Remote work is no longer a ‘hipster’ trend, but almost an obligation for each company to operate properly and overcome possible force-majeure. But it’s not the same to manage a remote team and work remotely with your technology partner. While working with a development agency, managing remote teams is a big challenge. You need to manage your team, the agency’s team, and communication within both of them.
At RoveTek, we have years of experience in managing distributed remote teams and working with companies worldwide. So, we gathered some tips for effective and productive remote working from different angles.
The main challenges of remote work
Before bringing you our remote work excellence tips, let us mention the remote work’s main challengers.
– Decrease in productivity
– Decrease in engagement
– Bad communication
– No teamwork social activities
– Social isolation
– Lack of access to information
– Mess in the organization of work due to different schedules and time zones
The main fear is a decrease in productivity within the team after shifting to remote work. It’s hard to track what your employees are doing, and some companies even install tracking software that takes screenshots every few minutes/hours (we, at RoveTek, never install such programs, by the way).
Another fear is lousy communication when even high-performing employees experience a decline in productivity and engagement with the team. Some managers complain that they no longer trust remote workers, as they had a negative experience when employees lied. For example, employees lied about the hours they spent or work done. Some employers choose an office to remote work, as it’s possible to remain corporate culture only in the office.
Of course, the office has many advantages for engagement, team spirit, and productivity. But, believe us, these are all possible to implement in remote work as well.
To help you to manage a remote team, we prepared these RoveTek’s tips on managing remote work like a pro:
1. Training on remote work
Many companies avoid training their employees or communicate on a remote work plan with outsourcing agencies. This is a big mistake, as remote work is not as easy as may seem at the beginning. For your employees, create a guide for working remotely, and plan for remote cooperation with your distributed team or technology partner. Highlight what tools you are going to use and how to use them. We are sure you don’t want to be when your team members are looking for a share screen button during the Zoom calls.
At RoveTek, even though we have a physical R&D office, some of our in-house employees are distributed worldwide. So, we always provide some training and guidance on how we are going to work remotely. While working with our clients, it’s also crucial to discuss how you will manage a remote team.
2. Proper communication
This is a very important part of effective management. It’s crucial to not over-communicate, so your employees don’t have enough time for actual work. It’s good to have a call to plan tasks for a week at the beginning of the week and discuss results at the end of the week. You can have a daily standup with your team, which can increase productivity, as employees should show results each day.
Our advice is don’t overload your team with too much monitoring, as it’s hard to follow a strict schedule while working remotely, and employees need more freedom. One day they can spend a few hours on work, other days work more.
We often work in different time zones, or, as it’s remote work, team members usually don’t follow a set schedule. This may lead to miscommunication and mess in the organization. Other challenges include lack of access to information and social isolation, and both dramatically influence productivity. In this case, it’s essential to set up a time when everyone should be available at least in chats. At RoveTek, we are usually in touch with each other at least the first half of the day or during working hours.
3. Encourage remote social interactions
Believe us, and this is very motivating when your employees or remote colleagues are involved in remote social activities like Christmas zoom conferences or remote pizza parties. In RoveTek, we are sending gifts to our employees when there is an occasion or celebration. We also do ‘remote pizza parties’, and send our employees pizzas to their’ home offices’.
These activities make employees feel belonging to the project/company. While working remotely, there is not much opportunity to drink coffee in the kitchen with your colleagues or party on New Year.
4. Technology tools
Embrace team/product/project management tools to be more productive and get things done. At RoveTek, while working with projects, we use the Scrum methodology with a division into 1-2 week sprints.
Other tools we recommend are Kanban for development; from project management systems – Jira.
5. Set rules for reporting
To avoid unnecessary calls and misunderstandings, set up a reporting system. We would suggest small daily reports, weekly reports on the progress, and so on. Daily reports will motivate team members to be more productive.
6. Video calls
You can make several calls during the day, but especially video calls enhance engagement within the team and create a feeling of physical presence. This is especially important while working with your technology partner or outsourcing company, as you need to see if people are going to work with or already working.
Working remotely both within your team and with outsourcing partners can be very productive if you follow the tips we shared with you. Anyway, the future of work is remote, and it doesn’t matter what business you have, the organization of remote work is now a must.