Tips for remote teams

8 min read

This is a post about async communication, tools, and tips to keep a remote team based on my experiêncie and studies. We're not talking about a precise science, that said, I highly recommend to test the tips for some weeks and analyze the results with the help of the team feedback.

Async vs realtime

Try to keep the communication as much async as possible, assimilate that real-time chats are the same as meetings can help. Can you think about spending 8 hours a day in a meeting? In a real situation of extreme remote disorganization it can happen, as a result, the team productivity decreases.

Avoid using real-time tools, instead, try tools like Twist that basically organizes all the team communication by threads.

Like every developer teams have the culture to spend some time of the day doing code review, it will be necessary to implement the same culture to spend some time of the day checking all threads that they are participating and answer them/take actions if needed.

Use real-time tools in emergency situations like a bug in production, topics that really requires an answer in real time or day to day situations like:

and of course, informal conversations in groups or private.

One Monday

One Monday is a valid concept especially for teams in multiple timezones. The concept means that in an async communication I'm supposed to know that an answer can delay till 24 hours depending on the timezone of the rest of the team and company. I highly recommend that in emergency situations use real-time chats or video calls.

Talk with the right people

if you need to talk about marketing, send the message in the marketing group, start threads with only the right people related to the marketing topic or related to the topic that you want to discuss. In this way we avoid unnecessary distractions to the rest of the team.

Receiving notifications about everything all the time, besides being an unnecessary distraction, forces people to mute the communication channel or start ignoring it in order to be able to focus at the work, as a result, a bigger communication gap

Add groups by team and knowledge areas

Avoid creating groups to each topic or each task that needs to be discussed, in a matter of days this might turn in a big problem and nobody will know in which group answer, again increasing the communication gap.

Group examples by teams:

Group examples by knowledge areas:

Use groups by knowledge areas to increase engagement and knowledge sharing. It makes much more sense a front-end ask some questions about CSS in a group focused in front-end instead of asking in a general chat with everyone of the company or even in a group focused in the back-end.


A good way to know if someone is online or not is using chat status. Some tools, like Slack, enable the users to add more status besides only online/offline. A nice idea that my current team use and it is working well are the statuses:

imagem mostrando status pré definidos além de online ou offline

We can see the status next to the user name:

imagem mostrando status ao lado do nome do usário

imagem mostrando status ao lado do nome do usário em uma conversa real

In the example above, I know that the user Magdiel Duarte is offline, it means that even though I send a message to him the answers won't be instantaneous and that's okay! send the message in the same way and wait. If you really need an instantaneously answer always send in groups where more people can help.


Always uses video calls with video enabled, it increases the team engagement, makes people feel more comfortable with that moment and keep them focused.

C-Levels meetings

One of the techniques listed in the book "It doesn't have to be crazy at work" is a concept that 1 or 2 weekdays the C-levels are free for some hours to make meetings with anyone in the company, the time slots are somehow public to everyone, using google calendar for example. outside these time slots, meetings with C-levels are restricted to only urgent topics.

Do you remember about chats in real-time being considered meetings? Just imagine a day to day of a C-level answering people questions all the time, they wouldn't be able to work besides answering questions.

Daily Reports

Daily reports might be done either by video calls with video enabled or via text.

In a distribuited team in multiple timezones text is a good option. Tools like Status Hero help people to not forget to send the reports, save all daily reports in a nice dashboard and bring some interesting insights like general productivity by day.

Choosing Daily reports via video calls might increase the engagement, especially if the day to day doesn't have a lot of meetings.

In this case, I highly recommend testing the two ways and ask people feedback to choose one.

TIL - Today I learned

One of the main concerns, when people start working remotely, is the lack of knowledge sharing. Today I learned is a channel where people share knowledge whenever they think is worth it to share, not necessarily regards the company context and not necessarily every day.


One of the main concerns as well is about visibility when people start working remotely. Thanks is a channel where people can publically say thanks to a coworker about something he or she has done to help in any situation. Here's a good way to learn about someone's soft skills remotely, build an environment where people are grateful of each other, increasing team engagement.


Hero is a valid concept if the team needs to work with either external or internal support. The concept means that by each time period determined by the team one person is the hero, this person is responsable to talk directly with the support team, analyze and organize backlog tasks related and work to solve the problems.

With one person focused on it, the rest of the team can focus to work in new features or big refactors without interruptions to help the support team. It is used to better organize the team time between deep and shalow work, two other important concepts to study.

One of my references about remote work and deep work is the Doist company, where they apply these concepts. They have a nice blog and I highly recomend two posts about Deep Work and Hero + House Keeping.


One of the best ways to get a big picture of everything that is happening at the company is using the calendar.

I especially recommend google calendar, with google calendar it is possible to share everyone's calendars with everyone and in an easy way people can send you an invite to a meeting just looking at the free spots, without need to ask you. A good thing to do is to add at the calendar especially when you a not available, some companies ask you to even add personal things if it is during your "work hours". e.g:

John goes to the gym every day at 2 pm, so he can add it to the calendar to let people know that he isn't available between 2 pm - and 3 pm. If John doesn't feel comfortable to add "going to the gym" at the event description, he can put just "occupied".


Be careful with people micro-management, if you need to ask someone what they are working on, for sure we have a communication problem. The best scenario is to use one task management software or even excel sheets - what's making more sense for you - where each people can do one task at a time with clear status and within public access for everyone to.

FOMO - fear of missing out

This is a personal issue, that can happen or not depends on the person. But the company culture can help to decrease the cases to zero. The company can create a rule of 8 hours a day working and nothing more with only exceptions in urgent cases is a great start!

A culture where people are online 24 hours per day, work even at the weekends cannot be viewed as a good thing by the company and the team leaders. This brings people to a high risk of burnout which is a serious problem, and to the company represents a hight decrease in productivity in the medium and long term.

To the team:

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