Beyond Borders: Building a Cohesive Remote Team Environment

May 14, 2024

Remote work wraps our professional lives in flexibility and comfort. In 2023, Forbes reported about 12.7% of employees hold full-time jobs from their homes, and 28.2% follow a hybrid work schedule, showcasing the swift adoption of remote work trends.

However, let's be honest—it comes with its own set of hurdles. Feeling ineffective or out of the loop? We've all been there. The good news? Cultivating a thriving remote team space brimming with connection and productivity is possible. Here's how we fine-tuned our virtual office culture to keep everyone engaged and working harmoniously, no matter the miles between us.

Complexities of Remote Work

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are swapping the office for the comfort of our own homes. But remote work isn't all pajamas and flexible hours; it comes with unique hurdles. Here are five typical challenges of remote work management: 

1. Tricky Nature of Communication

Without the nuances of face-to-face conversations, it's easy for messages to lose their intended meaning. Think about a time when a text message got misunderstood. That's a daily reality for remote workers who rely heavily on written words.

2. Coordination Conundrum

Imagine juggling a meeting when half of your team is just starting their day, and the other half is winding down. It's like coordinating a family dinner when everyone's on a different eating schedule. Remote work amplifies this issue, demanding extra effort to get everyone on the same page.

3. Connected But Disconnected

Then there's the connection, or sometimes, the lack thereof. Remote workers can feel like they're on an island, far away from the daily buzz of office life. It's like being the only one not invited to the party, which can be a lonely place.

4. Creativity Block

Creativity might also take a hit. Those random "aha!" moments at the watercooler are harder to come by when everyone's watercooler is their own kitchen sink. Without spontaneous conversations and brainstorming sessions, coming up with fresh ideas can be a tougher nut to crack.

5. Culture Gap

Lastly, we can't overlook culture. Creating a vibe that resonates with everyone is tough enough as it is. Now imagine fostering that same sense of belonging and shared values without a common physical space to bring it all together. It's like nurturing a garden without being able to feel the soil in your hands.

5 Proven Strategies for Remote Team Management

We've had quite the ride at Trove, managing teams from afar. It's been packed with both hurdles and breakthroughs. We've picked up some solid tactics along the way, and we're excited to pass them on to you – they're the result of us getting the hang of this whole remote work thing. 

1. Overlapping Hours 

Working on time zones can feel like a tricky puzzle, especially in remote teams where everyone seems scattered across the map.  

So, we embraced the notion of shared time, committing to a solid four-hour overlap, regardless of where our laptops perch. This isn't about chaining ourselves to our desks; it's about smart sync-up time. Whether we're early birds or night owls, finding common ground in those overlapping hours has made all the difference.

Sure, it took some adjusting. Coordinating schedules among a diverse crew takes finesse—not to mention a good dose of patience. But the payoff of that teamwork tune-up is crystal clear: better communication, project continuity, and a sense that, no matter the miles between us, we're all in this together.

2. Over Communication

Ever played a game of telephone and chuckled at the final message? In remote teams, that garbled message isn't as funny—it can cost time and money. Overcommunication has emerged as the surprisingly simple band-aid to fix this. It's the art of saying it once, twice, maybe thrice, to ensure everyone's nodding in agreement—not in confusion. Yes, it can feel like a broken record, but those repeated tunes are music to the ears of clarity and understanding.

Repeat after me: overcommunication isn't excessive; it's essential. Keep that conversation loop spinning, and watch as your team's harmony hits a perfect pitch.

3. Documentation, Documentation, Documentation

Asynchronous documentation is like leaving a note on the fridge—your teammate can read it and reply when they're up and about. This way, no one wakes up at 3 AM for a meeting. Instead, updates are given and received on everyone's time, ensuring no one is ever out of the loop.

Ever had a "I swear you said Tuesday" moment? Effective documentation stomps out those he-said-she-said headaches. It's about clear, thorough records — meeting minutes, project plans, and even watercooler chat recaps. When something's written down, there's no room for "I thought you meant…" moments. It’s the breadcrumb trail back to clarity, not just for now, but for when you’re scratching your head six months later.

4. Direct Communication

Ever felt your eyes glaze over from an endless barrage of texts? You're not alone. Those long-drawn-out text threads can be downright draining. Text messages often fall short when issues get complex, leading to misunderstandings, half-answers, and frustration.

Here's a thought—pick up the phone! Voice calls add a personal touch and emotion that texts can't. You hear real-time reactions tone nuances, and can volley back and forth until the problem gets tackled. It's a human-centric approach to troubleshooting, just like you would if you were huddled around a desk with your team.

5. Add Human Touch

Set up regular check-ins—these could be one-on-one chats or group huddles—so everyone can update on their progress and talk through any worries. From laying out what you expect to give helpful feedback, being crystal clear in your communication helps keep everyone on the same page. 

Give your team the gift of trust and the freedom to focus on results instead of clocking hours, and don’t forget the fun stuff! Virtual coffee breaks or online team games are great for keeping the team vibe strong. A pat on the back for well-done jobs goes a long way, too, just like lending an ear when needed. 

Embrace flexibility to account for everyone’s different styles and life demands. Start small, pick the practices your team needs, and build from there. And hey, sprinkling in some wisdom from the likes of Harvard Business Review and Forbes can spice up your remote leadership game!


Managing a remote team is a journey that's complex and nuanced. It's no secret that fostering camaraderie from a distance presents its own set of challenges. We're all social beings, and there's an undeniable magic in face-to-face interactions that's hard to replicate online. We've yet to uncover the perfect formula for virtually building that same warmth and rapport. Despite the obstacles, our commitment to creating a supportive and unified remote environment remains unwavering. We're on this path together, exploring new ways to connect and grow as a team beyond borders.