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How to manage remote working to its full potential – Part 2 

I shared five tips on managing remote working a few weeks ago, following my talk at CHS Leeds in April. 

Here are the rest of the five tips. 

Tip 6 

Personal and fun 

If you were all working in the office, you would overhear things at the water cooler, when walking past a desk etc. You know, the kind of thing. I can’t wait for my birthday party on Friday; my son has his piano exam tomorrow, and my partner is waiting to hear how his job interview went. 

You won’t get these when working remotely, so you have almost to force the issue. Ask in the groups, email, in your 1-1’s, “Anything interesting coming up?”. Then keep a note of the information they share with you, so you can ask them, “How did your partner get on with his job interview?” “How did the piano exam go?” etc. 

Just asking these small questions can make your team feel valued and part of that team. 

Also, it’s important to remember birthdays, anniversaries, Easter, Xmas etc. You should send a card at the very least.  We all groan at the brown envelopes from the tax man, and the white envelopes that are usually bills or junk pretending to be bills. But who opens the coloured envelopes first? Or the ones that feel like they have something exciting in them? Nothing beats a lumpy post!  Especially when working remotely. One Easter, I sent all my team a Maltesers Bunny with a card! They loved it! 

Keep the team involved in fun aspects. Online quiz, zoom get together, posted mystery clues etc. Remember when these were all the rage during lockdown? So many companies have set up great online activities that can be done in teams. 

Send them an afternoon tea or something similar to support end-of-year results, or if you can’t get together for a face-to-face celebration. You can even send individual items to people. Remember the days of going out for a drink and the designated driver feeling left out? You don’t have to worry about that; you can tailor the remote celebrations to the individual. 

Team building is an essential part of any successful workforce. Organising regular team-building activities will help build trust, improve communication, and strengthen relationships among team members. 

And these activities can still take place remotely – lots are available online. One idea is to allocate teams to solve a puzzle by a set date, or a treasure hunt in their local area. 

Tip 7 

HR system 

It is great to have a cloud-based HR system where staff can request leave, see their objectives, and get updated copies of documents.   

It gives the team responsibility and access to information no matter where they work. As a manager, you have an overview of the latest leave situation, can update the whole team instantly, and both sides can access objectives, 1-1 outcomes, etc. It can also help you manage your workload as it will reduce the HR admin many managers have to do. 

Remote work often means working in different time zones or schedules. Encourage flexibility amongst team members, allowing them to work at times that suit them best. 

Tip 8 

Trust and empower  

Where possible, give your team members responsibility for some areas of the business. This could be maintaining company documents, such as policies and how-to guides, or even some team-building activities I’ve mentioned previously. 

This responsibility, showing you trust your team, is just as important in a remote setting. 

Trust that they are working hard, even if you cannot see them. Don’t feel you have to check in all the time, i.e., what time are you starting today (unless you need a call with them). 

You should agree on the times they will be available, especially if they work non-standard hours.  Respect these boundaries so you do not contact them during their “off” times. 

Building trust through regular communication, transparency, and feedback is key when managing remote teams.  Trust that you have employed the best people to do the job. If you haven’t, you may need to review your team and recruitment practices!  

Tip 9 

Be authentic 

Be yourself – show them you make mistakes and how you move forward. People learn most from seeing how other people deal with situations. This is hard when working remotely as they won’t be able to hear you dealing with a difficult client over the phone etc. So share these in your groups, give examples and change names if confidentiality needs to be maintained.  

Also, make sure you share your triumphs – tell them when a new client has been signed when you’ve received positive feedback, but also personal triumphs so they can see you are a person. 

Share your personal life, i.e., kids’ occasions, again just as you would over the water cooler or waiting for the kettle to boil. 

Tip 10 


Even in a remote setting, you are responsible for their health and safety as an employer. 

This means making sure they are NOT still working from the ironing board, they have a proper desk, adjustable chair etc., just as you would if they were sat next to you. 

Some companies offer an allowance and let the team choose from a selected range, this helps the company to budget, and the team can choose furniture that doesn’t look too out of place in their home. 

Others will arrange for the relevant items of kit to be purchased and delivered directly to the team members’ locations. 

Whichever you choose, you cannot simply say, “well, they work from home, so it’s not my responsibility”. 

One of the hardest elements of working remotely, especially from home, is the lack of a psychological break from work.  In an office, you would finish work, leave the office and go home.  You can’t do that if you are working in the same place you live.  So, make sure this is encouraged.  Insist on start and finish times and respect those.  Shut the door on the office till the morning.  I know one lady who covers her desk with a tablecloth.  She knows the laptop is there, but having the cloth over it reduces the urge to check things later in the evening. 

So, there you go, my top 10 tips for managing remote working: 

  • Communications 
  • Team guide/handbook 
  • Systems 
  • Induction and training 
  • Regular catch ups 
  • Personal and fun 
  • HR system 
  • Trust and empower  
  • Be authentic 
  • Responsibilities 

For more detailed information on any of the tips or systems mentioned above, please don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected] 

You can still find part 1 if you missed it. Just have a look back at the blog from thee 2nd of June.