2020 has been a terrific year as workplaces have gone through rapid evolution due to social distancing necessities.  What was considered once a convenience has become a necessity.  More and more teams have had to accommodate work-from-home policy.

Soon after the pandemic hit, about 88% of organizations worldwide have encouraged remote teams as a way to keep continuing their operations. And it is expected that the number of remote development teams will continue to increase as many employees prefer to work from home, given the flexible nature of remote working.

Despite the advantages, certain challenges come with a remote working team. Managers have to take up some extra effort into coordinating remote teams and ensuring high levels of productivity. Here are some important tips that will help you manage your teams effectively and make sure remote works for you.

Improve Your Communication

Communication is the most important factor that determines the success of remote development teams. Distance adds a layer of difficulty in effectively communicating ideas and for conducting healthy discussions. The chances of team members becoming unengaged and less attentive are higher in virtual meetings.

There are also additional challenges like lack of face to face conversations, and technical aspects required to run a smooth virtual meeting. Agreed, there are challenges, but it is possible to maintain a good level of communication. Here are some suggestions to help you.

·       Optimize your written communication channels and make the best use of them. Text messages, emails, and chat communicators can be effectively used to share timely information. 

·       Do not hesitate to make a call to your team during work hours. Maintain a polite tone in all your communication and use professional language. 

·       Work on your persuasion skills. There are three approaches to persuade team members when facing a disagreement. You can choose to be combative, rational, or relationship-nurturing. Combative persuasion involves using the tactics that may give immediate results but are mostly counter-intuitive. It is also damaging to your team’s morale. The rational method uses logic and sensible arguments to influence your team. The most effective approach is the relationship nurturing one, which focuses on working together as a team and helps build trust. 

 Keep Focus But Stop Micromanaging

Remote work is often misunderstood to cause a loss in productivity. In reality, though, about 75% of remote workers feel that work from home has fewer distractions. And 77% of them feel more productive when working from home.

It all depends on how to manage a remote team. While you have to focus on the work getting done, avoid micromanaging smaller tasks. Micromanaging can cause stress to the employees and affect your team’s motivation to do better.

Here are some ways to keep productivity levels high:

·       Encourage your team to work on set work hours

·       Allow for break times.

·       Schedule your meetings at proper timings that will accommodate different time zones if you work in different countries. 

·       Try to use automated tools to manage code. There are several tools like Github for code reviews, Mira for task management, GitLab, Bitbucket for code management, Jenkins for continuous integration and build systems, and more that can be used to run remote development process effectively.

·       Provide secure VPN setup and data privacy infrastructure with well-defined roles for access and authorization. Strengthen your security protocols to make sure there will not be any accidental data leaks or vulnerabilities. Do train your team on data protection best practices and standards as well.

Motivate Through Appreciation And Encouragement

One of the challenges reported by many remote software developers is the lack of motivation and team building. It can be tough, but with careful and deliberate efforts, you can find ways to manage and nurture talents effectively.

Promote transparency and collaboration among your team. Use centralized knowledge bases and tools to integrate talent management as part of your remote team building activities.

Try to include some social stimulation tasks like book clubs and virtual meetings that will provide chances to build personal relationships. 

Be attentive to your team’s concerns and address their issues on time. For instance, if a member lacks access to a tool, make sure to grant access quickly. If someone is new to a project, facilitate knowledge transfer meetings to assimilate into the team faster.

Conclusion

Managing remote teams can sure be challenging. But it is totally possible to run efficient remote development teams when you make the right use of technology and team management principles. Take it up as a challenge as the future is quickly moving towards a collaborative work culture that welcomes global teams. Hone your communication skills and find new ways to encourage and boost your team productivity.

If you’re interested in this topic, read this article on remote team management.

Author

Galina Divakova – Galina is Head of Marketing at YouTeam, a Y Combinator-backed marketplace for hiring remote software developers.  Website | Linkedin | Twitter | Facebook

Categories: Blog