Managing Remote Teams

Communication may be a challenge while working remotely, that is why it is essential that you and your team have clear, open, and consistent communication.

Below are several reasons why you should stay in consistent contact with your team and conduct 1:1 meetings:

  • Establish a sense of connection and continued engagement
  • Foster a collaborative atmosphere
  • Provide timely information
  • Keep team members focused on key goals, accountable for results, and provide timely constructive feedback
  • Empower team members to make decisions
Communication Recommendations
  • Maintain regular meetings with your team, whether they are group meetings or 1:1 meetings.
  • Schedule a few additional meetings to reassure their connection with you and the team.  
  • Schedule remote get-togethers using Microsoft Teams or Zoom.  
  • Have team members share updates in random order. With a predictable order, employees might tune out unless it is their turn to talk. 
  • Team Sharing—have everyone share their own experiences with remote working by giving them the following prompts:
  • What tips for productivity do you have? 
  • What activities are you engaged in for self-care? 
  • What has worked well for you? 
Communicate Clear Work Expectations
  • Quick check-ins keep your remote team focused on key goals and accountable for results.
  • Ensure your team is aligned on the most important priorities of the day.
  • Remember that the most important part of communicating is listening with empathy.  Be sure to engage in conversations with your team that allows them the space to speak openly. 

In order to keep your team engaged, you may wish to initiate some of the following activities:

  • Create a “Fun” group on Microsoft Teams where members can share fun photos from their remote work environment.
  • Have a Team Newsgroup on Microsoft Teams where everyone can regularly update each other on activities.
  • Share funny stories with each other. Laughing about a shared experience, especially work-related, is a great way to strengthen relationships.
  • Have “themes” for your Zoom or Teams meetings to increase engagement and team-building. Challenge each member of the team to come up with one of the creative themes for each meeting. Crazy hat day, favorite coffee mug day (encourage them to share why something was their favorite), tropical day (wear tropical clothing or leis), favorite sweatshirt day.
  • Some teams may also be comfortable with group texts to stay connected in an informal way as a “break.”
Demonstrate Compassion
  • Check-in with your team members daily.  Keep in mind many are experiencing personal challenges and it is important to demonstrate compassion and understanding.
  • Reassure the team you are in it together and will get through it together.
  • Share inspiring stories.
  • Look for positive aspects and share it as soon as possible, even if it is something small (e.g., team member finds a way to be productive from home while children are attending online school). 
  • Review websites that are uplifting, for example:
  • The Greater Good Center
  • The Kindness Rocks Project
  • The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education
  • Mindful- healthy mind, healthy life
  • Ask:  How can I grow? What can I give? What can I celebrate? (questions from Life Visioning by Michael Bernard Beckwith).
  • Celebrate!  Celebrate as much as possible--the end of the successful week, adjusting to a change, birthdays, etc.
Create Connections
  • Initiate daily remote lunch or breaks with your team and or others to stay socially connected.
Involve Employees to Brainstorm and Create Together
  • Employees support and own what they contributed to creating. 
  • Work on solutions together, it is a wonderful way to align your team and make them feel more connected to a cause and to each other. 
  • Engage your team to create or refine work processes for greater efficiencies or opportunities.
Encourage Growth and Development
  • Encourage your team to choose courses on CSU Training or LinkedIn Learning to learn a new skill or become more efficient in a tool, such as Outlook or Excel.  After completing their e-learning, have individuals document what they learned, how they plan to apply it and share best practices with others.  Have them demonstrate something they learned on your next video team meeting.

Whether working in the office or remotely team recognition is important. You can get the best from your team when you acknowledge positive behavior and individual achievements.  Below are some examples of how you may recognize your employees: 

  • Create a digital space to share recognition
  • Promoting collaboration
  • Demonstrating proactive solutions
  • Sharing information for the benefit of the team
  • Honoring commitments
  • Completing tasks on time
  • Asking probing, analytical questions
  • Showing good remote team behavior in general

CSU Learn has more than 75,000 online courses, books, videos, and live activities available for you and your team. It is a great opportunity to co-create a professional development plan for your team.

CSU Learn Bundles

CSU Learn has some learning activities bundled for your convenience. Below is a list of some of them:

Mindful Meeting Exercises

Work-Life Balance

Working Virtually (remotely)

For additional bundles, go to CSU Learn: at the home page, click “Library” (image of books), click *CSU’S Professional Development arrow (>)