The Ultimate Guide to Assessing Your Team's Remote Readiness

Audit remote team capabilities with the Distributed Work Audit. Spot improvements. Drive change.

The Complete Guide to Assessing Your Team's Remote Work Readiness

Remote work is here to stay. With advances in technology and a shift in employee preferences, organizations of all sizes are embracing distributed teams. But successfully managing remote employees requires more than just giving your staff laptops and sending them home.

To truly maximize the benefits of remote work, you need to regularly assess your team's capabilities. This allows you to identify potential problem areas and make data-driven decisions to enhance your distributed work practices.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explain how to evaluate your team's remote work readiness using a powerful tool called the Distributed Work Audit. You'll learn:

  • What factors influence remote work success
  • How to conduct a Distributed Work Audit step-by-step
  • Key takeaways to improve your team's effectiveness

Let's get started on the path to remote work excellence!

Why Assessing Remote Readiness Matters

Imagine this scenario - your organization recently went remote, but team members are struggling. Deadlines are missed, people feel isolated, and managers have no insight into who needs support.

Productivity and morale plummet.

This painful situation can often be avoided with proactive readiness assessments. Evaluating your team's distributed work capabilities before issues arise is crucial.

Here are some key reasons why:

Pinpoints Problem Areas

Like an annual health checkup, regularly checking your team's remote "vitals" allows you to catch potential problems early.

Are communication channels inefficient? Is collaboration clumsy? The audit highlights weaknesses so you can take targeted action.

You don't have to rely on guesswork or employee complaints to identify improvement areas. The data reveals them plainly.

Enables Data-Driven Decisions

With accurate insights into team challenges, you can strategically allocate resources.

For example, the audit may show collaboration could use work. You decide to invest more in collaboration software and training. Without those results, you may waste funds on unnecessary tools or activities.

As legendary quality guru W. Edwards Deming said, "In God we trust; all others must bring data." Assessments provide the data to guide smart remote work decisions.

Supports Continuous Improvement

The world moves fast. Your team's needs will evolve as the business and remote work landscape changes.

Regular audits let you adapt and enhance capabilities over time. Each assessment provides an updated snapshot so you can modify policies, tools, and strategies to support continuous improvement.

Ongoing fine-tuning helps you "future-proof" and sustain an effective distributed work environment.

Fosters Employee Satisfaction

When employees encounter fewer frustrations and work flows smoothly, satisfaction increases. Morale and retention rise when people feel productive and supported.

Assessments quickly reveal pain points employees may experience, allowing you to improve their remote work life. This care and responsiveness leads to greater engagement.

By listening to employee feedback during audits, you also strengthen trust between leadership and staff.

Attracts Top Remote Talent

News flash - your company isn't the only workplace that went remote. The competition for distributed talent is fierce.

Organizations that demonstrate cutting-edge virtual capabilities have an advantage attracting skilled candidates. They're perceived as "remote-first" rather than just remote by necessity.

Robust assessment practices illustrate your commitment to progressive, employee-focused remote management. That makes candidates take notice.

How the Distributed Work Audit Works

Now that we've covered the basics, let's dig into what a Distributed Work Audit involves.

The Remote-First Institute designed the Distributed Work Audit framework after analyzing remote best practices from hundreds of organizations. It distills that expertise into a simple self-assessment.

Key Components

The Distributed Work Audit evaluates two core areas:

  • Individual skills - Covers 10 dimensions like communication, collaboration, and adaptation. Assesses employee readiness.
  • Organizational factors - Covers 7 dimensions like culture, equality, and transparency. Assesses company readiness.

Participants take a 5-minute survey on each area. Their responses generate a percentage-based score in that dimension along with tips to strengthen skills.

Once everyone completes the process, you can view aggregated team results and recommendations. This data uncovers team gaps to address and successes to celebrate.

Compared to costly consultants, it's a fast, affordable way to gauge remote capabilities. Employees also appreciate the opportunity to anonymously share their experiences.

Implementation Process

Leading a productive Distributed Work Audit entails careful planning and follow-up. Here is an effective step-by-step approach:

Prep the Team

  • Explain why the audit matters and how results will be used constructively. Emphasize it's for improvement, not scrutiny.
  • Encourage honest input and reassure responses are anonymous.
  • Share timelines, logistics, and participation expectations.

Launch the Audit

  • Administer the Individual and Organizational assessments.
  • Remind participants to carve out 10 focused minutes to thoughtfully complete each survey.

Review Results

  • Analyze aggregated outcomes to identify strengths and gaps as a team.
  • Discuss underlying causes of pain points.
  • Prioritize 3-5 improvement initiatives based on impact and effort required.

Develop an Action Plan

  • Define measurable goals for addressing each initiative.
  • Create a timeline for making enhancements.
  • Assign team members to projects based on skills and interests.
  • Outline processes for tracking progress and evaluating success.

Check-In on Growth

  • Set a cadence for regular check-ins on improvement projects.
  • During stand-ups, celebrate wins and collaborate on overcoming obstacles.
  • Use follow-up assessments to benchmark growth in capabilities over time.

Following this roadmap helps ensure a structured, coordinated effort that transforms audit insights into positive change.

Now let's explore some best practices for getting quality data.

Tips to Conduct an Effective Assessment

Garbage in, garbage out. For the audit to provide meaningful results, careful preparation is required. Here are some pro tips:

Choose a facilitator

Appoint an objective, trusted employee to spearhead the audit. They'll handle logistics, anonymize data, facilitate discussions, and measure progress on improvement projects.

Without ownership, the process can fizzle out fast. A skilled facilitator drives it forward.

Survey a diverse sample

You want perspectives from different roles, seniority levels, departments, locations, etc. Varied inputs reveal a holistic view of team strengths and blindspots.

A homogeneous group risks overlooking challenges other subgroups face. Capture insights from every corner of your organization.

Set clear expectations

Reduce confusion by explaining:

  • The audit's purpose and potential value-add
  • Time commitment involved
  • How anonymity is preserved
  • How results will guide constructive actions

Well-informed participants provide higher quality responses.

Make it convenient

Find times that fit participants' schedules. Offer flexible options to complete the surveys like asynchronous online, during existing meetings, etc.

Remove any logistical headaches that limit or rush responses. Smooth administration gets better data.

Incentivize participation

Consider tying the audit to performance management or offering perks like gift cards for thoughtful completion.

When people are motivated to carve out time for high-effort thinking, you receive richer insights.

Following these tips will help you collect comprehensive, honest inputs from engaged employees. Now let's explore key focus areas included in the audit.

12 Essential Dimensions of Remote Readiness

Drawing from remote work research and expert consensus, the Distributed Work Audit zeroes in on 12 high-impact areas of distributed work.

Evaluating these dimensions provides a 360-degree view of team capabilities from both individual and organizational standpoints.

Here is a quick overview of what each one measures:

Individual Factors


How effectively information, context, and ideas flow across the organization and teams. Are communication channels streamlined?


How well team members cooperate, coordinate, and problem-solve together in a distributed environment. Is collaboration efficient?


How successfully managers provide clarity, feedback, support, and strategic direction to remote employees. Is leadership optimized for off-site teams?

Job Satisfaction

How content and engaged remote employees feel in their roles. Do they have resources to succeed professionally and manage stressors?


How well remote work arrangements and policies support employee health, prevent burnout, and foster work-life balance. Is mental and physical wellness a priority?


How adept employees are at applying remote best practices. Have they adopted habits and mindsets for distributed team success?

Organizational Factors


How aligned, cohesive, and supported employees feel regardless of location. Does the culture enable inclusion and connection?


How fair and equitable processes are for remote employees regarding growth opportunities, information access, etc. Is the playing field level?

Work Management

How optimized operations and infrastructure are for remote teams regarding tools, policies, processes, etc. Have processes evolved beyond legacy on-site practices?


How intentionally managers lead distributed reports and maintain engagement. Are leadership practices adapted for remote environments?


How openly information and context are shared with remote employees to enable autonomy. Is visibility into decisions and company direction ensured?


How well relationships, vulnerability, and reliability are fostered among distributed coworkers. Does the culture breed trust and psychological safety?

Evaluating these 12 dimensions through assessments and discussions will spotlight your team's foremost opportunities to build world-class remote capabilities.

Now that we've covered the fundamentals of the Distributed Work Audit, let's discuss how to apply insights to enhance your team's performance.

Turning Insights Into Impact

Completing assessments is the easy part. Real change happens when you translate findings into improved experiences.

To squeeze maximum value from audit results, here are some powerful ways to drive change:

Upgrade Tools and Technology

Are productivity and collaboration hamstrung by inefficient systems and workflows? Modernize them.

Audit feedback may reveal where new tools or apps can remove frustration and help distributed teams thrive. Invest strategically in better technology.

Introduce New Processes

Are existing workflows optimized for office-based staff? Change them.

Establish new rituals, systems, and policies that meet the needs of distributed teams based on audit findings. Adapt operations to this new world of work.

Expand Training and Coaching

Are employees struggling with remote best practices? Teach them.

Offer access to experts who can upskill teams in areas like leading distributed teams, virtual facilitation, asynchronous communication, and more based on capability gaps uncovered.

Improve Leadership Skills

Are managers falling short supporting remote employees? Develop them.

Build people leader capabilities in subjects like performance management, cultivating trust, and leading inclusively that assessment results indicate need work.

Enhance Connection and Engagement

Do people feel isolated or disconnected? Bring them together.

Facilitate both social and professional events and communities that help remote employees build bonds, celebrate wins, and develop a sense of belonging.

Promote Health and Wellness

Is burnout a concern? Prioritize balance and care.

Offer stipends for self-care activities and create policies that reinforce healthy work-life integration based on audit feedback regarding employee well-being.

Celebrate Progress

Are you making strides based on action plans? Spotlight them.

Find ways to consistently recognize effort and results related to capability-building initiatives. Highlighting progress sustains momentum.

The possibilities to act on assessment insights are endless. Keep exploring new ways to listen to your team and turn their wisdom into positive action.

And remember - improvement takes time. Have patience, and keep chipping away at identified areas through regular small changes.

Make Assessments a Habit

We've covered a lot of ground in this guide. Let's tie it all together.

Remote work is complex. Conducting periodic assessments gives you an indispensable tool to:

  • Maintain a pulse on employee experiences
  • Identify trouble spots early
  • Use insights to implement improvements
  • Track progress over time

This process should become ingrained into company culture - as essential as financial audits.

By making assessments a habit, you'll ensure distributed teams continue operating at peak effectiveness. Employees will feel heard, supported, and engaged.

The remote workforce revolution brings immense opportunity coupled with new challenges. But armed with data and commitment to continuous growth, your organization can thrive in this new era.

Now it's time to evaluate your distributed team's readiness.


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Get your free recommendations by taking the Distributed Work Score Audit!

Explore it here.

Iwo Szapar

Iwo Szapar

Remote-First Advocate & Book Author

🚀 Remote-First Advocate & Book Author // Since 2017, shaping the future of remote & hybrid work as the CEO of Remote-how

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