You can use Pipedrive to assign tasks to sales team members or use an integrated app to manage your workload. You’ll be able to see which deals are in progress, identify any bottlenecks and jump on any stalled deals yourself.
Pipedrive’s analytics dashboard lets you see if your team is on track to meeting its quarterly goals. The detailed reporting functions help take the guesswork out of decision-making.
Why we like Pipedrive for remote team management: Pipedrive is a cloud-based solution, making it perfect for remote work. Its wide range of features, add-ons and integrations means you can be confident your team members have all the tools they need to perform their roles well without micromanaging.
Best file-sharing tool: Google Drive
Google Drive is a cloud-based storage service that allows teams to easily collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and slides via files that sync automatically across devices.
Google Drive makes it convenient for teams to work together on documents or presentations in real-time, eliminating multiple versions and sending documents back and forth.
Teams can organize files across Drive folders with newly enhanced file searching filters that help team members locate files even quicker.
Managers can create templates, keep track of document changes and leave comments for easier collaboration.
Google Docs, Sheets and Slides are also shareable with users outside a team’s direct organization for faster collaboration with vendors or clients.
Why we like Google Drive for remote team management: Google Drive is an easy way for remote staff to share files with managers. The Google Drive comment function allows managers to leave notes directly on the document and to tag the team member responsible for making changes.
Best tool for team meetings: Zoom
Zoom is a video conference tool remote managers use to meet with virtual teams.
Zoom video calls are perfect for one-on-one, small-group or company-wide meetings. You can record the meetings for later viewing or share them with team members who missed the live call.
Zoom’s chat feature is helpful for large group sessions because it allows staff to ask questions without interrupting the speaker’s flow.
In a recent update, Zoom joined the generative AI (GAI) movement with its AI Companion – available to all paid subscribers. The AI Companion offers text-based support features like meeting transcription and summarization that improve note-taking and help people catch up on missed information.
Remote teams should continue to keep their eye on Zoom and its AI capabilities as additional enhancements are in the works.
Why we like Zoom for remote team management: Remote managers can use screen sharing to collaborate on projects or provide training that’s just as effective as in-person training. Zoom also has a new whiteboard feature that offers another way to brainstorm ideas during calls.
Best team communication tool: Slack
Slack is a team messaging tool that makes email look like snail mail – and its new interface aims to make team communication even more efficient.
Team members can send messages back and forth on Slack in real-time or asynchronously. Slack direct messages can be one-on-one between coworkers or a group message to all members involved in a project.
Managers can designate Slack channels for group messaging on specific topics, such as “announcements” and “quarterly planning”. Team leaders can also track and reference specific channels and conversations to monitor workflows.
The new “Slack canvas” feature provides another way for remote colleagues to work together on Slack. Teams can log meeting notes, list action items and share resources in a dedicated evergreen space.
Slack isn’t just for immediate team members, though. External conversations can also take place on Slack, with the capability to invite vendors or clients to a shared Slack channel.
Why we like Slack for remote team management: Slack is more than just an instant messenger for the workplace. Teams can hold “huddles” for quick audio-first communication through the Slack app, an alternative for when another video call isn’t necessary.
Best video messaging tool: Loom
Loom is a screen recording and messaging tool that allows managers to record and share video messages with a camera bubble easily.
Loom is great for recording quick training videos or giving fast individual feedback.
For example, you could send a Loom to deliver constructive criticism when a staff member submits a draft for you to review. Sending a Loom in response humanizes your message and can soften what may sound too harsh through text.
Loom also makes it easy to share announcements with your entire team, which allows for more nuance than an email alone can provide. Viewers can show their support or ask questions in response to the broadcast by leaving comments or reactions.
Loom’s new feature, Loom AI, supports creating better videos with text summaries and new ways to edit and enhance videos.
Remote managers should keep an eye open for fresher updates, such as the ability to merge multiple Looms and find videos based on their transcripts.
Why we like Loom for remote team management: Loom is a great way to grow remote company culture without holding a live meeting each time there is news to share, a topic to teach or a new process to explain. It allows for greater team connections as viewers can leave comments in response to videos.
Best project management tool: Trello
Trello is a project management software that allows remote managers to set up boards, create lists, use cards to create workflows and assign tasks to team members.
Trello helps team leaders manage projects by visually laying them out together so all team members can see them and meet deadlines.
Managers can then monitor projects in a board, timeline or calendar format. Premade templates such as “New Hire Onboarding” and “Distributed Team Brainstorming” make Trello even easier for remote team management.
Trello’s AI Butler offers no-code automation that lets you easily set up actions by creating rules, buttons and commands.
Trello Power-Ups offer even more functionality by bringing other apps and additional features to life inside Trello. For example, the Planyway Power-Up supports building a visual timeline to help managers track and manage teamwork across different projects.
Why we like Trello for remote team management: Trello is a top “lightweight” project management tool, offering a free plan for budget-friendly project management. Trello also integrates well with other tools, like the Pipedrive-Trello integration.
Tips and strategies for managing remote employees
Remote team management strategies are similar to in-office leadership methods but many require different execution methods.
Consider these tips for onboarding, workload management and ongoing team training that support building an engaged and successful remote team.
The remote onboarding experience is important for helping new employees feel connected despite the distance and developing remote team cohesion.
Car insurance company Clearcover does this well.
The Clearcover team shared with Comparably that they follow a specific onboarding process to ensure all team members feel welcome and supported. It looks like this:
Human resources sends a welcome video, Clearcover swag and self-paced setup videos to enable new hires to configure their new computers at their own pace before they start
New employees meet virtually with IT to verify their computers are set up correctly and to fix any issues
Clearcover’s management holds a company overview session to demonstrate core values and operating principles
New hires attend a benefits session to review plans and get enrolled
Senior executives invite new hires to a quarterly virtual coffee and icebreaker session
Clearcover’s onboarding process gets new hires acquainted with each other, leadership and executives, which sends a strong message of positive team culture and connection right from the start.
Additional Onboarding Tips
Onboarding is the best time to set clear expectations surrounding work hours and communication response time. Providing procedures and reference guides will further aid your new employee’s success.
New-to-remote employees can benefit from role-specific and remote-specific training that helps new hires see the importance of managing their work-life balance. Boundaries are key to avoiding burnout, as it’s easier to overwork when your office is in your home.
Manage workload for remote teams.
Managing workloads for remote teams requires using tools for collaboration and project management as we discussed in detail above.
Open communication with your team is the second aspect of effectively managing remote workloads.
It’s important to hold one-on-ones to check in with your staff, ask for their input and provide feedback. Catching up with team members is not about micromanagement but about building trust between managers and their subordinates through supportive management practices.
One-on-one meetings aren’t the only way to support your team's success at work.
Group projects and virtual coworking sessions build employee engagement and avoid leaving employees feeling siloed or isolated in the remote environment.
Recruiting company DotConnect does this well across their globally distributed remote workforce.
According to reports on Comparably, DotConnect’s CEO and leadership team host weekly office hours where employees can drop in for hot seat coaching, support or brainstorming.
The leadership team also holds monthly “all hands” meetings to share business updates and milestones, recognize employees and follow through on their commitment to conscious leadership principles.
DotConnect’s dedicated “culture connect” team plans various activities for team social interactions that foster employee engagement.
Manage ongoing training for remote teams.
Remote managers need to think about how they can support their team’s ongoing success in their roles and facilitate career progression aligned with company goals.
Enterprise experience platform Medallia Experience Cloud does this well. Medallia holds “Feel Good Fridays”, where employees are encouraged to leave their Friday schedules light on meetings to carve out time to focus on professional development.
Ongoing training in the remote setting may be direct training from a manager or using resources like LinkedIn Learning, books, webinars or industry-relevant courses.
The skills and qualities of great remote team managers
Remote managers need to wear many hats to bridge the gaps presented by remote work. Being an effective communicator is among the most important.
Text-based communication is arguably the most popular form of remote communication, with the prevalence of emails, comments and instant messaging. However, it is easy to misinterpret as recipients cannot read tone and body language.
Remote managers must pay attention to how they deliver sensitive messages to their staff. Text is often best for tactical and task-related communication, but a video call is best if the message is more nuanced or requires tone to convey accurately.
Let’s explore some more skills and qualities of great remote team managers.
Open communication with your direct reports supports deeper workplace relationships and understanding.
Asking staff early on about their preferred learning and management styles is one way to facilitate open dialogue. It’s equally important to be transparent about your communication preferences and management style.
Your team must be able to trust you if you want them to value your leadership. Remote managers can foster trust by giving their staff feedback, showing them they value their contributions and being respectful and gracious for their work.
Effective remote managers must be empathetic. One way to show your staff empathy is proactively asking them how they are doing and how you can support their well-being in the workplace.
Managers can establish an “open door” for any issues and use reassuring language that shows they hear your staff’s concerns, that you care, and that you’ll help them find a solution.
Flexibility in remote management is essential as it’s one of the primary reasons people choose remote work.
Remote managers can embrace flexible working hours to help everyone, from caregivers to those with health needs, bring their best selves to work.
Cultural awareness and inclusivity are essential for all teams but even more so for distributed teams where workers can span across different countries.
Remote managers can practice cultural awareness and inclusion by respecting other cultures’ holidays and understanding differences in cultural etiquette.
Note: Diverse and inclusive business practices aren’t just good for positive team culture, they’re also good for business. According to Gartner research, diverse and inclusive teams see a 12% increase in performance.
It’s down to managers to help their teams move metrics in the right direction. When you’re operating away from the office, you’ll need to learn innovative ways to motivate the team toward those goals.
For example, you could use gamification apps, like Gamifier, to create challenges. Employees don’t need to be in one place to watch their progress; it all happens remotely.
In addition to business goals, remote team managers should also consider their team members’ individual goals. For example, if one team member indicates they’d like to be a manager, you can create a roadmap toward their goals and gradually give them more responsibilities.
Organizational skills are paramount for all team leaders. When operating away from an office, it’s even more important.
As a remote team manager, you may be overseeing staff in multiple time zones with different working habits and various needs. You’ll need a good organizational system to keep on top of projects, especially when you can’t hop across the hall to check in.
Technology can help keep remote managers on track. Learn more about Pipedrive’s team CRM.
Managing time zone differences for remote teams requires flexibility, communicating asynchronously, scheduling regular meeting times that take everyone’s availability into consideration and using tools to track time zone differences.
Successful remote teams have a mix of ways to communicate synchronously (e.g., real-time communication via video conferencing) and asynchronously (e.g., delayed responses through email, Slack and shared documents).
Remote team management can get better through technology and collaboration tools for strategic project management, remote communication and team-building activities depending on the team’s specific challenge.
The soft skills that remote team management requires are similar to in-office management, but remote managers must be more intentional about communication and fostering team cohesion.
Remote work wasn’t a temporary pandemic response – it’s here to stay. Even without face-to-face interaction at the water cooler, remote managers can build connections and encourage teamwork using the right tools and strategies.
Pipedrive can help your remote team with various tasks, from lead generation to customer onboarding.