The development of information technologies enables us to work remotely with our team-mates, clients, employees, various messengers and conferencing tools help us a lot with this. We don’t have to wait till the team-mates get together at the office in order to discuss the urgent staff, and our customers don’t have to wait for the issues to be fixed till the usual business hours start. Messengers, conferencing tools, cloud platforms save us an enormous amount of valuable time.
Some people still hesitate to start working with remotes, so we decided to oversee the experience of teams who use remote-first approach or combine traditional approach co-locating team-mates and working with remotes. We’ll share our own empiry how working with both co-located and remote team-mates helps us deliver clients solutions and support more efficiently.
Some companies complain of the bad experience overall dealing with remotes saying it’s been just a waste of time because of ineffective work habits, communication issues, lack of motivation. One more problem for some bosses was the lack of visibility what their remotes were doing.
Though, working remotely has lots of advantages if organized properly:
1) considering remote candidates widens the talent pool significantly, you can find the right talent around the globe whatever niche skills and expertise your project needs;
2) you don’t have to deal with pain trying to sponsor visas for H1-B candidates: long time to wait for the new team-mate to come from overseas, increased costs and lots of paper issues are no joke;
3) you save time, effort and money arranging the comfortable workspace for your employees – they can do it much better for themselves, and by themselves, no need to bother yourself with this stuff;
4) workers value working in a comfortable environment and feel motivated to achieve higher results not to disappoint you with the amount and quality of work, so it pays you back again;
5) working remotely enables people to work whenever they’re the most effective and can deliver better results. Business centers aren’t open 24/7 normally, and you might need to sort something out urgently otherwise you lose the opportunity to make things done at all;
6) your business might need round-the-clock support, DevOps, e.g., and paying higher to engineers in your own country for working during night hours doesn’t seem to be the best solution both in terms of cost-effectiveness and the quality of work (working in the uncomfortable hours lowers the work efficiency whatever professional is the team-mate). In this case, hiring the person who lives in a different time zone and still can have a nice time overlap of 4 hours and more with you is the real salvation;
7) ability to work from home makes people less stressed out as they don’t feel nervous about what is going on at home, can spend more time with their valuable ones;
8) fewer distractions like noisy coworkers, meetings, conversations and so on help people concentrate on their tasks which results in productivity boost and your project growing snappier.
Let’s check what helps remote team-mates work efficiently together as a team:
1) various messengers and conferencing tools. Our team uses the combination of telegram and slack: we write on telegram to each other when the issue is urgent and snoozed notification during “not working hours” provide the opportunity to share ideas which come to mind during night hours, for example;
2) development of KPIs for every type of work provides team-mates with some measurable criteria of their work effectiveness. This way, you don’t have to see them all day long to be aware of their work results and issues they face;
3) team-building events, one-to-one meetings in person or in Hangouts room, occasional calls “about life” help us keep in touch and understand each other better. What’s the difference between day-to-day conversations at the office between co-located team-mates and occasional calls “about life”, you might inquire? From our experience, such calls are always to the point, focused and timely, compared to usual office prates;
4) planning working hours and organizing time overlaps to coordinate team efforts;
5) sharing team goals and taking ownership of tasks enables us to see the big picture altogether. Having a common goal unites people and helps avoid conflict situations: being aware of the team-mate coming to the point we want to reach using a different approach makes the “workspace” much more peaceful. So, it’s not only about work efficiency but also about comfort working together.