Techniques for Thriving in an Irregularly Distributed Workforce

Thanks to Works’ extensive experience in remote work, the company has been able to maintain its regular operations even amidst the economic slump.

The trend towards remote work is steadily growing and gaining importance. Companies that are predominantly physical and therefore cannot function in areas where restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic have been imposed are finding it challenging to adapt. While it is undoubtedly crucial for individuals to stay home, this has, unfortunately, resulted in reduced productivity for many businesses.

The shift towards the digital realm has been significant, but unfortunately, numerous businesses of various sizes and industries are facing challenges in keeping up with their pre-existing services. This constitutes a major pitfall in the critical transition towards digitalization.

It is clear that managing a distributed workforce is distinct from managing a team in a physical office. The task is neither inherently more or less challenging. Nevertheless, numerous businesses are struggling to acclimate to this novel approach. Fortunately, I can offer my expertise to aid in this transition.

For over a decade, Works has been dedicated to remote work. The recent transition to a fully distributed workforce was achieved with remarkable ease. We take pride in our thousand-strong team spread across the Americas, and our expansion initiatives are still in full swing.

Thanks to our remote-first approach, we have been able to sustain our business operations despite the economic slowdown. At Works, all our employees work remotely, and our clients collaborate with top-tier IT professionals located across Latin America. One can undoubtedly gain valuable insights into the best ways to implement distributed work by partnering with us.

This is the place to explore what one must avoid.

Working from Home: Three Common Issues to Look Out For.

1. Trust Issues

The importance of trust in fostering a successful manager-remote team relationship cannot be overstated. Without trust, various problems can arise, which hinder the productivity of both parties. Consequently, it is paramount that managers and teams establish trust. Supervisors must have confidence in their teams’ ability to perform, while teams should trust their managers’ decisions. Transparent communication and regard for one another are critical for cultivating and upholding trust.

There seems to be a growing trend of managers expressing their discontent on LinkedIn about their perceived loss of control over their departments. It is natural for everyone to take a break, and some mistakes may occur during this time. However, the issue at hand is whether this is a new phenomenon or not. These individuals were working with you before, and those who appreciated their contributions then are likely to continue doing so now.

As a manager at Works, my daily responsibilities include overseeing teams spread across different locations. Based on personal experience, I recognize that trust is a crucial component of our success. Our accomplishment can be attributed to the trust established amongst our team members. The agile methodology and project management systems that we use enable us to convey precise instructions, set rigorous standards, and monitor project progress closely. It is evident that a lack of trust can have an adverse impact on productivity. In the subsequent sections, I will elaborate on this point.

2. Group Meetings using the SCRUM Framework

Conducting SCRUM meetings is an excellent way to equip your team with the necessary resources to perform optimally. Even when managing remote teams, it doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, it can be simplified into more manageable segments, such as:

  1. Select a video conferencing tool. We use Zoom, but several other options are available.
  2. Ensure that your staff members are proficient in using the tool. Create your own tutorial or guide if necessary.
  3. Schedule the meeting for a suitable time that accommodates everyone. Try to keep the duration to less than an hour.
  4. Facilitate the meeting. Provide everyone with a chance to express their ideas. Close by asking for feedback, updates, and opinions.

At Works, we place great importance on agility and consider it a core value. To this end, we prioritize SCRUM meetings as a means of promoting collaboration and innovation. During these gatherings, team members can share their accomplishments, difficulties, and novel concepts. We strongly believe that these discussions are crucial for fostering effective and efficient teamwork.

3. Continuous and Vigilant Supervision

For instance, suppose you have been assigned a project at work that requires your immediate attention. It is critical to commence work immediately and keep your manager updated on the project’s progress. You are allowed to work on the project as much as feasible within the set timeline, without any impediments hindering its completion.

A micro-manager has a habit of scrutinizing every aspect of a task, requiring frequent progress reports, even if they are not critical. Such an approach eliminates the possibility of experimentation, error, or independent decision-making since the individual is expected to strictly adhere to the manager’s instructions.

Being subjected to micromanagement is not only a squandering of time but can also result in low morale, burnout, and stagnation for the team. Such practices can impede a team from achieving its maximum potential by encouraging team members to rely excessively on their managers and suppressing creativity and innovation.

In my opinion, the most effective approach to avoid micromanagement is to concentrate on meeting predetermined goals. It is crucial to prioritize tasks based on the company’s objectives, ensuring that the results are quantifiable, feasible, and contribute to the organization’s growth. To have a greater impact, make the tasks inventive and challenging. Employing project management tools, such as Jira, is an excellent method to guarantee that objectives are met within the specified timeframe.

Works’ Individual Cultural Beliefs

Let me share with you the distinct culture of Works.

Paul Azorin and I laid the foundation of Works during a challenging global economic downturn in 2009. Our goal was to attract highly skilled and competent Information Technology (IT) professionals from Latin America, an economically thriving region with a large number of highly qualified IT experts. We realized that the most effective way to achieve our objective was to embrace a culture of remote working.

As we anticipated the most exceptional IT talents to be scattered across various locations, we understood that no single country or region would have a majority of these experts. As such, by legitimizing remote work, we broadened our reach considerably, and began creating distributed teams comprising of the most skilled professionals. Eliminating geographical limitations made it easier than ever to build robust teams.

More than a decade ago, remote work was not as prevalent as it is today. Despite facing initial challenges, our company has earned the trust and admiration of clients, establishing an outstanding reputation in the field of software development. We now compete with some of the largest software outsourcing companies worldwide.

Works has received numerous accolades for its exceptional performance and contribution to the global market. Within three years, Works experienced a growth rate of 792%, earning a spot on Inc. magazine’s prestigious list of the 5000 fastest expanding private companies in the United States. The company was also recognized by Clutch as a top B2B service provider and software development firm in the region.

Our proficiency in utilizing remote techniques gives us the ability to access more software applications than any of our competitors in Latin America. Every year, we receive applications from over 240,000 individuals worldwide, but only 1% of these candidates pass our rigorous selection process. We only engage the most proficient and skilled IT professionals to work on our clients’ projects, ensuring exceptional results.

Our adoption of centralised remote operations has resulted in considerable accomplishments. Our committed efforts have allowed us to remain completely functional despite the existing circumstances. We have acquired extensive knowledge in this field and continuously strive to improve our remote processes, so that we are equipped for any eventuality.

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