Innovating Software Engineering Teams’ Capability to Work Remotely

In 2023, VelocityGlobal carried out a study which demonstrated that a significant proportion of workers yearned to work from home regularly. While 45% of executives expressed their keenness to return to the office on a full-time basis, a majority of 55% of employees specified their inclination towards remote work that spanned at least three days in a week.

The ability to work remotely is becoming a fundamental necessity for many people in their professional lives. In order to attract skilled employees, companies are now using this as a tool and offering the option of remote work to them. For us to retain our best talent, it is imperative that we adopt the concept of flexible working hours.

What’s curious is that upon closer examination, the statistics reinforce the belief that remote work drives up productivity. In the relaxed environment of their homes, individuals tend to work for extended periods. Have you witnessed a decline in productivity recently? If yes, what do you reckon could be the cause?

The Procedure of Migration

The outbreak of COVID-19 caught the world off guard, and the average American wasn’t anticipating the pandemic to continue for over a year. The sudden change from planning for an extended period of relaxation to being confined at home was undoubtedly a challenging adjustment for most individuals.

The abrupt changes that occurred during the pandemic had taken most businesses by surprise. While some individuals adapted to remote work quickly and effortlessly, others grappled with the hurdles that came with the new normal. A blanket of discomfort, unease, and sorrow lingered over us all, not to mention the anxiety about contracting the virus and experiencing chronic COVID symptoms in the long run. As everyone tried their best to adjust to this new reality, it’s not surprising to assume that some mistakes were made.

Companies that have achieved success during the pandemic have done so by reevaluating their processes and utilising technology to foster seamless communication among their staff. The widespread adoption of Zoom by corporations globally brought its popularity to the fore, whereas the high demand for Microsoft Azure nearly saturated the cloud-based service. The required resources were readily accessible as and when needed.

As the COVID-19 pandemic draws to a close, what lessons can we draw from it? What tactics have prosperous organisations adopted to guarantee that their software engineering terms departments operate smoothly?

Leave Requests and Transparent Communication Channels

The significance of adopting a flexible policy in fostering motivation and commitment among employees cannot be overlooked. The conventional 9-5 schedule was crucial before the advent of personal digital assistants like smartphones and the Internet. Nowadays, individuals can multitask and participate in meetings while running household errands, thanks to easy accessibility to the requisite tools. All that’s required is to leverage these resources.

A specialist has emphasised the significance of efficient communication for accommodating various work styles. Typically, the primary concern isn’t being physically absent from the workplace, but rather losing contact with others. To overcome this, it’s crucial to improve communication channels and incentivise individuals to utilise the resources at their disposal.

Make use of group chats such as Slack and Teams to ensure ongoing communication, both synchronously and asynchronously. Urge team members to keep you informed about their location and availability. Specify the crucial hours of the day when full involvement is necessary, along with setting out precise deadlines and goals.

Establish a Consistent Work Flow

It’s not possible to make sweeping assertions about software developers. Some may prefer working in silence, while others may commence their day with music playing in their earbuds. Moreover, there are individuals who enjoy socialising and chatting over coffee breaks. A few may be more productive in the mornings, while others may be more productive in the evenings. To ensure that responsibilities are assigned, and teams collaborate smoothly, it’s essential to acknowledge when team members are most effective.

I spotted a potential opportunity to synergise with another developer, and upon reaching out, we decided to collaborate on our respective late-shift work. Consequently, it became apparent that we complement each other efficiently.

Creating a shared calendar is advisable to allow the team to transparently convey their availability and work peaks. This will enable the team to provide a more accurate idea of when they’d be most productive.

Benefits of Lowering Costs

While establishing communication and project management systems for remote working, it’s crucial to ensure they’re user-friendly and efficient. There’s no need to utilize Zoom for all communication purposes, as a simple message on Slack can often do the job.

For instance, FunRetro is a useful tool for ideation tracking and follow-up discussions. Essentially, it’s a collaborative whiteboard with adhesive notes.

Prioritise finding a method that corresponds to your specific situation. Numerous programs are obtainable, but not all of them may suit your team. In case a feature you require isn’t available, and your team isn’t willing to pay extra for it, you could think about creating your own solution.

In summary, cloud computing should not be disregarded. During the pandemic, sending attachments via email wasn’t feasible. Rather, we leveraged our cloud service or Google Docs to work collaboratively on documents. Compared to cloud-stored documents, attachments sent via email can get lost easily among a large inflow of emails.

Promote a Remote Work Culture

When a team is hesitant about remote work, it’s essential to accentuate the perks of a more adaptable work schedule that accommodates everyone’s engagements. One of my project managers used to say, “The office isn’t a building; it’s our work connection, it’s the cloud.” This is especially pertinent as organizations progressively embrace remote work.

Software development is an extremely collaborative pursuit and can be notably improved when there’s scope for adaptation and idea exchange. Thanks to Agile methodology, we’re better able to be flexible in our software development approach, while also granting our teams and clients more independence. Remote work is another method of finding a balance between work and personal life. There may come a time when our professions are carried out entirely in the digital realm.

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