Remote work is a fixed part of today's employer-employee landscape. As are the challenges of ensuring distributed teams collaborate and perform to their full potential. Common hurdles include overcoming differences of opinion regarding technology adoption, implementing new workflows, and setting expectations. Distributed teams also need enough engagement to build trust and a cooperative environment. Meeting milestones is difficult enough when everyone's in the same facility; staying on task from multiple locations necessitates confidence others will deliver as required.
This article highlights nine effective steps for fostering teamwork and productivity across remote software development and engineering teams.
Boost teamwork and foster camaraderie by pairing experienced developers and engineers with early-career cohorts. Mentors should share their expertise within organizational guidelines and in such a way as to encourage mentees to make decisions and take responsibility for their actions.
Young professionals acquire hard-learned skills sooner, and intra-team relationships form faster. To paraphrase a retail concept, mentoring programs are a BOGO: assigning veteran employees to coach newer workers simultaneously improves productivity and builds crucial relationships.
Engineers are problem solvers. Their reputation for breaking down situations, identifying causes, resolving issues, and restoring full operations can test the limit of teamwork. Integrating engineers and developers with remote software teams starts with clearly understanding preferred working styles and skill sets.
Choose flexible communication tools to meet these varying preferences. Achieving consistently high performance and maintaining transparent communication starts with your hiring decisions. Take time to identify individual approaches to work and problem-solving to ensure it fits with either the existing team or the new culture you want to build. Then, hire engineers willing to ask questions and initiate solutions.
You can also use interviewing and onboarding phases to learn your team members' needs. For example, managers need to know what resources an engineer or developer needs to fulfill their job descriptions. Generally, these are organizational items such as hardware, software, or access to other employees and their projects.
However, sometimes remote employees need home office supplies or the flexibility to work nights instead of mornings. Personalities impact workplace needs, too. Knowing your remote team individually and collectively has two primary advantages:
Technology has reshaped and empowered remote work. Your technology is critical to building a collaborative culture and meeting milestones, so choose wisely.
If you don’t recognize the high-cost of miscommunication and missed opportunities, then enterprise level systems like Slack and Teams probably appear too expensive. However, if you value transparency, rapid customer service, and employee accountability, then an enterprise-level communication system is a must.
Today’s systems bundle direct messaging, group chats, video calls and conferences, and screenshare into a centralized interface. The instant connections get correct information to the right place faster while building community among remote workers.
Software companies might consider developing a custom communications tool or bots to record remote worker activity via keystrokes or track their time logged into the company network. Or, maybe you’re not interested in tracking hours but rather tracking product development. In that case, you might launch a cooperative development environment with open tools so authorized users can examine and modify code simultaneously.
The former facilitates interaction between remote and on-site workers; the latter allows for real-time collaboration on Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. Both meet the essential goals of building relationships and engaging remote workers to their full potential.
Collaboration via Google Docs and Sheets is superior to emailing autonomous word-processing documents and worksheets.
Some measure of remote work, be it full-time or hybrid, is more common than ever--and crucial for hiring and retaining top talent. Clear communication, reliable software, and fully-committed leadership can overcome the inherent challenges of a distributed workforce.
Looking for a way to help you recruit and integrate your international workforce? Worca provides services, tools, and expert advice to companies looking for the best talent, making hiring employees around the world effortless.