Successfully Integrating A Remote Instructional Design Team With In-Person Employees

Integrating In-Person Staff With Remote Instructional Design Teams
DC Studio/
Summary: What strategies can institutions use when collaborating with remote Instructional Design teams to avoid some of the accompanying pitfalls? Find out here.

Integrating Remote IDs With In-Person Employees

A remote Instructional Design (ID) team can benefit higher education institutions significantly. Remote ID teams can provide a high level of expertise and knowledge in the Instructional Design field and save the institution money by not having to pay for office space or benefits. Hiring remote Instructional Designers also provides more options, as you will no longer be limited to prospective employees in your region and will not have to pay the cost of relocation. However, some things must be considered when setting up a remote ID team, especially when collaborating with on-campus employees. This article will explore some strategies that can be used to ensure high levels of communication and productivity and avoid some of the pitfalls that can occur when working with a remote team.

Utilizing Leadership Support

First, you need leadership support for your team to work remotely. With that support, especially if the greater culture is in-person work, successfully collaborating as a remote employee with in-person employees may be more manageable. Only some staff may support a remote Instructional Design team, which is okay as long as they are not decision-making stakeholders regarding whether or not an ID team can work remotely. If a few select employees grumble about Instructional Designers working from home, but your team is meeting or exceeding goals, ignore that because your team’s performance will speak for itself. However, it would be best to try assimilating into the institution’s culture.

How To Assimilate A Remote Instructional Design Team Into An Organization

A remote Instructional Design team must assimilate into the organization to succeed. This can be accomplished by ensuring high levels of communication between the team and on-campus or in-office employees. The following are some tips for doing this:

  • Have regular video or audio conferences with the entire team so that everyone is on the same page. This is especially important if team members are in different time zones.
  • Use an online project management tool so everyone can access the same information and see what needs to be done.
  • Ensure all deadlines are communicated, and some flexibility is built into the schedule if something comes up.
  • Encourage team members to socialize with each other outside of work so that they can get to know each other on a personal level.
  • Celebrate successes together, even if it’s just virtually, so everyone feels like they are part of the team and contributing to its success.

Common Pitfalls When Working With Remote Employees

There are some common pitfalls when working with remote employees that should be avoided to ensure a successful collaboration:

  • Avoid regular check-ins because you don’t want to micromanage
    It’s important to touch base with your team regularly so that you can provide feedback and ensure that everyone is on track.
  • Not being clear about expectations
    It’s essential to set clear expectations from the beginning to avoid confusion about what needs to be done.
  • Not providing adequate training
    If you expect your team to hit the ground running, you need to provide them with adequate training to know how to do their job well.
  • Not trusting your team
    If you don’t trust your team, it will be difficult for them to trust you and feel like they are part of the organization. It’s essential to build trust by being transparent and communicating regularly.
  • Not taking advantage of technology
    Many tools can help you stay connected with your team and avoid common pitfalls when working with remote employees. Be sure to take advantage of them.

Resolving Additional Challenges With Remote Instructional Design Teams

Communication Strategies

Another challenge when working with a remote Instructional Design team is communication. It is essential to have regular check-ins with all team members to ensure that everyone is on track and meeting deadlines. As mentioned earlier, one way to do this is through project management software. Project management software can create tasks, assign deadlines, and track progress. Another way to facilitate communication is to use video conferencing software for meetings and presentations. When using video conferencing software, turn your video on. It makes meetings more personable, which can be important when collaborating with on-campus colleagues.

Envious Colleagues

When an institution permits select employees to work remotely or even in a hybrid setup, it’s natural for others to feel a bit envious. Perhaps they’re thinking, "I can also do my work at home; why do I have to come to campus?" That is a valid question, but only their supervisors and institutional leadership can provide the answer. Some leaders have more progressive management styles, so it varies from leader to leader. The same can be said for institutions; some may see remote employees' value, while others insist that employees come to campus every day and that policy has no flexibility.


Working with a remote Instructional Design team has many advantages, and the pros outweigh the cons, but there can be some challenges when collaborating with on-campus employees. You can avoid pitfalls and maximize productivity by setting up clear roles and responsibilities, establishing regular check-ins, utilizing video conferencing, and encouraging transparency and open communication.