How to manage a remote agency without an office

A lot of agencies believe that they can only hire employees and provide services to clients if they have an office. The reality is that you don’t necessarily need one. Remote working is the reality of today’s business world.

As an owner, I know that running a remote agency can be great fun, but it also has its difficulties. That’s where a reliable workforce, a great product, and an effective system come into play. A bit of planning can help you avoid pitfalls and get the most out of your time.

This article goes through the different ways that you can manage an agency without a physical office. The following tips will help you manage your remote team to its fullest.

Problems you can face managing a remote team

Managing remote employees can be difficult. You don’t have the same level of visibility into their work and you may not be able to be present when they need to be managed. I learned a lot about managing a remote team in my years working, but it also took me quite a long time to learn these lessons.

There are numerous problems to face managing a remote team: from the time it takes to find everyone in the morning before starting work to the fact that technology can break down. The biggest ones are:

  • lack of communication;
  • low engagement;
  • unclear time-tracking.

Another challenge for people who work at small remote agencies is the lack of accountability. So, it’s not easy to manage a location-independent team. The good news is that you can easily deal with these situations, as long as you know what to do.

How to manage a remote team effectively?

The topic of managing a remote team is a frequent one in the world of business. An agency without an office is a very common business model, but operating without the constant supervision of a manager can be difficult.

When I started managing a remote agency, my biggest challenge was handling the workload and stress my employees experienced. I also wanted to make sure that they had everything they needed to do their jobs productively. So, I took the time to learn about remote working and the tools I needed to make it easier for my team to work efficiently.

If you are new to the world of management, here are some tips that will tell you how to manage a remote team.

#1. Improve communication

Communication in any organization is key to their success. It’s necessary to communicate with your employees. In my agency, I organize:

  • Team update. A general meeting when we’re talking about key tasks and personal wins of each member.
  • Morning sync. A short meeting for tasks update. Also, during morning sync we can talk about some problems.
  • Department sync. Two different departments make a call and discuss a project or a client to be on the same page.
  • One-to-one communication. Sometimes I make individual calls with employees. Usually, we’re talking about an emotional atmosphere in the agency, how they are doing in general, and stuff.

I strongly recommend turning on the video when talking in Zoom or Google Meet. Seeing each other’s emotions is the best way to create a confident and friendly atmosphere in your team.

#2. Create a virtual office environment

Communication breakdowns are a common problem. But I suggest a potential solution: it’s a chat app called Slack. It’s a simple way to let your entire team stay in touch and communicate in real-time. The beauty of Slack is that it’s designed for group communication. And since it’s so easy to use, everyone on the team can quickly get up to speed on the project.

You can build a custom channel for every project and then move the conversation there if it’s relevant. And everything is searchable, so you can easily find that discussion you were having a few days ago.

Also, in Slack, we have chat #random where every one of us can share an interesting article or even a funny meme. And if any team member needs to leave for about an hour two, he can write about his leaving in the chat #outofoffice.

#3. Offer subscriptions as a bonus

Now the trend is to get a corporate subscription to online services. It can be books, movies, music, meditation, and stuff. For example, my employees have subscriptions to Netflix and Deezer.

#4. Use project management tools

Project management tools are vital to managing a remote agency. It’s one of the few ways to ensure that your employees are performing as expected.

But there are more than a dozen tools for project management. Each claiming to be the best, while most gaining traction with their respective target audience. Which one is the best? There are some helpful project management tools:

  • Asana;
  • Trello;
  • Basecamp;
  • Nifty.

Tools from Google (Drive, Calendar, Meet) are also very useful for call planning and working with online files and documents.

#5. Make onboarding clear

If you’re hiring a new employee, explain to him all the nuances of the work process in detail. Don’t leave him alone with all difficulties, and he’ll integrate into the agency faster. That’s a good way to maintain a friendly environment.

#6. Come up with traditions

Even with the collaboration tools like Slack, it’s hard to get everyone on the same page. One of the best things to do is to come up with traditions. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, but it’s good to create a set of traditions that all of your employees can follow.

For example, you can meet offline sometimes. Of course, it can be a problem if you all are living in different cities or even countries. If offline meetings are impossible, you can organize training online. It will help you make everyone feel part of the team.


There’s no denying that a remote team of employees can be a huge benefit to many organizations. But it’s important to remember that managing location-independent employees is an entirely different beast than managing an in-office team. It can be a very difficult task. There are lots of aspects, and you have to be aware of all of them. You have to take care of the employees, projects, clients, and money. In this blog post, I’ve compiled the most important tips for remote management. Hope it will help you manage your team effectively.