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How Do I Set Remote Work Expectations?

Setting remote work expectations keeps your team in sync, even when they’re apart. As a project manager, it also helps you and your team achieve the clarity needed for remote work success. 

Setting remote work expectations for more successful teams 

If you've been thinking, "how do I set remote work expectations?" within your team and organization, here are tips to guide you.

1) Be intentional about communication

Communication is crucial to remote working success. You must be clear and intentional about it from the start. Let your teammates know how, when, and where they can easily reach you and each other. Here are a few questions to ask and consider when setting expectations about communications in your remote teams. 

  • What are your chosen communication channels and tools for the team? Is it email or Slack or a collaborative workspace like Wrike? A remote team should have specific, well-known communication tools to curate and retrieve important files and messages. 
  • Will there be fixed meeting times? When are these? Or do you meet based on relevance and urgency? In this case, who can set these meetings, and who sends out the announcement?
  • When there is an emergency, how do you contact each other?
  • How do you share important updates?

2) Agree on work hours

Although your team is working from home, you don't want your employees sitting at their desks for eight hours straight. Depending on each person's role or position, they may have more or less flexibility. To set the right remote work expectations, it is necessary to include the following in your remote work agreement.

  • Does the team work at the standard hours of 9 am-5 pm? Or they can choose to work at flexible hours?
  • Do employees need to clock work hours in a log?
  • Do employees in different timezones work the standard work hours in their time zone or company HQ or manager's timezone?
  • How do team members inform others if they have to be unavailable?

3) Be clear about product outcomes and expectations

In remote teams, it is essential to set standards regarding your employees' performance and output. What results are they expected to achieve in their roles? What is the timeframe for achieving these results? Team milestones and deliverables should be realistic and attainable. 

4) Create targets for each employee

At this point, you have agreed on the team and organizational expectations. But how do employees know when they're falling short of targets? What metrics and KPIs measure their success? Letting everyone know their targets keeps everyone on their toes and gives enough intrinsic motivation to manage their time effectively. 

5) Decide your remote team inclusiveness

Even within remote teams, there is a need for cooperation and camaraderie. Here are key questions to set remote work expectations on team inclusiveness.

  • How will we ensure active engagement in team meetings?
  • How do we welcome new members to the team?
  • What communication channels do we use for work conversations?
  • How do we handle lunches and outings?
  • Will we ever have a physical team meeting?
  • Do we use the video option for virtual meetings or allow voice only?
  • How do we ensure every team member is engaged? 

Setting remote work expectations keeps everyone on your team aligned, confident, and ready to contribute their best and achieve their goals.