The way we work has changed tremendously in the past 10 years – employees are looking for more freedom and flexibility in their working schedules and hiring remotely is a way to attract top talent and reduce costs. However, today working from home is not a privilege – it is a necessary measure all of us need to take to protect our society. We know that working remotely could be quite challenging for teams that do not have experience with it but there is nothing to worry about! Many teams from the IT industry have been successfully practicing remote work for years. So, we decided to share what we’ve learned from years working from home with remote teams in a series of blog posts.
The biggest challenge of remote teams is to make sure that everyone is on the same page. It is easy to get in a room with everybody working on a project and discuss your plan and progress but it gets much harder when you are communicating digitally. Thus, it is your role as a manager to foster efficient communication. Accept the challenge as a great way to push your team to build discipline. Here are some proven good practices:
Once the team is not in the office, a manager might feel that employees would work less or would get distracted with personal responsibilities. Keep in mind that building trust is the heart of every high productive team. If you have ambitious, talented people on your team, they will manage their time in order to achieve their goals. Instead of asking them to work 40 hours a week, set clear, specific targets and let them decide how to fulfill them. An increasing number of researches show that working from home could increase employees’ productivity with up to 8%. Sounds good, no?
“If I am on the phone all day, I get “me time” while taking care of tasks around our house throughout the workday. This “me time” affords reflection and keeps me fresh for the next call!”, shares Peter Loos, Managing Member at Seabeck Systems LLC and remote team manager for over 20 years.
If trust is the heart of highly productive teams, strong interactions are the backbone. In the case of a remote team, a lack of processes could sabotage even the most dedicate teams. In the IT industry, a common practice for teams is to use SCRUM as a way to organize their work. But don’t worry about that fancy word; it is a set of simple practices that could be applied in any team context. Here is what you should do:
Working from home, though great, at times may feel isolated and lonely. Peter Loos has been working from home with many dispersed teams for more than 20 years. He came up with a number of strategies a manager can use to create an inclusive and united team.
These are some simple practices that will help you handle remote teams. In our next post, we will focus on some great tools and security practices to protect your data while you and your team are working remotely.