Remote Team: 7 Eye-opening Practices for Smooth Management

Uwagi · 44 Wyświetlenia

Remote teams are becoming popular in the IT domain. This article covers everything you would require while managing your remote team.

Introduction

Until the last decade, remote working was seen as unconventional. WFH reminds us of parents balancing work and kids, and innovators following the 4-Hour Workweek.

In reality, before the COVID-19 pandemic, about 5% of full-time office-based employees worked remotely. Whereas, nowadays 58% of job holders in the US have the option to work remotely at least part-time. Although we’ve seen businesses calling workers to the office full-time, still remote work is here to stay.

Despite the shift towards remote teams making an impact. yet some instances can pose some operational challenges.

Being an IT Staff Augmentation company we’ve pulled everything you need to know about managing a remote team.

What is a Remote Team?

When a group of IT professionals collaborates & works together towards achieving a project deliverable while sitting in their home. This type of team is termed a Remote Team.

The specialty of these professionals is they work from their house & are available to work in different time zones. Additionally, they would be available all day due to the luxury provided by different time zones.

Building & setting up a remote team might be hard but managing it is even more difficult. Being a project manager & a leader it becomes difficult to manage the remote team.

Why is learning to manage a remote team is necessary?

After the backdrop of COVID-19, businesses re-shifted their focus toward traditional working patterns. However, only some organizations have witnessed a drop in work flexibility which was a perk for them.

Remote work is a core fundamental for the future & it isn't going out of fashion. So, leaders who are looking to retain talent & create a healthy work environment should embrace remote work opportunities.

This means understanding the challenges of remote work has become essential. Let’s understand a few challenges in length.

5 Benefits of Remote Teams Every leader should know

Remote work does not offer benefits to its employees only, but it provides benefits to the businesses too.

We have mentioned five benefits leaders should know about remote team management.

Access to a wider range of talent

Imagine, your office is in New York & you are in search of a staff to work from the office five days a week. In such a case, your talent pool would be limited to the city only. For a city like New York, providing skilled professionals won’t be difficult. But what about smaller countries or cities?

That’s when the remote work option comes into the picture. Implementing remote work allows you to hire remote developers from anywhere in the world. This is very useful for niches or highly-skilled jobs where qualified candidates are in a shortage.

Broadening recruitment helps create a skilled, diverse team and embraces multicultural benefits.

Ample financial benefits

Going fully remote allows businesses to cut the expense of physical offices, & hybrid models can reduce costs by allowing downsizing. Global Workplace Analytics says firms can save $10,000 per employee yearly by switching to full-time remote work. Furthermore, they would also save on rent & would have to pay less overhead costs.

This is not just it. Offering remote work options also minimizes the dollars spent on hiring new candidates, therefore minimizing the turnover rates.

One report by EY states that 47% of respondents showed their willingness to switch their jobs if they weren’t provided remote work options.

Remote employees seek flexibility

The range of benefits employees receive from the remote work model is huge & that's what makes it the most popular. 97% of workers desire to work remotely at least for some time in their careers. Due to the impact of the Great Resignation, employees are willing to make drastic changes in their careers.

Remote work can boost productivity

By using the right processes & procedures, remote work can significantly increase a team's productivity. It was found that remote team members face few distractions as compared to an in-house developer.

Remote workers have a lot of control over their workload, schedule & physical environment. Moreover, it allows each employee to set up their schedule & physical workspace according to their needs.

Reduction in Stress

Many professionals find work as a potential stress - starting from deadlines to challenging clients. But a work-from-home setup can eliminate these stresses by boosting job satisfaction.

A few examples include:

  • Stress caused by daily commuting
  • Migraines caused by office lighting

Challenges of Managing Remote Teams

While we're champion in providing IT staff augmentation services to hire remote developers, we're also aware of its challenges. Luckily, with little consideration, a proactive leader can easily overcome them.

Communication barriers

Remote collaboration or remote team management can go wrong if team members lack effective communication skills. A remote employee possessing effective communication skills would pull off his tasks efficiently. However, as a remote environment has employees working in different time zones, team meetings & communication can become a problem.

To tackle the communication barriers, organizations need to build diverse communication channels. Moreover, they should also define various communication tools to streamline the flow of information.

Remote Collaboration

In the absence of proper communication & collaboration remote work will fail. Therefore, virtual teams need their remote managers to put clear guidelines in place to make remote work easier. By using the right project management tools building a smooth remote collaboration becomes easier. Tools like Asana, Wrike & Zoho Projects can make remote project collaborations smoother.

Time zone differences

Setting up a globally distributed team is a wow idea. But one major challenge remote teams face is building collaboration between team members who live in different time zones. In a remote developer work setup, one developer's 8 am might be another's 7 pm.

So, when we are scheduling meetings, sharing project updates, etc. can become a headache if not managed properly. But, using good project management tools, and building trust can easily help you attain success in remote work.

Isolation

Watercooler chit-chats are popular in office work. Therefore, no amount of virtual coffee hangouts can replace the buzz. Isolation is one of the biggest challenges remote teams face. Moreover, 81% of US & UK employees are raising concerns about the lack of face-to-face interaction.

Without proper measures in place keeping colleagues connected can be difficult. Encouraging social interactions by conducting virtual or physical team gatherings can help tackle the challenge.

How can you manage remote teams effectively?

After learning the challenges of managing remote teams, let's dive into understanding how leaders can overcome them. We've jotted down seven best practices leaders need to know about effective remote team management.

Let's understand each of them in detail

Be respectful of other team members' time

Whether your remote team members work in the same time zone or not, it's crucial to respect their time. But, this becomes difficult when the team is working across different geographies. In such situations, the organization should look forward to being flexible in scheduling meetings by adjusting the work schedule accordingly.

Measure your team’s effectiveness

The practices that worked with your in-house team might not work with a remote team. Time effectiveness is an indicator that reveals how a team would collaborate & reach its goals.

Measuring KPIs can help you manage remote teams with more effectiveness, as it will help you diagnose the loopholes. Analyzing performance can help you improvise the working patterns to attain effectiveness.

Good Communication is a Key

As we've covered above, good communication is vital when managing a remote team. Using the right communication channels, your team members will feel supported both personally & professionally. Doing so will help you tackle loneliness & boost team resilience while facing remote work challenges.

Not to forget, effective communication is key to letting client work move along smoothly. To achieve a smooth communication flow, we recommend you get some measures in place:

Host daily team check-ins

An agile project management team conducts a 15-minute stand-up meeting every day. Doing this allows them to review team progress & raise any challenges they're facing. Moreover, it will also help in tackling loneliness & will improve workload visibility among teammates.

Set-up Slack Channels

Setting up slack channels to allow teammates to enable non-work related topics. No work talks would be allowed here!

Setting up 1:1 video meetings

You should look forward to scheduling weekly 1:1 video meetings with each team member. Do not keep your dairy because it keeps room for your team members to contact you.

Use surveys

Organizations should use surveys to get an understanding of what is working & what isn't working. You should allow your team members to answer anonymously; this will allow them to give their honest feedback.

Arrange team-building activities

Companies should conduct virtual team-building activities like quizzes & workshops, webinars & talks to build a sense of familiarity.

Setting clear goals & regularly reviewing them

Being a business it is not possible to control every aspect of the work. That's when you can define clear goals & expectations to ensure your team members are aware of their role.

Smart goals are great as they will help you make your team accountable without needing to micromanage them. Having clear goals that are achievable by everyone will contribute towards team achievement. Moreover, it is necessary to regularly review the goals as it allows you to address issues effectively.

Building a healthy work culture

Building a healthy work culture means communicating effectively by sharing goals & promoting team resilience. Moreover, it also means investing in employee engagement & team culture.

One of the major pitfalls that leaders face is conflating culture such as corporate discounts & health insurance. Rather, you should try to build a positive culture by:

  • Promoting transparency by leading by example
  • Supporting development
  • Taking out time for your team
  • Paying attention to the mental health of your team
  • Providing them with emotional support
  • Sharing your core values
  • Encouraging a healthy work-life balance

The next strategy is to "Invest in onboarding"

Investing in onboarding

Employee onboarding can be challenging at times, but remote onboarding is quite important. New employees might find it hard to cope with the company culture without thorough information. Being a project manager you should be mindful of the struggles of the remote team members.

One research showed that employees with good onboarding experience are likely to integrate with the company for a longer duration.

While setting up a formal onboarding process remote employees go a long way towards strengthening retention. The process goes as below:

  • A pack that includes a laptop, notebook & thoughtful gift to welcome the remote members to the team.
  • The team should send a welcome email on the first day, to outline what they should expect when they log in.
  • The company should also provide the dates for group meetings to integrate them into the team.

Now, let's get on to the last practice in the process.

Choosing the right tools

Working in a digital world, we should make sure we provide the right tools to each team member to help them perform their task. Companies are using a variety of tools like project management tools, communication tools, etc. to smoothen the process.

Implementing the above seven practices will help you achieve a competitive edge by cutting the cost of a lengthy hiring process. Remote team members charge based on the working hours so it saves an abundance of dollars flushed towards paying fixed salaries.

How Acquaint Softtech can help you in remote team management?

Acquaint Softtech is a custom software development company. We hold 15+ years of experience in providing IT Staff augmentation services & software outsourcing services.

We aim to help our clients achieve successful project deliverability by turning their ideas into working solutions. Moreover, we also help our clients hire developers using IT Staff augmentation services based on their needs. If software development project management seems difficult we can help you.

Wrapping Up!

Managing people has always been a tough task. Whether it is in a party or a professional space. Similarly, managing teams can be tough. Therefore, we have mentioned the seven best practices to help you manage remote employees efficiently.

The above article covers everything you would require while managing your team. Being a project manager, you can use the aforementioned strategies to achieve a successful project deliverable.

Uwagi