By Syed Balkhi, founder of WPBeginner.

One of the biggest obstacles of managing a remote team is getting a bunch of strangers from different cities and countries to collaborate on your projects. Unlike in an office environment, your remote team may rarely get a chance to talk to each other or get to know each other. As a result, some team members might not be able to work well with others when collaborating on projects. This often leads to bad communication, misunderstandings and terrible project outcomes.

However, many brands and businesses, including Buffer,   Zapier, InVision and my own already employ fully remote teams to run 100 percent remote companies. How do we do this? What kind of tools and strategies do we use to boost collaboration? I'll let you in on the secrets.

Use the Right Project Management Tools

Emails and Excel spreadsheets aren't going to work when you're managing a team of remote workers. You need something more advanced to manage each team member and keep track of your projects. We use Asana for this job. With Asana, you can encourage your team to work more efficiently by assigning project tasks to each and every team member. This way, everyone in your team will have a task to work on and you'll be able to track their progress using the same tool.

If your team handles projects that involves sharing large files, you will need a cloud storage where your entire team can easily access all project files. You can use Dropbox or Google Drive for this task.

When choosing project management tools, don't pick the tools that suit you the most. Be sure to think about the convenience of your team as well.

Conduct Weekly Meetings

Who says you can't have weekly or daily meetings with remote teams? Team meetings are an important aspect of maintaining a healthy company culture and connecting with team members. Zoom is one of the most popular tools you can use to conduct daily or weekly meetings with your team. It allows you host an unlimited number of virtual meetings with up to 100 participants for free.

Holding weekly meetings will ensure that your remote team feels like they're part of a true team and give them a chance to share their own ideas.

Replace Internal Emails With Slack

Email is a great marketing tool and an effective way to reach someone. But it's not the best way to communicate as a team. You can never keep track of your conversations when there are multiple threads of emails piled up in your inbox.

We use Slack as our main communication tool. This allows us to keep track of each other's conversations and collaborate on projects more easily. Recently, we took things to the next level using a Slack bot for our daily standup meetings. The bot simply asks team members about what they have planned for the day and what they did the previous day in a dedicated channel. This simple implementation has sparked impromptu brainstorming sessions and increased collaboration. For example, if someone feels overwhelmed, other team members will message the employee to pitch in and offer to help.

Use Yearly Retreats to Bond With Your Team

Every team needs some time off. Even if your team members live scattered across the country, plan a yearly retreat where you can get together and connect with your team at least once a year.

Every year, we take our team on a company retreat. This often helps us discover hidden talents and allow us to bond with each and every member of the team. More importantly, this helps our team to recharge and get back to work with new energy and excitement. Plan a retreat to take your remote team on a small vacation. Tell them how much you value their work in person. You don't have to spend a fortune on a retreat. Rent an Airbnb cabin and go fishing. It's more than enough to have some fun.

In the end, it's all about creating a true team feeling within your remote team to help each member feel like a part of your company. Don't always put this responsibility on your team manager. As a founder and/or CEO, you should also occasionally connect with team members individually to motivate and appreciate their hard work.  

Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site that helps small businesses start their website.

Published on: May 3, 2018