Many tech teams have gone remote as a result of the Covid-19 global pandemic. Even before the health crisis, many companies practiced remote working, and the reduced employee overhead costs were the main benefit. In recent years, significant challenges came to light as team leaders had to find ways to keep their tech teams unified and efficient.
Great effort was needed to ensure that remote team members were focused, productive, and motivated while working from home. Working remotely certainly adds a layer of distance that can lead to many tech employees feeling isolated, leading to disengagement and lack of communication within the organization.
While communicating and working with people in different time zones may appear complicated, it has proven beneficial to tech companies only when appropriately managed. Below we share some effective tips to help businesses work smoothly with remote tech team members and keep them on the same page.
Set Up Clear Projects and Work Plan
When working with remote tech teams, the first step is to ensure that the project and work plan are well-described and allocated among team members as clearly as possible. In large companies, this might not be a significant issue since there’s usually a dedicated team for each step of the product development.
However, if you work at a smaller company or a startup, the chances are that some of the members might be required to wear multiple work hats at once, which might create overlapping work and gaps. It is why it’s essential to establish a clear work plan, maintain effective communication, and address any confusions that may arise.
Build an Effective and Engaged Team
To maintain productivity and motivation while working remotely, tech employees must have proper communication channels and mechanisms in place. Tech team members must feel engaged in their teams and companies to do their best and achieve their business goals.
Thus, your priority should be to make them feel appreciated, valued, and aware of where they stand in the business structure. The best way to do so is by providing them with a work from home survival kit to balance the load a little. These small gift boxes are the ultimate thoughtful gesture to make your remote tech team members feel included and boost their morale.
Organize Daily Video Calls
As remote work has become the new norm, we spend more and more time in digital meetings. Hosting daily video calls with your tech team to share progress updates on projects and tasks is, therefore, a must. Despite regular phone conversations, instant messages, incoming and outgoing emails, video calls are crucial as they bring a human presence into what can otherwise be an isolated working experience.
Make sure to have longer video call conversations, such as group planning meetings, discussions on employees’ short-term and long-term goals, as well as one-on-one feedback sessions and reviews. Having such conversations via typed messages is typically not recommended because of the higher risk of misinterpretation.
That doesn’t mean you have to shell out for a dedicated video calling platform. Modern unified communications platforms combine video calling and virtual phone systems with messaging, chat, and collaboration features. As such, they’re the perfect foundation for a remote work team.
Develop Team Roles
When working with remote tech teams, you need to fully understand what type of expertise is required and how many people should be involved in a project for it to be completed. For this reason, organizing the work process and defining the team roles are critical.
Get familiar with your team’s methods and work processes and see how they can help improve your business model and stay on top of any project.
Use Task Management and Goal Tracking Tools
Tech teams who work remotely can only succeed in virtual environments using the right management tools and software. You can use them to give your team important instructions that could be quickly lost or forgotten when given through group chats and video.
When implementing task management tools, you can keep everything in one place and lessen the pressure on the tech teams to constantly monitor group chats for instructions. Task management tools give a clear picture of what everyone is working on, and they allow everyone to become aware of the strategic goals and help understand what their work is contributing to.
Conduct a Virtual Coffee Break
One way that companies try to boost engagement and morale within a remote team is through team activities. A good example is a virtual coffee break. Since employees aren’t in the office to have these breaks in person, it’s great to bring it online.
You can have Starbucks drinks delivered to your team and have them share them during your Zoom meetings. Or, give each employee a budget and let them order their favorite Starbucks drinks. This would make things easier, especially for complicated drinks or those part of Starbucks’ secret menu, like the ones you can find on this list.
Working with remote teams is one of the best gifts today’s information technology can offer us. While it cannot fully replace real place teamwork, there are many benefits and positive features of working with remote tech teams.
The key is knowing how to set up a clear work plan, engaging the team members, and using the right tools. This brief guide we provide can be helpful for anyone fostering innovation while working with remote tech teams.