The complete guide to setting up a successful remote team

Successful Remote and Hybrid teams are fundamentally different from their in-office counterparts when it comes to culture, processes and workflows. Here's a quick guide to help you learn what you can do to set up a remote team that is happy, productive and successful in the long run.

These are complex times for founders, leaders and manager. The world is crawling back to normalcy, and along with that comes another shift in our work lives. All over the globe, some people are returning back to their offices, while others are preparing for a remote-first or hybrid future for their teams and their companies.

If you're a part of the latter - you're probably focused on making the right transition into a remote/hybrid future. There's a few fundamental rules that can help you establish a solid bed-rock for your teams remote aspirations. Good remote teams are naturally effective - but for a team to get there, it needs determined enablers. When you step up and make the right decisions, the entire team flourishes. Let's talk about the fundamentals of building good remote teams.

01: Make sure your team is truly comfortable.

A big reason why people prefer offices is the feeling of being in the zone. Having a space where you're free to focus and tap into the right mind space is essential for good, productive work days. If your team is working from home, it's very important to make sure they have the right setup that helps them replicate the same feeling.

Help your team get the right space and set up.

Goes without saying - the right set up can make a world of a difference in your teams experience. Helping your team get the right devices, screens, desks and chairs can go a long way in building the right space to work. Helping your team get the right gear is an investment that will pay dividends in terms of productivity, connection and creativity.

Use the right tools for the job.

The right tools can have an instant impact in the way your team engages with each other and with work. Upgrade your productivity stack to use tools that make work easy. Products like Notion, Slack, etc can make life 10x easier for your team by streamlining crucial things like collaboration and communication. The right tools can help your team

02: Set up the right communication culture.

Communication is perhaps the most important function when running a remote team. Setting up the right habits is absolutely essential for your teams health, happiness and productivity.

Information is the lifeblood of a remote team. Make sure it is easily accessible.

It's absolutely crucial that your team has all the required information available at their fingertips. When your team is distributed, your information should be the same. Make sure your team is up to date on the right priorities. Ensure that everyone has a central source for all information they need.

Information can be split into two broad buckets - static information (like files, documents and more) and relative information (like priorities, tasks and dependencies). Keep static information open-sourced by maintaining a clear depository of all documents on Notion, Teams or Google Drive. For relative information, use tools like Slack, Teams or Zoom to manage your daily flow of information - both sync and async.

Build the right communication habits

When remote teams don't think about communication, a few complaints become standard. Zoom fatigue, lack of time to focus, poor alignment, and many more. If you see yourself or your team going through these issues, take a pause and reflect on what's really going on. Most teams with such issues usually have some bad habits like - jumping on video calls for the smallest reasons, not preparing for meetings, not sharing agendas before calls, and so on. If you notice that around you, it's time you set the right example and help your team build the right communication habits.

03: Invest time and effort in communicating with your team

Communication is a whole lot easier when you're in an office. In-office communication feels effortless because the proximity and spontaneity makes it easy and instant. Getting your team together in the same way is super important for a remote team leader. And getting there requires time and effort on your end.

Check-in with your team regularly. About work, and about them.

The best way to get your team buzzing is to regularly check-in with them. Simple things like knowing their plan for the day, learning what they need help with or asking them how they're feeling today can go a long way in helping your team feel close and connected.

Check-ins can also help everyone stay connected with each other. They can spark conversations, help individuals collaborate and make people feel more connected than before.

Build feedback loops that help you plan, track and measure progress.

While I am saying this in context of remote teams, this advice is almost universal. Building the right feedback loops is one of the most powerful ways to iterate, improve and grow - both as an individual and as a team. The best feedback loops are rich in information, easily to capture and frequent in their cycles.

To make this work for your team, you can set weekly plans, monthly goals or longer OKR's into action. Once it's set, keep track of progress with occasional check-ins and see where you end up. Irrespective of the final results, the process will help you quickly identify what you're doing right and where you can improve as a team.

Make space for socializing and bonding.

This is something you can never overdo. Helping your team find time to socialize, bond and catch-up can be incredibly rewarding and satisfying for everyone. For a remote team, setting up a dedicated time for socializing can be a great way to make everyone feel happy and bond better.

There are loads of creative ways to do this. You can set up a weekly coffee-time session with the team or create online events on Friday nights for fun. It's all about how creative you can be and what fits your vibe as a group. The end result is always a happy and relaxed team that's a little more closer than before.

Final thoughts

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to building great remote teams, it's important to know that the core ideas we talk about here apply to most teams. How you put these ideas into practice is an interesting conversation in itself. It all comes down to who you are and the culture you wish to build in your teams. For any remote leader in these times, the window of opportunity to build world-class teams is wide open.

Gopi Sukhavasi

Founder and CEO