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Software Development

How to boost productivity through a remote software team

All companies have a goal in common: to grow their product and the demand for it. Every business should focus its efforts on increasing productivity in the workplace, as the more productive a company is, the easier it is to boost profits and improve business relationships. However, improving productivity is not as simple as it sounds.

Boosting productivity can pose a challenge to all, but particularly to startups, as their customer acquisition growth starts to happen very quickly and the need to accelerate the product roadmap becomes inevitable; this is when the engineering teams need to find ways to be more productive and accomplish their goals accordingly. 

However, being more productive does not rely on working more. In other words, a team cannot simply be asked to work more hours and be told to be more productive; instead, we should be finding new ways of building productive teams. That said, let's explore some of the most common productivity challenges and how nearshore solutions can be the answer to creating more agile software and development teams.

Let’s stay productive, but how? 

Every team experience a lack of productivity at some point, do not panic! Productivity challenges are common in teams of all sizes; however, as a small company, your team might feel they need to do a lot with little resources, which doesn’t help the productivity process. Even when you have everybody fired up and ready to tackle their tasks, you still get stuck, deadlines are missed, and team members are burnt out.

Being unproductive has a lot of root causes and is especially common during these times, as most employees from all over the world work remotely. We listed below some of the most common productivity issues your team might experience so you can spot them right away and avoid them before they start hampering your team’s productivity.

Social Isolation

Working remotely has many advantages; how don’t you enjoy avoiding traffic at rush hour or working in sweatpants? However, working from home can also feels kind of lonely. Although apparently going all day to the office might seem a thing of the past, it promoted interaction with other employees, camaraderie, and encouragement. In other words, physical and social interaction promotes a sense of community that motivates workers to reach their common goals. 

Working remotely can increase a sense of social isolation and reduce the sense of belonging to a team; this will eventually make your workers feel like they are standing alone while trying to accomplish the company’s goals. Social isolation will have a negative impact on the workers and affect their productivity within the company. 

Overwhelm and burnout:

Did you know that 23% of workers say they feel burned out more often than not, while 44% reported feeling burnt out sometimes? As ironic as it sounds, too much work is one of the main productivity blockers. The feeling of having too many things to do and not making any progress can lead to a feeling of overwhelm and burnout in your workers pretty fast, which will block productivity completely. 

Dealing with burnout has become even more challenging with remote work models, as the lines between having a work/life balance can get blurred easily. Now it is more common for employees to spend extra hours on the computer and have a hard time separating their “home environment” from their “working environment.”

Lack of clarity and communication

One of the biggest challenges of leading a remote engineering team is a lack of communication. According to Buffer’s State Of Remote Work 2020, 20% of workers surveyed responded that the biggest struggle with working remotely they have is difficulties with collaboration and communication. 

Working physically at the same place makes communication more direct and fast, as any manager can just show up at a worker’s desk and ask for something or call a meeting whenever is needed. On the other hand, when all the team is working remotely, communication can be a little trickier. When wires get crossed, the team can get lost in their tasks and priorities, and this can hinder productivity within the company.

Different Time Zones

Working remotely has allowed companies to hire talent without limiting it to their local area, which means having workers within different time zones. Also, some companies choose to outsource their employees from other countries, which poses the same time zone challenge. If not managed masterly,  this can cause problems with scheduling and communication, which will eventually lead to lower productivity rates.

How to increase productivity

Reaching high productivity levels, and more importantly, keeping them, is a learning process; however, it shouldn’t be a paramount task. With the right communication strategies and the right partner, efficiency is just around the corner. Here are some simple techniques to help you maximize the productivity of your remote team and how some solutions like nearshore can help you succeed.

Conduct Regular Online Meetings

As stated above, remote employees often feel isolated as they work without having direct interaction with their colleagues. We recommend you encourage continuous integration and knowledge sharing and prioritize communication to allow an agile development methodology with your remote teams. To fight isolation within your remote team, there´s nothing as effective as holding regular meetings with your employees. This will help you to strengthen your relationship while keeping a sense of belonging in your workers. Make sure to communicate clearly during these meetings and follow a shared agenda, so the meeting can be short and sweet.

Also, it helps to hold regular one-on-one meetings with your employees. These more personal sessions will help you motivate your team members and get more personalized feedback from your employees. Take advantage of these opportunities to discuss particular issues and explore any struggle the team might be facing and come up with solutions. 

Set individual expectations and goals

Setting individual expectations and short and long-term goals is one of the easiest ways to reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed among your employees, reducing the levels of stress and ultimately burnout. Also, try to give your workers specialized guidance on how to achieve what is expected from them; remember if you don’t communicate to your team what they should be doing, it is difficult for them to achieve what you are expecting.

Being realistic about workloads and deadlines will help you organize better and will ultimately help the company as a whole to work in a smoother and more efficient environment. But what happens when a project’s workload is not as straightforward? Nearshore is a great tool to deal with changes in project demands.

With nearshore, you have the ability to scale upwards or downwards depending on the demand allowing you to add strategic resources where they are needed without the need to overload your workers with tasks and extra hours. Plus, strategically hiring nearshore talent of a project-based nature will help you delegate tasks better, allowing your employees to stick to their work plans and organize better.

Promote a healthy work-life

Without a traditional in-house working environment (with coffee breaks, conference room meetings, happy hours, or lunch), you need to create other spaces and procedures in other to build a good work culture based on shared values and a sense of responsibility. There are plenty of helpful actions you can apply to your management skills in order to improve a healthy work culture within your team while improving productivity. Firstly, avoid micromanagement; give your employees the freedom to do what they do best; that’s why you hire them. Communicate clearly your project goals and let go of the outcome. Also, focus on long-term goals; instead of tracking every step of the project, focus on long-term goals to increase productivity. Give your remote workers a problem instead of a solution, they will be more creative. Finally, reduce busywork; automate everything that can be automated, and make sure that your team has fun working for you. Encourage your workers to find solutions and organize their work on their own, trying to avoid routinary tasks as possible.

Effective Communication

Good communication is crucial in any team; without it, hardly any project can be successful. Being located remotely throughout different regions can pose big communication challenges, so make sure to have an effective schedule and organized workflow and that your team stays up-to-date with everything. Try to find the best time for team meetings and stick to a solid communication plan.

It also helps to be present at the meetings. We sometimes know remote meetings are hard to attend but pay as much attention as you can and make sure everyone is engaged and focused. As stated above, it will also help if you make the meetings short and to the point. Finally, build a solid rapport with every team member. You need to communicate with them clearly and make sure that both your in-house team and your remote teams are on the same page.

Having nearshore partners is a great solution to improve communication. By hiring nearshore software development, everyone’s tasks are clear, and the communication is usually straightforward. Also, by having nearshore talent, you won’t need to wait for hours to receive a response making it easier to plan and meet your deadlines.

Work around the time zone

If you succeed in not micromanaging, you are already on the other side of good management skills. Good remote developers tend to be independent and self-organized by nature, so they will surely appreciate you giving them the freedom to organize their time. However, what happens when your remote software team is located throughout different time zones?

It’s true that having resources from around the world can steal productivity due to the change of timezone, but don’t be scared about having talent from different regions; with good organization and management skills, they won’t become an obstacle but rather an advantage for your projects. 

Once again, nearshore is a great option to boost productivity within your remote team.

Sharing timezones with nearshore resources means communication happens in real-time, and therefore the team remains collaborative. These overlapping hours when you and your team are available are known as “golden hours” and will be a great asset for your team’s organization. Try to squeeze as many meetings as possible into those times for instant communication.

Summing Up

If you learn to manage remote development teams, you will gain incredible productivity levels. Remember that the quality of work is never determined by a geographical location, and a properly managed team can do wonders for your projects. Don’t be afraid of extending your engineering team with highly skilled global talent. At Intersog, we can help you by providing you with a flexible nearshore workforce solution of highly skilled tech talent tailored to your company’s needs.

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