COVID-19 has pushed more and more employees to work in a remote
environment. For this reason, organizations across the borders realize
the importance of setting up highly efficient, and manage globally
distributed teams.

A recent report on the state of remote work also suggests that in a survey conducted
for over 3500 remote workers from across the world a whopping 98% of
them unanimously agreed that they can continue to work remotely for the
rest of their careers.

While the benefits of a distributed work environment for employees are
many. It’s a challenge for employers to manage distributed or virtual
teams. To make it easier for you, we are listing some of the best
practices to help you

manage workflow
with your distributed teams better and make them feel as connected as
teams who work in a traditional/physical office setup.

8 Best Practices To Manage Workflow With Globally Distributed

Globally distributed teams are an evolving concept that essentially
refers to an organizational workforce being spread across multiple
locations across the world.

Since these teams aren’t using a central or physical workspace to get
the work done, they come into the category of a globally distributed

Below are some of the top tips to manage workflow with your remote
teams effectively-

1. Collaborate Effectively

One of the critical challenges in remote working that an increasing
number of organizations face; is the lack of communication. Because of
the distance, the teams often struggle with the normal pace of
conversations. In addition to that, a constant delay in messages can
affect multiple areas of business, including team collaboration.

Streamlining communication to collaborate effectively is, therefore,
the most important thing to build successful distributed teams. 

Make sure to create a space for sharing thoughts and updates, asking
queries, and build relationships. So that all the team members can
collaborate effectively and remain updated all the time.

Some of the ways you can collaborate effectively when your team is
working remotely include-

  • Keep the communication open, clear, and honest
  • Offer flexibility in terms of audio, video, and other modes of
    communication as and when needed
  • Conduct daily meetings and ask relevant questions to enable clear
    and transparent communication
  • Take every effort to be inclusive and make every employee feel
    valued and appreciated

2. Outline A Common Project Goal

Widely distributed teams often get lost in delivering only their share
of the task/project as per the organizational requirements, which
results in a lack of a common goal or a unified purpose.

It is, therefore, critical to outline a clear project vision that is
common to every employee throughout the organization. It should also
include the short-term as well as long-term business goals, expected
challenges, and benefits.

The idea here is to over-communicate without holding back any
information so that each of your team feels a sense of ownership about
the project and organization at large. Beyond the simple daily check-ins
with your employees, over-communicating is also imperative when it comes
to the team’s duties, responsibilities, and expected outcomes.

3. Leverage The Right Tools to Manage Globally Distributed Teams

To ensure high productivity and better work efficiency while managing
globally distributed teams, find and leverage the best communication

Since there is no dearth of options for remote working communication
solutions, it is vital to do thorough research to find the tools that
work best for your team.

Some of the options you can use for workflow automation include:

  • Project Management Tools: Asana, Basecamp, Jira, Trello
  • Document Storage Tools: Zoho, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneHub
  • Messaging Tools: Slack, Twist, Skype, Google Hangouts Chat
  • Video-Conferencing Tools:
    Skype Video, GoToMeeting, UberConference,
    Join. me
  • Calendars:
    Google Calendar for Business,, Teamweek/
    Toggl Plan

All the tools listed above are instant messaging tools to help you keep
all your communications visible in real-time for the entire team to see
and contribute.

4. Make Your Expectations Clear with Globally Distributed Teams

There are high chances of overlooking or misunderstanding an
instruction in a globally distributed environment due to a lack of
face-to-face communication. This makes it essential to set clear
expectations from the beginning while also agreeing on realistic tasks
and deadlines.

To ensure that the expectations you set are measurable, define clear
KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and expected timelines. So that your
employees have a clear idea of what they’re supposed to do. 

Additionally, make every effort to understand your team members on a
more personal level and try to build camaraderie among them. Some of the
ways to do work effectively include:

  • Encourage team members to share their opinions and schedule one on
    one virtual meetups with them on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Organize various virtual team building activities on a regular
  • Try to create a shared virtual space for expectation setting,
    celebrations, and other such events.

Setting clear expectations and requesting feedback from team members
ensure alignment and help your teams understand where they need to focus
their energy more.

5. Develop A Multi-Channel Meeting Environment

Staying connected through regular meetings is an essential aspect of
managing remote teams. Having a clear, accessible, and multi-channel
communication environment (desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablet,
smartwatch) plays a vital role in achieving this objective.

A report
also suggests that employees expect to have a consistent digital
experience irrespective of the location they work from. Managers,
therefore, should equip their remote teams with every possible meeting
tool that answers their specific needs.

For instance, Video chat and VOIP calls on the device of their choice
are an excellent way for building relationships between your team
members. As hearing a voice or seeing a face helps them create a more
personal connection. Further, these types of calls are also helpful when
you are having a conversation with your employees on sensitive or
confidential topics such as work performance.

6. Agree On Time Zones And Boundaries to Effectively Manage Globally
Distributed Teams

Striking a work-life balance is one of the most challenging aspects of
remote working. For employees without the luxury of a home office and
who use the same device for work and personal use, it becomes all the
more challenging as they find it hard to disconnect when work is

Further, time zone differences are a common hurdle for globally
distributed teams. However, how effectively your team deals with these
differences can make all the difference to its overall productivity and

For instance, your team member working in a totally different timezone
might not be available to take or answer any urgent queries, and pushing
them to work beyond the working hours can affect their morale

It is, therefore, essential to agree on time boundaries and respect the
time zones in which your teams work. Make sure to set clear timelines on
when the work ends and begins again or allow people working in different
continents to work according to their time zones.

The team should also be given the flexibility to decide on how long
they can take to respond to a query, an email, or a message. This
ensures the continuity of business without letting any request or query
go unattended for long while also giving a certain breather to

7. Streamline The Process Of Employee Performance Tracking

While working remotely, every employee has a different approach towards
their work, and a
one-size-fits-all method may not help here.

Therefore, to keep track of the productivity of your distributed teams,
make sure to observe employee performance systematically. Some of the
ways to do this include:

  • Circulate a work tracker wherein every team member records their
    activities daily. This helps you to create an optimal work
    environment for them and also to understand their specific needs, if
  • Set definite tasks with submission deadlines so that the team
    members feel motivated and driven to complete the work within the
  • Use time and attendance software to help you gain a better
    understanding of their working patterns.

8. Have Regular Facetime to Manage Globally Distributed Teams

Managers who are successful in their remote leadership endeavors make
more frequent use of video conferencing to establish the face-to-face
interaction. This is what, is now lacking in a virtual work

It is crucial to build a system where you get your entire team to come
together in one place on a regular basis-quarterly, half-yearly, or
annually. While this can be overwhelming and challenging in equal
measures. The benefits of bringing your team together far outweigh the
constraints. However, it can help you build a stronger workforce in the

Apart from giving employees a chance to connect with each other and
build stronger work relationships. It also makes them feel motivated,
appreciated, and part of a close-knit team and improves their

Bottom Line

With remote working becoming a way of life, it is pretty clear that
distributed teams are here to stay. While there are many benefits of
working in a distributed team, such as attracting and retaining top
talent. The concept does come with its own set of unique

To ensure that your globally distributed teams remain as productive and
efficient as a traditional workforce, it is essential to address these
challenges from the beginning. 

Inculcating the above best practices allows you to build a robust
distributed work environment. That benefits not only your employees and
stakeholders but also the end-users.