Managing Remote Teams

Nandini Dutt

Engineering Manager at Facebook



"Remote work can be challenging. The hardest part is establishing a relationship and trust, but once you have that, things will work out and you learn to weather the ups and downs."

Actions taken

  • "I like to have 'water cooler' sessions with my team so we can come together for a reprieve after an intense morning or afternoon of working from home."
  • "One thing you can do is create a summit, budget constraints willing, and fly all the remote people on your team to one of their sites. They can host something of their own and you can switch to a new place and host each time."
  • "I make sure each of my remote members receives all the important information that anyone in headquarters would receive. I even spent my own money mailing them some company swag that was being given out in the office."
  • "I try to get to know a bit about my employees and make small talk about how their personal life is going; if they are comfortable doing so of course. Likewise, be vulnerable with them by sharing a little bit more about yourself too. You do not always have to put up a perfect front."
  • "I make sure to invest in talking about growth plans and reminding remote employees of their positive contributions, as well as, places where they can continue developing. It doesn’t have to be very detailed. A list of three strengths and growth areas would help any employee not feel so lost."
  • "I have had the contributions from our remote employees made known to the rest of the organization by using All hands and other such forums."

Lessons learned

  • "It is important to break up the monotony of the day by having small social discussions. Outside of discussion, I’ve had people show off their pets, twin sisters, and other random things that come up between us."
  • "Not everybody’s bandwidth is good enough for video calls, so if they turn the video off, it is important to make sure they are heard in the meeting."
  • "Keeping remote workers up to date on important information and sending them small gifts of appreciation puts a smile on their face and gives them a sense of belonging."
  • "A large summit at the headquarters can make people feel much smaller and they may leave not understanding everything."
  • "I have discovered that not being perfect makes you more human and the more human you are, the more relatable you become."
  • "Growth plans and progress updates allow remote workers to feel recognized and foster ideas for further growth. They may, in turn, ask themselves, 'Why?', 'What can I do about it?', 'How can I show I have grown?', and 'What is the reward past that?'."

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Nandini Dutt

Engineering Manager at Facebook

CommunicationTeam & Project Management

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