How to Manage Your Remote Development Team

Digital entrepreneurs and startups that need to hire remotely are increasing and with this comes the need to hire remote workers. Making them part of your team is just but the starting point. However, managing your remote team can be an arduous task. How can you ensure that your remote development teams are conversant with their duties?

How can you establish whether your remote employees are working rather than idling
away? Is there anything you can do to keep the team motivated and increase
their productivity? Will you even be able to bring them together in a bid to have
them interact with each other? In order to answer these questions and establish
how digital entrepreneurs can effectively manage their remote teams, we shall
delve into;

  • The description of a remote team
  • The challenges involved in the management of
    remote teams and
  • What managers can do to manage remote teams
    effectively

Understanding a Remote Team

The term remote team refers to a group of professionals with diverse expertise from
different time zones and culture who collaborate to execute a consolidated
project. Unlike working in an office setup where employees sit together in the
office physically, remote workers work from separate regions and often live in
different cities or even countries.

If you are the person managing the remote team in your establishment, you will want to
know the challenges involved such as; running the team, managing projects, and
ensuring timely project completion.

The popularity of the remote working industry is a clear indication that it comes
with numerous advantages. Various surveys have been conducted by different
institutions in a bid to analyze the impact of remote work as seen below.

  • According to ConnectSolutions, approximately 30%
    of remote workers become proficient within a short time.
  • Approximately 82% of remote workers experience
    minimal stress and
  • Harvard Business Review established that about
    87% of remote workers appreciated the connection they achieved by using video
    conferencing tools.

What Challenges Involved in Managing Remote
Teams?

There are numerous challenges that come with
managing a remote team. They include:

Communication problems

Communication is a major challenge and if you can solve it, then you will have solved nearly
all other problems. Managers are tasked with providing project guidelines all
step of the way which means they should be excellent communicators. This
enables them to deliver the project ideas to the team as well as be conversant
with the progress of the team.

Effective communication is not only the foundation of any productive group, but it is
also a critical factor when dealing with remote teams. Regulating members of
your remote team can be a daunting task and poor communication can be a barrier
for numerous companies attempting to handle remote workers.

Where there is a communication barrier, problems will be inevitable both for the
employer and the employees. The problems include; a decline in work progress
and lack of morale among the remote team.

Cultural and Language Barriers

Cultural and language barriers can have a negative impact on how your remote team
connects with each other and their perception of the project. It is important
that managers understand how to handle the diversities if they want the company
to gain from the potential capabilities of a global remote team.

When working with a remote team, managers should avoid favoring specific groups of
people either for their working ethic, communication style, or even personality
types while shunning those that don’t conform to their preferences. Of course,
identifying with the people with whom you share work procedures and habits
comes naturally.

Remote companies often focus on executing tasks within a stipulated time and
maintaining efficiency. This explains why some manager will be more comfortable
working with employees who meet their preferences. While this may work for some
time, it will eventually breed resentment among the remote team and may have a
negative impact on productivity among your team in the future.

It is important to understand that favoritism bars individuals from various cultures
and this can restrict the people you can add to your team. Eventually, this
eliminates the benefits a company can gain from diverse remote employees.

Monitoring the Performance of Your Remote
Team

One of the biggest challenges a manager faces is making sure that the remote team
effectively completes their tasks within the stipulated upon time, and that the
work meets the laid down company standards. The employees in your remote team
will be different.

For instance, some of them will want to complete their tasks and submit them on
time while others will need extra time to complete their work. Regardless of
the type of remote employees, you have, tracking their performance can be a
difficult task.

This brings major leadership challenges in remote teams which include: making sure
that remote employees make use of their time appropriately, and making sure
that all the tasks are completed on time.

How can Managers Manage Remote Teams
Effectively?

Be Transparent

Transparency is important when it comes to remote working. Involve your remote team in
everything about the business such as the company objectives and vision and
allow them to connect with the same. After that, you will want to inform the
team what you expect from them.

With time, you can have open communication with each other touching on other topics other
than work. This can be made possible with virtual meetings which the company
can achieve by adopting virtual communication tools.

By having regular open communication among each other, you develop trust between the
business and the team which is necessary for company growth.

Hold Meetings Regularly

One of the biggest barriers to holding remote meetings is the fact that your employees are
in different time zones. However, you can still organize for regular meetings
regardless. The advantage of holding these meetings is the fact that you will
get to know the people behind the team.

Further, you will be able to connect and create an honest and cordial environment where
members can discuss almost anything with ease. Remote meetings are beneficial
both for your business and the employees. What’s more, members can attend the
meeting whether they are in their home offices, while traveling, or even at
home.

This can be made possible by modern technology such as advanced software. The more you
communicate with your remote teams, the more you will connect and give
everybody a sense of belonging in the business.

Be Organized

Having an appropriate structure goes a long way in promoting your business. As a manager,
you need to have comprehensive data showing all your projects and what each
team member is working on. If your company has numerous projects, keeping a tab
on each project can be an arduous task.

This explains why you should lay down procedures, create rules, and adopt project management
systems for your business. You will want to share these with your team to
ensure they understand what’s expected from them. You can begin by setting up
your data, classifying it, and distributing it among the members of your team.

Have a stipulated upon communication style for different situations. For instance, you
may want to have a 24/7 chat room for urgent matters or communicate via email
for non-urgent situations. Have clear deadlines and ensure that all team
members understand the subsequent actions for each project.

Adopt project management tools and leverage the sharing and collaboration options
they offer. This way, you will be able to view what team members are working on
and the remaining amount of work.

Adopt a Time Tracking Tool

A time tracking tool is essential for remote team managers. This is an ideal way of
laying down clear goals, monitoring the performance of your employees, and
enhancing productivity among the team. Technology is changing rapidly and you
may want to adopt new technology and make sure your remote team understands how
they can leverage it for their benefit.

Let them understand that the technology is there to furnish them with better time
management skills. This way, they will grow to appreciate rather than resent
the technology. Adopting a timesheet software will also come in handy to ensure
workers are cautious on how much it takes them to execute their tasks. This
will enhance concentration and combat distractions.

Focus on Creating a Robust Company Culture

One of your objectives as a manager should be to develop a robust company culture. You
can achieve this by laying down your objectives and allowing your remote
workers to share theirs too. After that, you can now start working towards
achieving a common goal while valuing each other’s talents, expertise, and
time.

Leverage Technology to Develop Community

Developing community is a critical part of creating an involved remote team. Leverage
technology to develop dedicated platforms which you can use to recognize and
celebrate each other’s special moments such as anniversaries, years of company
service, birthdays, and other major milestones.

Finally

Managing remote teams can be a challenging task. However, you can manage them better
with these tips. When you do it right, you will create a team of hardworking,
dedicated, loyal, and productive employees who are committed to hitting major
milestones both for their benefit and that of the company.

Keep in mind that we hire all of our developers remotely, and have done for years. From our perspective, I can’t imagine bringing developers in house due to the costs. Most readers reading this report likely already have made up their minds on whether the idea to hire your development team remotely or not has been made up. If you are on the fence, or have your own remote development teams we hope that this tips will give you some ideas to help make your remote development team strongly.