This article was submitted by Isaac Kohen and does not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork.


Remote work is one of the fastest growing topics of recent years. The Internet is plugged with remote work success workshops and pictures of bloggers working from different places.

As a founder, I have often pondered how these individuals remain productive in such environments. Don’t misunderstand me. As a remote leader, I have worked from coffee shops, co-working spaces and the occasional beach. A focus on open culture, utilizing your productive hours, and creating stress-free environments will ultimately make us better and more efficient workers.

Greater productivity and diversity are a few advantages of remote workers. When employees are unproductive, that costs a company time and money. Using data and analytics to understand the most productive hours, we can help increase productivity. Also, diversity feeds creativity and innovation, which is one of the key factors in being a high-performing company in today’s world. As a remote company, you can hire from diverse environments and backgrounds.

Straight-forward tips to build remote team success

Without high-quality talent, our brilliant startup ideas would never make it off the paper. When working with a remote team, as a leader, I’ve encountered new challenges that weren’t in the traditional management books. I sought to answer questions like: How do I motivate a dispersed remote team? How do I communicate our goals to individuals I never see?

I encountered these challenges many times in my remote leadership career. Here are a few tips from what I learned.

Don’t forget the importance of communication

Communication needs to be clearer, more creative and more frequent when working with a remote team. It’s easy to become disconnected and feel isolated when you never see team members. Here are a few ways I fill this gap with active communication:

  • Meet with individual team members tri-monthly to have an open conversation about personal goals, improvements, and successes to celebrate.
  • Review tasks and priorities on a weekly basis. We also send each other short messages and updates daily using communication app Telegram.
  • Keep a written record and detailed task sheets, which everyone can access, so we never a doubt of what a remote worker should be working on.

But people aren’t machines. Completing tasks is important, but I also believe in the importance of communicating how a team’s individual tasks contribute to the larger vision of the company. This gives us purpose. It’s important to answer the ‘why’ question. Why are we doing this?

No trust, no team

Remote work is fundamentally rooted in the idea of team trust. When you have team members working across distances and time zones, you need to trust that they are doing the work necessary.

Building trust can be as simple as not asking for updates every day, or allowing team members to explore and research new opportunities for the company. Also, when we start to trust each other, we start to respect each other. I build respect and trust with my remote team by actively celebrating when they do something well. When an employee hits an achievement, I congratulate them in the Telegram public forum and verbally mention it in weekly meetings. Team members never have a doubt of how valued and trusted they are.

Insightful tips to help build your personal remote success

As a leader, I put in the effort of creating a prosperous virtual environment for remote worker success. However, half the challenge of being successful in this environment belongs to the individual worker.

1. Be mindful of your productive hours

Stop and think. When do you produce the best work? I produce the best work first thing in the morning and later in the evening. You can gain insight into these peak productive hours through a productivity software. Once you know your best hours, save that time for your most intensive work.

2. Create a quiet and mindful environment, but remember to change the environment

The brain benefits from breaking from routine. I benefit when I work on low-creative tasks in a noisy environment like a coffee shop, because it creates an environment of action and connectedness to other humans. Be mindful of your environment.

3. Be social

We become less productive and build feelings of isolation when we work from one environment for extended periods of time. Even if it’s a safe environment, we must mix it up. I like to actively put myself in social situations. I meet with a group of business leaders weekly for coffee to discuss current trends in the industry, current challenges and share ideas. Being social is good.

These are my few tidbits of advice from the trenches of a seasoned company founder working with many remote team members. It’s important to create beneficial environments for both your team and yourself to continue to thrive as a remote worker.


This article was submitted by Isaac Kohen and does not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork. Find out how you can publish your content on Upwork.