Managing Remote Teams – Best Practices for 2024

In 2020 many companies found themselves quickly transitioning to remote and hybrid work models. As we enter 2024, managing hybrid and remote teams in different locations and time zones requires new strategies to maximize employee engagement and drive peak team performance.

According to Forbes, “as of 2023, 12.7% of full-time employees work from home, while 28.2% work a hybrid model. 98% of workers want to work remote at least some of the time, and 16% of companies operate fully remote”.

The trend is continuing to lead more workers to remote and hybrid schedules (some days in-office, some remote) rather than a return to pre-2020 full-time office work with some industries and roles more likely to remain remote than others. The IT sector is the top remote work industry with marketing, accounting and finance, and HR close behind.

“This aligns with the fact that tasks in this sector are often digital in nature, requiring only a reliable internet connection. Virtual collaboration tools have enabled these industries to operate effectively, irrespective of location.”, according to Forbes.

By using best practices for managing virtual teams, managers can gain advantages like accessing talent globally, increased employee retention, improved work-life balance, and savings on office space.

Building Trust with Frequent Communication
Building relationships and managing remote teams successfully depends on frequent, clear communication.

With fewer day-to-day in-person interactions, managers need to be proactive about building relationships through regular video calls and team meetings to discuss and understand your remote team’s challenges and needs.

Active listening and asking thoughtful open-ended questions help build trust with your team.

During video meetings ask your team to have their cameras on as this improves communication through the ability to read body language and facial expressions.

Ongoing communication with your remote and hybrid staff helps to ensure that your priorities and goals are aligned.

Setting Clear Goals
Your team will be most effective when you clearly define priorities and goals with metrics focused on key performance indicators and deliverables. Celebrate their milestones and achievements to build trust and morale regularly.

Project management tools like, Smartsheet, and ClickU are indispensable to help managers define goals, assign responsibility of tasks, collaborate, and automate notifications.

You’ll increase accountability when employees are given the freedom to choose how they complete their work.

Leveraging Technology
Adopting digital tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and wikis enable your teams to communicate, collaborate, and access information around-the-clock uninterrupted regardless of working location. Additionally, file sharing apps like, SharePoint, OneDrive, Dropbox, and Box allow access to centralized resources.

AI Tools like Otter AI, Wrike, Notion AI, and taskade assist managers of remote teams in asynchronous collaboration and productivity by helping to streamline workflows, transcribe spoken words into text for meeting notes, summarize long emails and other documents, and help you identify things that may impact your projects.

Building Culture in Remote Teams
To build your company culture while managing remote and hybrid teams, schedule team building activities like team board games (in-person, online or a combination), social events like Friday afternoon company happy hour, and informal discussions to nurture culture (Zoom or Teams). Team building activities help employees bond, feel included, and boost morale, whether they’re on-site, remote or hybrid.

Monitoring and Supporting Employee Wellbeing
The transition to remote work has blurred the lines of work life and private life which has led to increased levels of burnout.

Managers need to take the lead in modeling a healthy work-life balance and to help your team identify the symptoms of burnout including working during days off, not taking breaks, feelings of isolation or lack of engagement with colleagues.

Additional signs of employee burnout include:
• Coming to work late (or logging in to work apps late)
• Increased absenteeism
• Becoming irritable with co-workers or customers
• Cynical attitude
• Exhaustion — physical, mental, or emotional
• Heightened sensitivity to criticism and feedback
• Decreased productivity

Share best practices for time management, boundary setting, and intentionally unplugging from work with your team. Multi-tasking fatigue is real so help staff minimize context switching.

Most importantly, understand situations that arise outside of work and demonstrate compassion if team members require temporary workload or schedule accommodations. Trust and empathy run both ways.

Adopting a Culture of Continuous Learning
Managing remote teams remains an evolving practice as virtual work arrangements continue to change.

Solicit feedback from team members on what current remote leadership strategies resonate most with them and listen for their feedback about what changes could better support them. Regularly evaluate effectiveness of existing processes and tools. Adopt them based on responses from employees to ensure remote team management best practices match your team’s needs.

Supporting Skill Development
Investing in continuous learning and skill development for employees increases retention, engagement, and productivity.

Mentorship programs that connect more experienced staff with newer team members helps to create a knowledge sharing culture where colleagues exchange skills and experiences peer-to-peer through informal coaching circles.

Make online courses, webinars, and virtual conferences accessible around relevant focus areas so your team members capabilities continue expanding their knowledge and skill sets.

Supporting Asynchronous Work
Accommodating asynchronous work for team members across multiple locations and even, time zones, is essential for maintaining and even increasing productivity. This empowers employees to complete tasks and collaborate at times optimal for them without rigid real time demands.

Digital tools are necessary to facilitate this flexible work style. Platforms including GitLab, Loom, Asana, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Workspace make information accessible 24/7 and enable remote employees to work independently. Email remains the dominant and most reliable tool for asynchronous work and communication.

The Future is Flexible
The path to managing thriving remote teams requires focusing on consistent communication, clearly defined goals and success metrics, the adoption of collaborative digital tools (including AI), and compassionate leadership grounded in trust.

With the right leadership strategies and best practices, remote and hybrid models allow businesses to access talent globally while providing location flexibility and supporting employee wellbeing through autonomy balanced with accountability.

As remote work evolves in 2024, empower your teams and boost productivity by partnering with VanderHouwen to implement the latest best practices in managing virtual teams. Contact us today to learn how we can help you build your remote teams.