Remote Teams: 6 Ways to Work Better Together

The advantages of telecommuting have been disputed for quite some time, with some experts contending that collaborating with colleagues in remote locations can pose difficulties. The debate dates back to 2023, when Google proposed plans for its new headquarters, which prioritised the occurrence of chance interactions among employees as a means of promoting idea generation and joint work. Inevitably, this strategy led to a 15% surge in productivity due to enhanced teamwork.

During the same period, Marissa Meyer, who was the CEO of Yahooten at the time, gathered her telecommuting staff. Recently, BNY Mellon faced criticism when they attempted to compel their digital nomads to return to the workplace, using similar justifications.

The fact is that telecommuting is an industry that is constantly evolving, with significant changes occurring even within a year, let alone a span of six years. Developers who specialise in software operate optimally from their homes, and they have a strong desire to work remotely (similar to the majority of people, who also prefer telecommuting), which motivates them to create effective tools that facilitate remote work.

In contemporary times, the process of teamwork among individuals from different parts of the world is becoming progressively more straightforward. This involves the participation of multiple departments, including developers, designers, artists, and business experts. If you and your distributed team are still encountering challenges in collaborating smoothly, here are six key factors to take into account:

The Digital Equivalent of the Office Water Cooler

The discussion concerning the effectiveness of telecommuting has taken place multiple times, and has become a familiar, oft-repeated debate. It has been proven beyond doubt that Google’s position was correct, specifically that the optimal way to foster collaboration is through “accidental collisions,” which occur when employees come across each other unexpectedly. This interaction aids in the development of a sense of belonging and trust, which are key elements of successful collaboration. Excellent!

Designating a specific “water cooler” channel within your team communication software is a widely used remedy for virtual teams. This dedicated channel enables team members to get acquainted with one another and engage in casual chats, humour, and personal stories. If you haven’t implemented a communication platform as yet, you could take a look at some of these suggestions. In certain cases, it can be advantageous to bar managers from joining the channel, or to set up a distinct channel where members can communicate free from apprehension of being observed.

Team Training: A Key Component to Success

Assembling a distributed team to address issues relating to trust can be a challenging undertaking. Regrettably, many of us have encountered unsuccessful team-building events, and the mere mention of the words “team building” can evoke feelings of apprehension and conjure up memories of a scene from ‘The Office’ TV show.

When you are located at various locations, you encounter a distinct obstacle in constructing and preserving team morale. To overcome this, it is recommended that you incorporate ‘getting to know you’ sessions into your team meetings, which allow members to introduce themselves, display their workspaces, and share personal photos. Additionally, why not propose a Google Hangout session now and then, with everyone leaving their cameras running throughout the day? This can be an effective approach to fostering better acquaintance between members and developing relationships, even from afar.

Cooperative tasks can also be undertaken through online games. Whether it’s setting up your Quake server, creating a guild on Neverwinter, or playing together using the Uno app, there’s something for every preference. The crucial factor is to spend time together by engaging in an activity other than work.

Sharpen Your Tools: Enhance Your Skills!

At Works, we are constantly on the lookout for fresh and inventive software alternatives that facilitate telecommuting. In today’s ecosystem, it is simpler than ever to discover the best solution for any team size, regardless of the project’s magnitude. We anticipate that the following resources will be beneficial in streamlining the shift to remote work.

  • Annotation

    Applications such as GoVisually and Skitch, which permit users to add comments and notes to screenshots and GUI designs, can be beneficial when soliciting feedback from colleagues. Both of these tools offer the ability to engage in non-real-time conversations via signposts or to publish comments at a time that is convenient for others to view. Hotjar is a valuable feature that allows you to capture user sessions, providing further insight into how visitors engage with your website, enabling you to optimise conversion rates.
  • Brainstorming

    Mindmeister is our primary tool for generating impromptu ideas, but when more immediate needs arise, Ideaflip is the way to go.
  • Whiteboards

    We can all relate to the sense of accomplishment that comes with being called up to the whiteboard with a marker in hand. It’s a feeling we all share. So, let’s march onwards. The AWW app is the perfect solution for asynchronous discussions, while RealTimeBoard is our optimal choice for urgent meetings.
  • Online video meetings

    Acquiring a high-quality video conferencing system is the optimal solution for remote teams, as it provides the most similar experience to meeting in person. While Skype and Zoom are the most common services, there are several other alternatives available for dispersed teams.

It is vital to keep in mind that the resources discussed here do not constitute a comprehensive list of the tools needed to manage a productive remote team. Additionally, versions control, task management, and file sharing should also be considered.

Establish a Culture of Collaborative Teamwork

This is why we find the Agile development methodology so attractive. For remote teams, the daily stand-up is crucial. For those unfamiliar, this is a meeting where each team member discusses their progress, successes, and obstacles. Each member can see the capabilities of others, celebrate progress, and provide assistance when problems arise, which helps to foster team cohesion.

It is crucial to cultivate a work environment that encourages employees to express themselves and voice any concerns they may have. Employees should not take any criticism personally, and it is imperative to establish a culture of collaboration that fosters a secure environment for individuals to share their thoughts and ideas. To ensure a productive and supportive atmosphere, we suggest adopting Hanlon’s Razor, which is a simplified version of Occam’s Razor and asserts, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by ignorance”; in other words, we should always assume that the other person does not comprehend what we are saying.

Recognize the Differences

Utilizing the global talent pool offers numerous benefits, from accessing the most skilled developers to cultivating a more diverse workforce. However, when collaborating with individuals whose first language is not English, it is crucial to keep in mind that some language support may be required.

Establish some guidelines for how meetings will be conducted. Avoid using slang or colloquial expressions, as these can be perplexing for non-native speakers. It can also be beneficial to develop a glossary of some of the more unconventional terms used by your team to serve as a reference. If any supplementary materials will be distributed along with the meeting, ensure they are sent out well in advance, allowing your non-native speakers more time to review the content before the meeting.

Empower Remote-Ready Employees

As we’ve established, most individuals prefer remote work, but not everyone is suited for it. A competent remote worker should not only possess technical expertise but also have the ability to remain focused and solve problems independently, particularly if they are situated in a disparate time zone from the rest of the team.

If you entrust us with the task of recruiting a new programmer, we will meticulously evaluate each CV we present to you to ensure that the candidates we recommend possess the requisite skills and experience for remote work. We can simplify the process of locating a remote IT professional and accomplish the task within two weeks. Does this sound acceptable to you? If yes, please contact us immediately to learn more.

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