The era of high-speed internet and a plethora of communication apps have made possible what was once deemed to always fail – the distributed workforce. There was a time when it was widely believed that if all your employees do not work at the same office, your business is bound to fail.
The current pandemic has, however, forced many enterprises to adopt the distributed workforce model in a short duration of time. It has lead to two revelations.
The first is that a distributed workforce does not fail as there are more than enough ways to stay connected in the present world. The other is that many enterprises will prefer a distributed workforce, even when the pandemic is over.
Every office follows certain practices to maintain and track productivity and to ensure that every team is performing at the optimum level. Similarly, you will need to follow certain practices to ensure that the distributed team is performing at their optimum level.
Building a distributed team for rapid growth requires keen attention, right from the hiring stage. Here is everything you need to know to make sure that your distributed team delivers excellent results every time.
Make The Right Hiring Decisions
Hiring a distributed workforce is a challenge since you will face competition from other brands, and finding resources with the right skill sets is not easy. The best way to hire distributed employees would be to look for people who are proactive, excellent at prioritizing, and have exceptional writing skills.
A remote employee needs to be proactive since it is not possible to constantly supervise them, and they should be able to work independently with the least guidance. The ability to prioritize tasks would help them in completing the project on time. They should be able to communicate in writing since that is the usual mode of communication for distributed teams.
A remote developer should have engineering expertise, the ability to work as part of a team, and great communication skills. You can hire remote developers through X-team that will provide you with experienced professionals.
You could also try Gigster to help you in hiring a distributed team for your remote software developer needs. It has freelancers who are hired on an invite-only basis. This ensures that you get the best quality project managers, software developers, and designers.
Choose Appropriate Tools
Tools make or break distributed teams. This form of operation is supported by collaboration apps and modern communication. The tools that are indispensable for efficient remote working are real-time chat, information sharing, and video conferencing.
Real-time chat is the best substitute for collaboration and immediate interaction, similar to what you find in a regular office environment. This is essential for creating a remote office culture and effective communication. There should be a centralization of team communication through Skype or HipChat.
Information sharing for distributed teams needs to take place through an online story wall. The teams can find out the status of product development in terms of defects, pending tests, and stories in progress. Video conferencing tools like Zoom or Slack help in creating trust among employees.
Choose The Right Performance Metrics
To ensure that your distributed team is performing at an optimal level, relevant performance metrics must be used. The focus should be on productivity, and not the hours spent. If you are measuring the performance of a coder, the focus should be on the quality of coding and not the volume of code written.
The managers should track the quality of the outcome related to the job and not the hours spent on it by the employee. You need to see if the employee is going up the learning curve and becoming more efficient at the task. The rate of scaling should be growing at a faster pace.
Create A Sandbox
One of the challenges of managing a remote team is enforcing certain norms or standards for ensuring seamless operations. Members of distributed teams should have the self-discipline to follow norms and lay down high standards that would be self-imposed.
The structure to be followed by managers of distributed teams would work on the same principles as that of a sandbox. The edges of the sandbox would be the boundaries or the norms to be followed like accepted tools, sprint ceremonies, or code coverage expectations.
The framework for collaboration would be firmly designed, but the employees should have flexibility in the implementation of the norms.
Foster Interpersonal Connections
When it comes to distributed teams, the frequency of communication becomes very important. This helps you find out how they are going about their job and the rate of progress. Apart from this, you build a stronger rapport with your team members.
The distributed-team environment is virtual without any opportunities for your employees to share a cup of coffee or chat with their coworkers. By calling your team members and talking about their weekend plans or the football game last night is a great strategy for improving team dynamics. With the right interpersonal communication, the morale of the team improves, leading to higher productivity.
Team ceremonies are a part of each sprint and occur at certain stages. These would include software demos, code reviews, or meetings for planning and estimation. These team events should be scheduled, keeping in mind the convenience of the employees so that there is participation from all employees, regardless of location.
Even though times zones are a challenge, there would be several instances during the day when all the employees are online. Distributed teams comprise of employees who may have their preferred working hours when they are the most productive and they might not stick to a 9 to 5 routine. As long as your company is growing at the desired pace, the employees should have the flexibility to choose their working hours.
If a remote team member achieves an important milestone, you need to recognize it and reward them accordingly. Apart from the monetary incentive, verbal recognition plays a great role in motivating remote teams. You could post their achievements in the chat room so that they are publicly acknowledged.
Take Your Business To The Next Level With Remote Teams
With businesses being global and the pandemic restricting mobility, a distributed team is an exciting reality. If you select the right resources and set the right performance benchmarks, you can expect higher revenues and margins.
Manage your remote team well and see your profits soar.