Managing the remote organization

Many of us have been facing the responsibility of managing the remote organization for the past several months. For most of us, we thought this period would be brief and that we would return to our traditional means sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, the realities of a surge in the pandemic have made a situation where we will likely be managing remotely for quite some time. The fact is that we can no longer treat this management reality as a stopgap. We must adapt. With that in mind here are three critical concepts for managing the remote organization.



Remote organizations often suffer from communication problems. When we work in a traditional office environment, we have a greater amount of time to interact and communicate every day. This means we learn more about each other, not only our capabilities but also our personalities, drives, and challenges. When we move to a remote work setting these finer points of communication are often lost. We need to focus on deliberate communication, taking the time to talk to people, understand them, and ensure that we are doing the best for and with them.


As the saying goes, when something is out of sight it is also often out of mind. This is especially true in the remote organization. Many managers are used to being able to take a quick look and see how things are going. We trust in things getting done. But the remote organization faces a slew of difficulties and challenges not faced in a traditional workcenter. Establishing clear accountability is a remedy to this. Acknowledge and reward great work. Empower employees through ownership of processes. Hold people accountable for their results and be publicly accountable for yours as well.


Honesty is vital to organizational success. It also begins with the top levels of management. This is a problem often faced in traditional organizations that becomes even more challenging to remote ones. You need to make sure that every part of the process is transparent to the organization. When they see you and they know that you’re leading by example, they will emulate that example and it will be smooth sailing. Fostering transparency increases transparency throughout your organization.

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