Here Are 5 Tips for Managing a High-Performance, Distributed Engineering Team

In response to Covid-19, remote work became commonplace among many corporations. With vaccinations becoming more widely available two and a half years later, in-person meetings are cautiously being reintroduced. Nevertheless, remote work is expected to remain an essential aspect of business life.

According to a recent study conducted by Mckinsey, 87% of individuals who were given the option to work remotely decided to do so, with the percentage increasing to 35% for those who could work from home every day of the week. This shift towards remote work has become a common trend spanning multiple professions and demographics.

It is clear that remote employees enjoy increased independence and flexibility when compared to those working in traditional office settings. Nonetheless, managing a team from afar can present a distinct challenge for executives.

As a leader of a dispersed team of engineers at Fluxx, I have been fortunate to acquire invaluable insight that I think can be beneficial to any team leader. Here are five of the most significant lessons I’ve learned, as well as potential obstacles to be cautious of.

Ensure that you have all the necessary information before hiring someone.

When seeking to employ someone to work remotely, it is crucial to conduct comprehensive background research on them. Furthermore, it is important to consider how well they will assimilate with the rest of the team.

To gain a greater understanding of the professional accomplishments of others, it would be advantageous to ask the following questions: What attributes contribute to their job success? What are the anticipated work requirements? When reflecting on their professional journey, what have been the most challenging and rewarding experiences?

Now that you possess the responses, you can assess whether they correspond with your company’s and your staff’s values.

Show trust in your workers by granting them autonomy.

Once you have hired the right people, have faith in your own judgement and your team members’ abilities. Since remote work makes it challenging to track each team member’s progress at all times, attempting to do so may result in excessive anxiety.

In order to attain sustained success, it is crucial to provide team members with significant independence in their leadership positions. Allowing workers to experience a sense of freedom in their work environment can substantially improve their engagement with their job and career.

The key is to provide your employees with the liberty to solve problems independently while also being available to step in if necessary.

Your department’s contribution to the larger objective of the business is the only guide you should adhere to. There’s no point in getting excessively stressed about it.

Ensure equality amongst all team members.

At Works, we are committed to guaranteeing that all engineers, both internal and external, are welcomed and appreciated. All workers have equal engagement rights, which include accessing data, joining company-wide meetings, and utilizing all available Slack channels. Assignments allocated to both internal and external personnel are deemed equally important and intricate, and we encourage everyone to speak up.

Amidst the pandemic, this egalitarian strategy was priceless for our team, as we shifted to a digital and remote work setting. This allowed us to smoothly make decisions and maintain our productivity.

Keeping professional communication within the team is crucial by referring to in-house engineers as ‘they’ and external team members as ‘them’. Efficient interpersonal communication is pivotal for productive collaboration and goal attainment.

Collaborate to sustain innovation.

Studies by Gallup have shown that remote teams are at higher risk of burnout due to factors such as geographical distance, heightened personal stress, and a lack of face-to-face interaction.

During the onboarding process, I stress the significance of cooperation, even amidst remote teams. It is not permissible to disregard others and concentrate solely on one’s own assignments. As a result, I encourage my team to seek assistance whenever they deem it necessary.

Undeniably, the term “collaboration” has been excessively utilized in the corporate world, but it continues to be a key component in keeping teams driven and committed, particularly when they are adapting to remote work.

Listen, Record, and Adapt

Implementing a new system frequently necessitates a time for trial and error. This is especially valid when collaborating with individuals in different time zones, even if they have a good grasp of the same programming language as you (as is common among engineers).

In the event that the techniques passed down by your colleagues are not productive for your undertakings, take advantage of the evolving atmosphere and grasp new opportunities. Demonstrate to your remote personnel that you are receptive to suggestions and are ready to make essential modifications to accommodate their requirements.

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