How To Create An Office Environment When Working Remotely

Outsite Members share their best tips for working in remote teams.

Published on
March 26, 2020

In an office, communication tends to be easy - when you're remote, a lot of the natural conversation that happens is lost. We asked 10 Outsite Members to share their most usable tips for efficiently working together as a team, when working remotely.

'Communication is everything. The way that people feel truly left out is when they aren't communicating as much. So Slack all the time and not just about work stuff. Slack a funny tweet, or a joke, or check in over video chat. If you're having an in depth conversation with a team in the office, throw a little summary into slack so your remote people aren't left behind. The more human contact you can have, the better.'

Alex Baker-Whitcomb, Manager of Audience Development at WIRED Magazine

'Use a weekly all team meeting, be extra personable in emails/Slack, and make sure you have a great on-boarding process (this is so they understand the company culture when you hire them).'

Jessica Holsapple, SCG Consulting Group

'A sense of collaboration and teamwork is absolutely necessary to create a healthy remote team environment. Promoting team communication as well as communication between colleagues is essential in helping people to feel more connected and have a sense of belonging and ownership with the company.'

Amber Haworth, CM Group/Compliance Monitor

'Trust your team. You can't be looking over their shoulders at all times. Give them the ability to succeed, or fail, and trust that you have the right team in place. Celebrate their success. Help them learn from their failures. But if you find that team members take advantage of their remote environment and don't take the work seriously, find new team members.'

Ethan Wall, President of The Social Media Law Firm

'Communicate often - do short standup 10-15min calls daily to catch up on tasks of the day, blockers, and questions.

Plan often - do a call on Mondays to plan the week's priorities.

Create clear monthly goals & KPIs that are re-iterated every week at the planning meeting.

Meet in person at least once and ideally every couple of weeks or months to create team bonding experiences. It's not the same to work remotely with someone behind a computer than to work remotely with someone who you've met. The barriers you break in person mean you can talk more freely once you're both online.'

Anais Tadlaoui, Head of Marketing at Just


'Put communication tools in place ASAP and make sure their use is clear. Tools like Voxer, Slack, Trello and Front make this a lot easier. Set a meeting cadence so your team knows when they can count on connecting with you and they’re not reaching out all the time. They know they can bring it to your meeting if it needs to be discussed.'

Kelsey Goobie, Customer Success Lead at Dan Martell

'1. Communication: There's no such thing as oversharing when you're working remotely. My team provides important updates whenever possible, to keep everyone abreast in the need-to-knows, but also, to help keep ourselves accountable.

2. Transparency: This ties into communication, but being transparent means letting people know when you need help or when you're stuck with something. There's no shame in raising your hand for help.

3. Find what works for you: I am far more productive in my remote job than I ever was working in an office. An office has many distractions, including coworkers and meetings... or micromanaging bosses. On top of that, there's this huge misconception that just because you're at a desk, you're working. Without the pressure to constantly be physically glued to my desk and working in designated hours, I am able to work when I am most productive.

4. Trust: There's a lot of trust involved in remote work, from employers and employees, but that in itself is motivating. It feels good to know that my employer trusts that I will get my work done, and with the care and attention it needs. They don't need to babysit me. Likewise, I trust that I will get the support I need. It's a great feeling.'

Lily Rouff, Social Media Strategist at DuckDuckGo

'Since the early days of MyLibrarian / In the Stacks, we have been a fully remote team, working with 23 interns (for credit) and 14 contract employees at various times during the last five years. Creating a structured and manageable environment is key. We post new tasks on Sunday/Monday and check in on them on Wednesday/Thursday, and trust employees to work independently most of the week. It works great for our small team.'

Michelle Zaffino, Founder of MyLibrarian

'Dive deeper into organizational development, and personal growth and use those concepts to build strong aligned motivated incentivized teams. Have a daily stand up huddle with all team members where everyone shares their wins from yesterday, their challenges from yesterday and what their 3 goals for the day are.  Make the meetings a place of contact for remote distributed work teams.'

John Vitale, Co Founder at Focus at Will

'Lots of open communication!

I like having a weekly team meeting for high level updates and to establish action items, as well as one-on-one check-in meetings with direct contributors to build relationships and support them as necessary.

I’ll track topics being discussed via email and drop them into OneNote as an agenda topic for our meeting that week, then communicate the agenda at least 24 hours before the call, so team members can come prepared. This way, unless a group email chain is urgent and critical, we can follow up on the topic in our recurring meeting where we can review and discuss what was said, take a decision and move forward. I find this approach more effective and productive than drawn out email exchanges can be (especially with a big CC/To Group). Those chains have a tendency to get confusing quickly, people are less likely to contribute their thoughts and feathers can unintentionally be ‘ruffled’ due to misunderstandings in context and tone.

WhatsApp is also a great messaging service to use when you interface with multiple teams in a fast paced work environment. I use a variety of group chats (by discipline/department) and private chats, with both colleagues and with friends. Specifically, I love the ability to identify which message it is you're responding to and voice notes are incredibly useful when you’re on the run or want to provide detailed context to a topic! Naturally, people send photos and memes which makes it fun too.'

Jason Campbell, Owner of Next Generation Hospitality 

Want more tips on remote work? Check out how to transition to remote work, or our productivity hacks you can try from home.

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