Managers of remote workers require new skill sets. While it is crucial to understanding each person’s work and responsibilities, creating shared experiences which bring people together is also crucial in keeping people feeling connected and productive.

Clear communication standards between remote employees are vitally important. Successful remote managers prioritise documenting and writing out thoughts as a form of protecting themselves against misinterpretations.

1. Focus on communication

One of the primary criticisms of remote work is how difficult it can be to maintain effective lines of communication, leading to frustration and possibly leading to mistrust within a team. This situation should not be taken lightly!

As part of your responsibility to ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities, meetings, emails and documenting as much of your processes as possible should help ensure this.

As part of communicating effectively with your team, be mindful of time zones when communicating. Sending a message at 10pm on the West coast could negatively impact their work/life balance and result in burnout; to avoid this scenario, schedule meetings during their core hours and facilitate client communication through specific channels.

2. Build trust

Management of remote employees can be challenging, and one key to its success is building trust with team members. Make sure they trust you to hold them accountable and communicate clearly; setting regular weekly meetings will allow employees to count on you for performance updates as well as to discuss ideas or discuss any issues they might be having with work.

Provide multiple channels for addressing non-urgent concerns. Employees may feel harassed if they receive email after email for small queries; encourage them to use written channels so you can respond more quickly to requests for clarification or answers.

Finally, it’s crucial that high performers and those living according to company values are recognized. This can be accomplished either through informal conversations in shared spaces or one-on-ones with those individuals.

3. Embrace empathy

Empathy is a cornerstone of leadership, especially when working remotely. Empathy enables managers to understand their employees’ needs, wants, stresses and feelings more deeply – ultimately leading to improved team morale and performance.

But empathy in leadership can be tricky in remote teams. Leaders may lose track of their own emotions when constantly taking on other people’s feelings – leading to burnout, difficulty making difficult decisions and overlooking performance issues.

To meet these challenges, leaders need to learn how to communicate empathically and show compassion virtually. To do this, they can seek feedback on their communication styles as well as observe empathetic leaders within their organizations, encouraging remote employees to share their own experiences of empathy and compassion with one another.

4. Have regular conversations about career advancement

Importantly, many remote workers worry about their ability to progress within the company outside an office setting. Great remote managers understand this concern and regularly discuss it during 1:1 conversations rather than waiting until an annual review cycle.

Attaining the appropriate level of communication may be challenging, but it is an integral component of remote team management best practices. Make sure your team members can access important project updates and notes via a central online workspace; also share a summary of each meeting along with individual team member accountabilities prior to meetings.

Pay attention to feedback provided by your team members. Not only will this demonstrate that their opinion matters, but it will help identify any trends or issues which require immediate attention.

5. Create a space for people to be people

Acquainting oneself with those behind their usernames and email addresses is key for remote team management. Provide a space where everyone feels free to be themselves – whether that means setting up a Slack channel dedicated to GIFs and weekend plans or hosting a town hall call where one person gets to talk about a favorite book or talk.

Remote work environments can feel very isolating for those used to working alongside colleagues each day, which is why creating a culture of inclusion and trust are so vital in helping employees thrive from remote work environments. Kumospace provides essential project management and communication tools that are key in this regard as well as encouraging career advancement discussions while offering managers a consistent way of providing feedback on direct reports.