9 Effective Strategies for Managing Dispersed Creative Teams

In today’s digital landscape, remote work is no longer an exception but a norm. This transformation brings unique challenges, particularly for creative teams that thrive on collaboration and spontaneous idea generation. Managers of creative professionals working hybrid or remote can enhance productivity by following these best practices.

1. Establish Core Hours Across Time Zones

One of the primary challenges of remote work is coordinating across different time zones. Set core hours that accommodate team members in various locations. For instance, a team with a manager in the Pacific Time Zone and members on the East Coast might set core hours from 10 am to 2 pm Pacific Time. This ensures that everyone is available for meetings and collaboration during these hours, regardless of their individual time zones.

2. Offer Flexibility

Flexibility is a significant advantage of remote work. Allowing team members to work when they are most productive enhances creativity and job satisfaction. For instance, a creative individual might generate their best ideas late at night or early in the morning. By offering the flexibility to work during their peak hours, managers can help their team members perform at their best.    

3. Set Realistic Expectations

Managing a dispersed team requires realistic expectations about deadlines and work schedules.   For instance, define what "end of day" means across different time zones. This flexibility helps in setting achievable deadlines and reduces stress among team members.

4. Clear Chain of Communication

Having a clear and well-communicated hierarchy is crucial for remote teams. Ensuring everyone knows who to report to and who to approach for different issues always helps in maintaining smooth operations and effective communication but especially for remote workers who aren’t in the office observing relationships.

5. Regular Check-ins and Reviews

Weekly wraps and reviews are essential for maintaining structure within a dispersed team.   Managers should set check-in times with each employee to review progress, provide feedback, and set the agenda for the week. This regular interaction helps in keeping everyone aligned and accountable.

6. Encourage Spontaneous Collaboration

Maintaining the spontaneity of office interactions in a remote setting can be challenging. That’s why managers should encourage team members to reach out to each other spontaneously, whether through a quick video call or a phone conversation. This helps in replicating the spontaneous idea-sharing that happens in an office environment.

7. Understand Individual Working Styles

Recognizing and accommodating different personality types and working styles is crucial for managing creative teams. Some people thrive on interaction, while others may find it draining. For instance, an extrovert might feel energized by social interactions, whereas an introvert might prefer working alone. Managers need to understand these differences and discuss with each employee what works best for them.

8. Use Effective Management Tools

Investing in project management tools (e.g., Asana,, or Airtable) can help in tracking progress and ensuring that everyone is on the same page. These tools provide visibility into who is working on what and help in coordinating tasks and deadlines effectively.

9. Focus on Goals and Milestones

It’s always important to evaluate team members based on their accomplishments rather than their availability. Gone are the days when how long you spent at your desk made you a star. Creative workers – especially if they are remote – need clear goals and milestones. Managers should focus on outcomes which allow creative individuals to work when they are most productive and deliver their best work.


Managing remote creative teams requires a blend of flexibility, clear communication and understanding of individual working styles. By setting core hours, offering flexibility, establishing a clear chain of communication, and using effective management tools, managers can create a productive and satisfying work environment for their remote creative teams. The key is to adapt traditional management practices to the unique needs of a dispersed workforce, ensuring that creativity and collaboration continue to thrive.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Written by
Scott McClung
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