21 Best Practices to Manage Remote Teams

Working with remote teams is a winning opportunity for startups as well as established enterprises. The advent of hiring remote teams has come up with the thought of achieving higher productivity at lower costs.

But from what we have seen recently during this pandemic, remote work trend has gone viral. Just because a lot of IT companies were previously using the remote work business model, the COVID pandemic had the least effect on their ecosystem.

Remote Teams Trend

After realizing the need for adopting this business model, a lot of other industries are now engaging themselves with the remote work culture.

Still, the interesting part is that outsourcing/offshore development/remote development trend has started a long time ago than we can imagine. Also, if you will closely analyze the facts and statistics released after 2016, it seems like the trend has been thriving from the past couple of years.

And why not?

Working with remote teams offers a lot of perks. Some of them include filling the gap of talent shortage, increased productivity, reduced time to market, staffing flexibility, etc.

That’s how a lot of small businesses are surviving in this competitive world. So yes, if you are on the path to scale up your business, working with remote teams can prove beneficial.

Though there’s not much difference, a lot of entrepreneurs get confused with the two terms “remote team and distributed team”. Therefore, before moving ahead, it’s important to clear this confusion.

Remote Team vs Distributed Team

Remote Team: A remote team is a small group of people having complementary skills that are dedicated to achieving one common goal. They share responsibilities to make the company outshine. Usually, a remote team is when you hire developers from an offshore company, wherein the employees are working from a physical office.

And most of the companies prefer working with different teams in different countries. Therefore, members of the team may belong to a different race, culture, and country.

Distributed Teams: Such a team doesn’t have a physical office or headquarter to carry out their work. Instead, they are spread across various geographical locations and time zones. The distributed team may or may not consist of freelancers and has flexible working hours because of different time zones.

Recommended Read: 6 Reasons to Stop Thinking about Freelance Developers!

How to Manage Remote Teams Effectively?

Thanks to the Internet that the world now has become a global place where it has become easy to connect with each other. The concept to hire a remote development team is amazing as it is not limited to time or distance.

It’s like working with a team of developers from a different country on one project and completing it effectively. Because every country has a different culture, it becomes challenging to grip employees and manage a remote team. And to produce quality work, you have to work hard to gain your team’s trust & respect.

To give you some guidance, here are some tips to manage remote teams:

21 Best Practices to Manage Remote Teams

1. Standard On-Board System to Welcome New Employees

Hiring someone new in your team is always exciting.

One of the primary goals of an onboarding process is to help new remote employees acclimate to the expectations of the new work environment. This way, they can proceed comfortably and effectively in their respective roles.

The first few days are very crucial. At that time, the remote staff learns and embrace the corporate culture.

Provide them a Playbook

As soon as you plan to set up an offshore development center, it’s important to create a document of a few pages, that will help your remote developers to get started. They should be aware of what tools they will be working on, what resources are available, and what policies are in effect related to their tasks.

2. Systematic Work Environment

Just because you are connected with remote developers and you are not meeting them doesn’t mean the team won’t feel united. In an effort to make the office more welcoming for the remote team, foster friendly feelings by encouraging individualism.

To combat the issues of isolation, keep the process as transparent as possible, and encourage leadership. You should have a good grasp of their relative strengths and weaknesses. For each remote developer you add, spend time to know them.

Discuss their goals, personalities, beliefs, and work habits. Make the business objectives clear, but not in a polite tone.

3. Hire a Remote Team

Instead of hiring freelancers that turn out to be costly in the long run, working with dedicated offshore developers is way better. Starting from productivity to diversity, there are plenty of reasons to hire a remote development team. Here are the major reasons:

  • Reduce cost
  • Increase employee engagement
  • Boosts productivity

4. Communication and Collaboration

According to a Forbes report, 97% of the employees believe that there is a lack of alignment and sync within a team that impacts the outcome.

Communication is all about prioritization. There are many communication pitfalls that can befall remote teams. Without having the ability to have organic, in-person interactions, developers can easily fall victim to “out of sight, out of mind.”

First of all, arrange the appropriate number of weekly formal “report-ins.” Second, set specific guidelines about the daily requirements from the remote development team.

Zoom, Slack, Google Calendar, Yammer, Skype, Google Drive, Jell, Jira, and Formstack are few of the important communication and collaborative tools that help make your team stronger, foster bond and produce great results.

If your offshore development team, work in different time zones, then ensure there is an overlapping period where everyone is working and then organize your virtual meeting during that time. The key is to keep monitoring the communication and collaborative tools. This way, you can look for better ways to handle situations.

5. Flexible Work Hours

Bill Gates, once said-competition for talent gets tougher when companies that give extra flexibility to their employees have the edge. Remote developers work for flexible time to match the work environment and working style. This makes the virtual developers more focussed on what they are doing and willing to help.

They have fewer distractions, and all of that translates into a greater efficiency that boosts productivity. Developing a cohesive remote team starts with a set of core company values.

6. Tracking Progress

Tracking Performance
Source – Google Images

When the team creates clear goals with measurable milestones.

Every member of the team should have success indicators. Encourage that the members share the timesheets. This also helps in making a benchmark regarding their performance, efficiency, and productivity.

Good monitoring time tracking software is Basecamp, Github, and Asana. They make it incredibly simple to track the process and progress.

7. Set up a Meeting Time

Online meeting is a normal part of every day distributed team workflow. But it is important to make them efficient. There are plenty of technology tools that make the process of running an online meeting easier, faster, and more collaborative. 

Every Time Zone, World Clock Meeting Planner, and World time buddy helps in choosing the right time frame for the distributed team.

Successfully managing a remote team can be overwhelming, but it shouldn’t be.

By following the aforementioned tips, it becomes easy to work with a team of n number of employees. Whether your team is sitting five miles away or 5000 you will have everything you need to confidently run a productive remote development team.

Recommended Read: No Excuses: The Definitive Guide to Managing a Remote Team

8. Open Chat Rooms

The remote team that is geographically dispersed faces a lot of challenges in streamlining their workflow. Efficient and quick communication should be in the form of dialog, not in emails as they get piled up. Open chatrooms help in instant message communication via slack and other tools.

9. Sync Between in-house and Remote teams

Planning, organizing, leading, and controlling are important as per the company’s objectives. But because of the physical constraints of working with the virtual and in-house team members, it is imperative for the project managers to create a situation where the whole development team can interact.

The manager should make a practice of fostering regular communication to maintain a sync between the remote and in-house team.

10. Assign Buddies

When you have created sync between the in-house and remote development team. It is important to assign a mentor or buddy to the remote employee so that they become comfortable in the environment.

Any query related to the project or any kind of assistance can be clarified by this mentor. The project requirements become crystal clear when their communication is seamless. That mentor helps remove a lot of stress and guides him smoothly through the team’s workflow.

11. Choose the Right Communication Medium

Communication Medium
Source – Google Images

The only way to avoid any pitfall is to be very clear about how the offshore team will communicate. Create a charter for dedicated offshore developers that establishes norms of behavior when communicating.

This can include limiting background noise, talking at a clear pace, listening attentively, and more. Communication goes beyond the verbal exchanges, so make sure the right medium is used.

12. The Defined Set of Tools

Managing a remote team has become easier than before. Remote teams offer real value, and you get to pivot the project whenever you want to with the help of tools.

This helps in smooth coordination when dealing with long-distance employees. Slack, Basecamp, Asana, Google Docs, Trello are few of the tools that help you manage the team.

13. Documentation:

Documentation
Google Images

You can’t truly succeed without a great documentation. The remote developers are not minded readers, they need a document. Documentation ensures efficiency, consistency, and peace of mind.

This standardization ensures everyone is working in the same direction towards the same goal.

14. Weekly Meetings

Weekly meetings keep everyone on the same page. Make sure you have your material and team updates in advance in the meeting. Screensharing software like Join.me, Zoom.us, and Appear.in give a plus point. Keep one thing in mind that everyone in the in-house and dispersed team should decide a time that suits them. Get a quick overview of the ‘Every Time Zone’ tool and then decide accordingly. 

15. Set Realistic Expectations

When it comes to defining working hours or assigning project deliverables, it is imperative that everyone has clarity on the tasks. It’s best to divide the responsibilities within the team. Set realistic expectations from your remote team. It will help you to avoid inevitable issues down the road.

16. Meet your Team in Person

In Person Meeting
Source – Google Images

Meetups are great for morale says Jon Lay, founder of Hanno. Gain interpersonal connections with a team meeting in person. The meetings should be planned to allow people to collaborate in a way that is productive.

The primary reason to meet is to socialize. Everyone connects better across teams, which leads to better communication as well as coordination.

17. Establish a Relationship with your Remote Teams

When you form an alliance with the virtual team, it becomes important to establish a strong relationship with them.

Remote developers are goal-oriented & productive. As you work on building relationships, your project will be more successful, and the team will be happier leading you to the pinnacle of success.

18. International Holidays

Every individual in your multicultural remote team has religious obligations that have to be fulfilled. Different national holidays fall into this category.

Respect the company’s culture and understand that they have the right to enjoy occasions. So, organize your projects around these holidays. If you take their cultural limitations seriously, it will help them trust you more.

19. Boost Morale of your Remote Developers

The moral of every individual is highly dependent on feelings, and productivity is directly proportional to the morale.

Low morale leads to Boosting their morale is important as they are distributed all over the world. To keep their spirits, high praise them whenever they work well.

20. Positive Feedbacks

Positive Feedback
Source – Google Images

Feedback can be a simple yet very powerful motivational tool. Share positive feedback verbally in the office space. But it’s great to appreciate your remote developers via email.

21. Rewards & Appreciations

Remote developers already have a tendency to feel left out and isolated. Whenever a remote employee gets positive feedback, it boosts their productivity. But make sure that the notable achievement should have a special mention in a public email or group chat.

Reward them with cash prizes or shopping vouchers. To make rewards impactful, giveaway cash prizes, or shopping vouchers so that they have a good time.

Start meeting with kudos: Kick off the team meeting by encouraging and praising employees. This is a great way to start a meeting on a high note.

Wrapping Up

With the above-mentioned tips, you can manage your remote teams effectively. You can improve employee satisfaction across cultures, productivity, and morale. Rely on communication/collaboration tools and ensure smooth project management.

This way, you will get a group of loyal, hardworking, and productive remote developers that will help you reach the vision of the company. Do you want to hire top offshore developers from India? Get in touch with us today and our team will contact us shortly.

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