How design & development teams can succeed working remotely

Do you work with remote team members?

From letting employees work from home to outsourcing tasks, such as web design and development, more companies are embracing remote work as part of their culture.

And it’s becoming more commonplace all the time. Almost half of Americans (43 percent) reported working from home at least some of the time in 2016, and 20 percent said they did all of their work from home, according to The Wall Street Journal.

That means chances are your company – if it hasn’t already – will soon embrace a remote workforce. But don’t worry, it’s not a big deal at all. There are plenty of tools available to help keep teams connected and ways to manage the remote culture. Plus, you might even find better collaboration and quality of work from employees or remote team members who can work where they want on their own schedules.

Here are some tips to make it work for you.

Pros of using a remote Team

The biggest benefit that comes with working with a remote team is that you can hire workers for specific tasks. Say you need a new website design or mobile app, but you don’t have anyone in-house.

Hiring a remote team to develop the product can be a great solution. You get to work with a group of highly-skilled experts for the duration of a project and don’t have to find things for them to do when the work is complete. It can be a bonus for your budget and help you find just the right team for very specific tasks.

Some of the most successful companies in the world, from Amazon to WordPress, use an extensive network of remote workers.

Managing remote teams

The key to a successful remote team environment is creating a culture where everyone is part of the project and willing to collaborate even when there is physical distance. While it can be a little tougher to build a culture among workers who aren’t in shared spaces, it is possible and can be quite rewarding.

Zapier is one company that has done just that and created a remote culture that helps employees thrive. The technology company has seven principles that are the basis of company culture, according to a blog post by Wade Foster. Here’s a synopsis of “How to Build Culture in a Remote Team”:

  1. Culture has to be built around something real.
  2. Culture is about how you work.
  3. Tools help collaboration (more on that in the next section).
  4. In-person meetings are important from time to time.
  5. Companies should have a local or community presence.
  6. Team members have to trust one another.
  7. Tasks must be accomplished.

It all sounds like the same concepts that would apply if every team member worked in the same building, right?

But today’s business culture is different. Employees want that freedom. Companies want workers for projects that aren’t necessarily long-term positions. That’s where remote teams can for a perfectly symbiotic relationship.

10 Tools to stay connected

One of the biggest obstacles to working remotely has always been a lack of communication or inability to take work with you. Both of those barriers have been removed for most projects, thanks to technology, fun communication tools and cloud-based storage and collaboration software.

Where do you start? What do you download first? These are some of the most useful tools available for teams with workers in multiple locations at once.

  1. Slack: More than just a messaging app, Slack includes a robust suite of add-ons and bots that can help from everything from meeting reminders to sharing files to chatting about projects or upcoming deadlines.
  2. LastPass: This enterprise-level tool is designed to keep organization information and access secure. Set up a password policy or grant access to certain information with powerful user management options.
  3. Agreedo: Create and share agendas, minutes and follow-ups for meetings that are more productive and take less time. (Plus, it integrates with Google and Outlook calendars.)
  4. Doodle: Speaking of meetings, there’s nothing worse than dozens of emails going back and forth to set a meeting time and date. Doodle lets you do it in one step with a quick poll that shows you the best days and times to schedule that chat.
  5. EveryTimeZone: Is a worker in another country in bed? Check before you call – and avoid odd communication glitches – with this tool that tracks local time in connection with actual time in countries all over the world.
  6. Google Hangouts: With so many people using the Google suite of products, it’s easy to hop on an in-person call or meeting with remote workers anywhere in the world. You can video chat and share documents for real-time collaboration.
  7. Dropbox: Share files, documents and pretty much anything in a secure environment that users can access (by invite) from anywhere.
  8. Todoist: The ultimate to-do list tool allows multiple users to work on projects, create and share tasks and automate it all right from your inbox.
  9. Skitch: Take and make notes that everyone can see with real-time annotations.
  10. iDoneThis: For teams that want to stay on top of projects and tasks, this tool provides an easy way to check-in daily and create progress reports to keep teams running efficiently.


Have you worked with an outsourced team or remote worker? If you haven’t, it might be time to reconsider that position. A remote team can help your internal team complete projects and allows you to hire an expert for tasks that aren’t within your company’s core competency.

It starts with the right mindset. Add in a few tools to ensure open lines of communication and a remote, outsourced team can be just the solution for which you’ve been looking.