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Best Practices for Distributed Teams: How to Manage Remote Workflows Effectively

The Flow TeamLast Updated: May 5, 2020

Working from a company office is becoming a way of the past as teams everywhere make the shift toward remote work. Working from home used to be limited to only those with special circumstances or who traveled often. But things have certainly changed and, in many ways, for the better. For one, geography doesn’t have to stand in the way of hiring the right people. And as long as you implement the best practices for managing distributed teams, both existing and future team members will come to appreciate the opportunity to work from wherever they’d like.

To help your teams easily adjust in this new era of remote work, as well as make the option more manageable, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks that are simple enough to start implementing right away.

Setting Your Remote Team Up for Success

When everyone on your team works in the same space, managing workflows can feel like a breeze. You’re able to easily check in with your team, make immediate adjustments to workloads, and solve issues in real-time.

But that doesn’t mean working in an office always equals maximum productivity. When it comes to preferred working styles, one size definitely doesn’t fit all. Some people prefer daily in-person interactions and need regular face time to stay motivated. Others do their best work with little-to-no guidance and often prefer using task management apps and virtual communication to stay on track.

So, if you’re currently making the shift toward a distributed model or are just looking to optimize your already remote team, here are a few to-dos to ensure you’re set up for success:

  1. Adapt to individual needs. Ask team members what helps them stay focused and feel most productive, whether it’s coming into the office or working from home. Then, where possible, offer as much flexibility as possible.
  2. Offer home office support. For remote folks, recommend wi-fi plans, cell service providers, and laptops—and, if possible, provide a remote stipend to help ensure their home office is well-equipped.
  3. Provide access to remote tools. This includes communication tools like Zoom and Slack and productivity tools like Dropbox and Flow The pros outweigh the cons of most project management tools, and they keep people connected and accountable. Plus, they’re easy to learn and use (even for those who aren’t tech-savvy). 

Making Distributed Workflows Manageable for All

When it comes to the best practices for managing distributed teams, this list will help you continue to hit deadlines and work together seamlessly:

  • Hire individuals with prior experience working remotely or who thrive in environments where they can work independently. 
  • Evaluate performance based on results, such as deadlines met and products delivered, versus fulfilled hours. This promotes a sense of freedom for everyone to work how and when they’re most productive.
  • Designate project leaders, not just department managers, to streamline communication.  And make it clear where all team members can go to get up-to-date information about a specific project or topic.
  • Provide remote work tools that foster relevant and timely communication about projects and tasks. An internal chat tool that lets you link documents, use @mentions, and perform searches, for example, will keep everyone updated.
  • Schedule weekly video calls that serve as touchpoints for your teams and managers. You can also plan virtual department lunches and company happy hours so people have the option to socialize outside of work.
  • Check in with your teams often to see how they’re doing and listen to their concerns. Make it known to team members that their input is welcome. The landscape of remote work is always evolving, so feedback on what’s working and what isn’t will allow for continuous improvement.
  • Handle the day-to-day, not just the transition to remote work, with patience and trust. Whether team members are local, spread out across the country, or from around the globe, managing workflows remotely will likely take some getting used to. But with the right team members, tools, and mindset, it can be a valuable way of working for any company.

The Best Practices for Distributed Teams Starts with One Beautiful Collaborative Space

Once a novel idea for unique situations, the need for some or all of your teams to work remotely is here to stay. Though it may seem overwhelming at the moment—especially if you’ve had to make the shift quickly—the right tools and resources can help you adjust quickly. And, by following the best practices for distributed teams, team members are more likely to get up-to-speed faster and feel more at ease with the change.

By using Flow’s collaborative workspace, you have access to the right tools to set your team up for success. Intuitive, elegantly designed, and fun to use, Flow helps transition your team’s workflows seamlessly.

Flow keeps remote teams productive by providing an all-in-one workspace that inspires collaboration. Start your free trial today!

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