feeling overburdened, set realistic expectations for workload and deadlines. To promote mental and physical well-being, encourage self-care practices such as exercise, mindfulness, and unplugging from work. 

 Go the extra mile, encourage open communication about problems or concerns, and be sensitive to individual requirements. To accommodate personal obligations and promote work-life integration, consider implementing flexible work schedules. Set a good example by demonstrating your own dedication to work-life balance. By putting well-being first, you can create a supportive and long-lasting remote work environment that allows your team to thrive both personally and professionally.

9. Embrace flexibility and adaptability.

It's always a good idea to be open to suggestions and remain flexible and even more so in remote work environments. When your team works remotely, many options are dynamic and subject to change. It will serve the managers well to be willing to change workflows, processes, and tools in response to team feedback and changing circumstances. Encourage an innovative and continuous improvement culture in which team members feel empowered to suggest changes that improve efficiency and collaboration. This will also prove to help the team's morale, as the teammates will be assured that their input matters.  

Try to develop an attitude that welcomes new technologies and emerging trends, allowing your remote team to remain agile and responsive. To maximize productivity and engagement, evaluate and improve your remote work practices on a regular basis. By embracing flexibility and adaptability, you create an environment that allows your team to thrive in the face of uncertainty and achieve success in the ever-changing landscape of remote work.

 Final Thoughts 

Building a successful remote team necessitates deliberate strategies and ongoing effort. You can lay the groundwork for a productive, collaborative, and successful remote team by following the nine tips outlined above. Embrace the opportunities that remote work provides, adapt to the changing landscape, and invest in your team's growth and well-being. Building a successful remote team is a continuous journey that benefits both the team and the organization in the long run. 

Act now to create a remote team that is ready for success in today's economy! 

About us

Since 2008, Flat Rock Technology has been a trailblazing software development company dedicated to empowering businesses. Our 400+ certified experts provide cutting-edge tech services and solutions to organizations all over the world. We embrace the future of work by providing flexible hybrid options that combine remote and on-site work for your convenience. Discover how our expertise in the latest technology can help your company reach its full potential. Contact us today and see how we can help! 

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