Our very own Steve, Vice President of Technology Product at Works, possesses extensive experience in overseeing geographically dispersed product and engineering teams. He provides invaluable guidance on how to effectively enhance the efficiency of remote workers, outlining four strategies to address common challenges and establish high-performing engineering teams.
It may appear counterintuitive to foster team collaboration by having them operate remotely instead of congregating in a meeting room. However, this is increasingly becoming the standard in the contemporary business world due to the emergence of virtual teams. To promote smoother team synergy, we propose abandoning conventional face-to-face meetings and instead employing virtual meetings with team members collaborating from their respective workspaces.
In a virtual setting, it can be challenging to sustain confidence, especially when everyone else is present in one room. Works’ esteemed Vice President of Technology Product, who specializes in assisting companies to expand their distributed engineering teams, recognizes the impact of feeling detached. As they emphasize, “You miss out on the small talk, the banter, and the laughter that occurs organically when people coexist in the same physical space.” Even though we may be physically separated, when we all look into the camera simultaneously, we create the interpersonal connection necessary for establishing mutual understanding.
Works has developed a comprehensive framework for augmenting the efficacy of remote work environments, which has been adopted by more than 1,000 engineers in Asia and 150 companies worldwide. According to Works, the critical element in the success of this system is promoting transparent and candid dialogues, wherein every team member has an equal voice. To gain further insights into Works’ expert guidance on how to achieve this, see below:
Ensure Clear Communication.
When working together on a project involving personnel from diverse departments, it is vital to determine the most effective communication method. Instead of having separate conversations at varying workstations, initiating a group discussion on platforms like Slack is advisable to ensure everyone is notified simultaneously. Though it is critical to note that face-to-face dialogue should not be terminated; if meetings are scheduled outside workspaces, make sure to share the information with colleagues on returning to your desk.
Instill Habits that Promote Self-sustenance.
Rather than wasting valuable time in meetings with unnecessary updates and unfruitful brainstorming, it could be advantageous to consider alternate modes of collaboration. For instance, “we could employ a Google Doc instead of organizing a meeting to discuss a new project,” they proposed. In this way, each team member can peruse the document, provide feedback, or pose questions at their convenience. By the time morning arrives, I would have access to all the comments and inquiries. This approach fosters candid and transparent conversations, which are especially beneficial for teams dispersed across different time zones or with diverse working and learning styles.
Conduct Frequent Individual Video Conferences with Your Team.
It may pose challenges in identifying any obstacles that remote team members are encountering. Therefore, it is crucial to engage in regular, frequent, and candid one-on-one conversations. Cultivating camaraderie with your team members such that they are comfortable to share their concerns may entail some expertise, but it is imperative. A survey of 500 engineering managers in the United States discovered that managers leading dispersed teams are over twice as likely to hold weekly one-on-one meetings with their team members compared to those leading non-remote personnel.
Arrange a Gathering for the Entire Team At Least Once Annually.
Emails, Slack, Google Docs, and video conferencing are all practical resources for completing assignments; nonetheless, they cannot replace physical interactions with colleagues. Although we acknowledge that assembling everyone at least once every year can be arduous and costly, it is believed to be immensely advantageous. During spontaneous encounters at the workplace or over dinner, one can learn fascinating aspects about their colleagues. When persons share experiences and laugh together, it contributes to nurturing and cementing relationships, even after the gathering concludes. Moreover, we discovered that maintaining and expanding relationships remotely is achievable. Nevertheless, if the foundation of the connection was established in person, it is much more effortless to enhance it further.
Explore Further: The Top 3 Communication Missteps that Hybrid Teams Make and Ways to Rectify Them