7 Tips for building Highly Productive IT Teams with a Strong Remote Culture
Remote working gained popularity during 2019’s pandemic, though some companies were already experimenting with it for a while. Working at the office with colleagues creates an environment that’s hard to establish in remote teams.
However, the success of building a remote team depends on how well the company manages to maintain the same environment on-site, nearshore, and offshore.
Like how every organization has its work environment; the remote teams’ work culture may vary from one company to another. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to building successful software development teams. Nevertheless, you can create a healthy and productive remote work culture by following a systematic process to build a remote software team.
Let us discuss the importance and signs of healthy remote teams, along with the challenges you need to overcome and the seven best tips to build an effective and productive IT team for remote collaborations.
Why is a Healthy Remote Work Culture Important?
In simple terms, remote working is where the employees work from various locations rather than the office. A remote software engineering team will have members from the same/different cities, states, and countries working together by collaborating online. While it offers great flexibility, it can be difficult to create and manage an IT team with members scattered at different locations around the world.
A healthy work environment at the office keeps employees energized, active and productive. They feel less stressed despite the workload. The same applies to remote software development teams. A healthy remote team is one where the team members maintain good interpersonal relationships, progress according to their schedule, and deliver results.
Technology trends and mindset are two major aspects of a healthy remote working environment. Does the employee have access to the necessary technology to continue working remotely? Is the organization taking enough care to balance and align employee growth with business growth?
If the answer to both questions is yes, we can say that the company has a healthy remote team with a positive work culture.
4 Signs of Positive Remote Culture
- Proper Working Hours
Contrary to popular opinion, having dedicated working hours is necessary for remote teams. ‘I can work whenever I want’ does not give results when every team member thinks the same and belongs to a different time zone. Companies that provide remote collaboration services emphasize the importance of defining working hours in advance.
- Mutual Feedback
Team members should be comfortable sharing their opinions and feedback about the ongoing software project and each other’s contribution. It encourages transparency and increases bonding between the employees. Of course, the feedback should be assertive, constructive, and shared to help set up a software development team successfully.
- Clear Goals and Targets
It’s not sufficient that the team leader has a clear picture of what’s required. Every team member should know the purpose of the project and relevant details, along with what’s expected of them. Defining goals for the remote software developers’ team will make it easy for employees to interact and discuss ideas with transparency.
- Tools Provided by the Company
The responsibility to create a positive remote work culture lies in the organization, and that includes providing employees with the required infrastructure. This becomes even more important for managed IT teams, where technology is an inherent part of the job.
Challenges of Developing Remote Work Culture
As mentioned earlier, technology and mindset continue to play a vital role. Once you’ve provided employees with the necessary tools, it’s time to work on other challenges like communication, collaboration, distractions, time zones, and break times.
- How do you plan to establish the communication and feedback system for the remote team? Employees need to feel relaxed enough to interact with others.
- Can you fix dedicated working hours while considering employees from all time zones? Sticking to a schedule is always helpful when building a remote team.
- What expectations have you set for the employees? Do they have enough information about the project to deliver the results?
- Does the team get enough break time to unwind and relax? Remote working doesn’t mean employees are available 24*7.
- Which collaboration platform/software will you use to manage the project? If the software is effective, it saves time and energy for the team members.
How to Build an Effective Remote Team
You can build successful remote teams by following a well-defined strategy to adopt the office work environment for remote or offshore development services.
- Share and Emphasize Company Values
Like the top management and leadership do the employees know the business objective, and corporate value system of the organization? Do they know what sets the company apart from competitors? The success of a remote team depends on how well the remote employees understand the mission and vision of the organization.
2. Adopt Full Scale Remote Working
If you want to try remote teams, you can start slow, take developer trials or offer remote hours for a small duration. That might make things difficult for you and your employees. Adopt remote working fully and move off-site at once. Complete the base work and go all-in with remote teams. Plan and go big.
3. Create an Onboarding Process
Working remotely with familiar teammates may not be scary, but it is terrifying for fresh recruits. With no office or a common place to meet others, newly hired employees will find it awkward and difficult to interact with others on the remote team. Set up an onboarding process to welcome team members and make them feel at ease before starting the work.
4. Transparency and Communication
Trust is vital to creating a healthy remote working environment. It takes time to build trust among the team members. Transparency and clear communication can make it easier. Team members should interact with each other on the provided platform to share project details. Try not to encourage work-related secrets among team members.
5. Stay Connected
Make remote employees a true part of the company by keeping them in the loop. Use a collaborative platform (like Slack) for formal and informal interaction. Team members can use different channels for sharing project details and for unwinding and gossiping. Keep remote employees engaged with the company.
6. Work on Team Building
Team building activities aren’t limited to on-site teams. Remote employees need higher motivation to stay focused and dedicated to the project. Help them balance their professional and personal lives, let them relax and engage with team members, and use common interests to increase team bonding.
7. Acknowledge and Reward
Give remote employees the same acknowledgment and encouragement as you would give an on-site employee. A pat on the back even virtually is effective and can motivate employees to be more productive. Congratulate remote employees, create a leader board, or offer rewards/gifts for delivering the results.
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