How to effectively manage a remote team of developers

November 26, 2021
min read
How to effectively manage a remote team of developers
Linda J Brannon
Linda J Brannon

With every passing day, IT companies are incorporating remote work across their business structure. Many of these companies have successfully grasped the skill to effectively manage a globally distributed remote team of developers and collaborate with productivity. Companies are also preferring to hire remote employees as this is an excellent way to increase the diversity in workforce. Any workforce with different cultures and backgrounds offers a company the benefits of unique point of view and insights.

During this current pandemic, many large organizations like Amazon, Twitter, Facebook and other giant tech companies shifted to remote work and the attempt was a huge success, which is why many of these companies have decided to support remote work even beyond pandemic. Not only companies, even employees are also looking for opportunities that will allow them to work from home. According to The Nielsen Survey, 52% of employees are willing to work from home going forward, while 25% would like to work from home exclusively.

With such an increasing number of remote workers, how are these tech companies getting the most out of their remote development teams? Before we know how to manage a remote team, let's learn the benefits of hiring remote employees.

Benefits of having a remote team of developers

Benefits for employers:

Reduction of expenses – As remote employees work from their own location, tech businesses can save the cost of maintaining office space, utilities and office supplies. If even a small portion of your workforce works remotely, the savings can be significant.

Access to a diverse talent pool – The world of IT requires many specialties, finding someone with similar experience near your zone sometimes gets extremely difficult. Hiring remote employees allows you to take the opportunity to get the required skill from the global talent pool and find exactly what you’re looking for.

Adaptability – In today’s ever-changing global marketplace, the only way for any company to stay ahead of their competitors is by being able to quickly adapt changes. You can hire a remote developer team based on your project to get it done in a short period of time with the most up-to-date technology and techniques.

Happier Workforce – Everyone knows that happy employees perform better and are productive enough to help their company succeed. When employees are working from their own comfort zone, both you and your remote team can reap the rewards of it.

Benefits for employees:

A better work-life balance – While a forty-hour workweek is considered as standard working hours globally, the time spent on work-related activities are actually much higher. The daily commute and getting ready for work, it all takes a lot of time. According to the Office of National Statistics in the UK, the stress of battling to get public transportation, daily traffic and the anxiety not only causes depression but also affects health. Remote work eliminates the need for daily commute and it also offers employees the freedom to work in flexible work schedules.

Efficiency – Remote employees set their own work schedule and in most cases they work when they are at the peak of their productivity. The freedom to start work makes it easier for them to focus on the task at hand. They’re clearer-headed when they start to work, which is why they work more accurately and productively with less downtime.

Less dissatisfaction – Remote employees work in their own comfort zone, being surrounded by their loved one. They save money and commute time, it gives them extra time to invest in their personal life. It helps remote employees to feel more relaxed. As a result, this makes them more likely to finish work on time.

Higher productivity – Considering all the above benefits, it is clearly understandable that those who choose to work remotely are happier and healthier, which is why remote employees are more likely to get more done in their workday than those who work in an office.

How to effectively manage a remote team of developers?

To address these preliminary hurdles that companies face while managing a remote team, below are a few tips on better management with a remote workforce.

Set realistic expectations – As you have a distributed team, surely the time zone is different from employees to employees. As a team leader, provide your team with appropriate instructions on how to conduct the task, so that they can work as a team or independently, and finish their task before the deadline. Divide the task amongst team members, and while doing so keep everyone in the same thread to make it easier for them to understand who is assigned for what. Let your developer team know how you expect them to finish their task and their responsibilities towards their task. Once assigned, you have to keep on monitoring their progress to ensure they are working as per instructions.

Communicate effectively – Communication is a major barrier in a distributed work environment. When working together remotely, you need to overcome this void by using communication tools that allow the team to communicate with each other easily. Establish a common platform of communication for all and make it mandatory for all your team members to join a monthly group meeting call. The whole process helps maintain the responsiveness of the remote team and does not leave you with any unanswered query.

Use advanced tools to improve work efficiency – To manage a team of remote developers you need to use various tools. Starting from communication tools to project management tools, all these will help you and your team to stay on the same page. To help you in the choice, we have selected a few that are the most useful ones. I recommend you implement it in your organization:

Project management/tasks: Jira, Basecamp, Trello, Todoist, Harvest, PayDirt.
Employee Monitoring Software: CloudDesk, Workpuls, Hubstaff, Activtrack
Document storage: Jira, Google Drive
Teleconferences/online meetings: Zoom, Slack, Skype.

Avoid micromanaging – When you are leading a remote team, it is important that you trust your team members. You will get complete visibility of their work process by implementing monitoring software. Still, trust is a crucial factor when managing a remote team. Trying to manage them on an hourly basis and constantly knocking them to know every aspect of how the goals are being achieved, will demotivate them. Instead of checking them, you can easily track their work using the monitoring software and also wait for their final outcome. If their deliverables match with your expected quality that should be enough reason to let your team function on their own.

Employee engagement – Remote employees often feel isolated as they work without having direct interaction with their colleagues. To help your employees to stay productive you have to plan to keep the employee engagement alive. A random celebration of birthdays or anniversaries over a video call will help build team spirit. Allow your team members to play video games together, have random discussions online over a coffee break. This will help groom collaboration among distributed team members.

Appreciate performance – Let your deserving employees know they are doing a great job. It not only encourages them to perform better but keeps the entire team competitive in terms of individual performance. The more you appreciate them for their right task, the better output you will receive from them.

You can not build a highly predictive remote team overnight. It will take time, dedication and fruitful communication from both ends to work towards the same goal. Having transparency and sharing this transparency with all the distributed members is the ultimate foundation of successful remote team management.

About the author:

Linda Brannon is a passionate digital marketer who works exclusively for Saas solutions and helps companies to get the best monitoring software for remote employees.

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