Efficiently Managing Remote Teams: 6 Best Practices for Success
Managing remote teams, especially a nearshore team of software developers, can be both challenging and rewarding. While a nearshore team works remotely, they are located in a nearby country and operate in a similar time zone, making communication and collaboration more manageable. However, managing a remote team can result in a lower level of cohesion compared to traditional office teams. Additionally, cultural differences, language barriers, and time zone challenges are some of the factors to consider when managing a nearshore team.
In this blog, we explore best practices for team leads to maximize profitability, build strong relationships, and deliver high-quality results when managing remote teams. We will discuss strategies for overcoming the challenges of managing a nearshore team, such as using the right tools, maintaining effective communication, and tracking tasks and productivity. By implementing these strategies, team leads can create a cohesive and productive team that delivers high-quality results like a well-oiled machine.
Set clear expectations and procedures
When managing remote teams, it’s important for team leads to outline project goals and roles from the get go. That is, setting clear expectations for each team member completed with his responsibilities and duties laid out in detail. Everyone should know what’s expected of them, their tasks and have a due date.
With this approach, it’s important to be outcome oriented, so be flexible in terms of scheduling and allow them to log their own hours.
It’s also a good idea to set parameters for communication. With people spread out over different cities and different countries, holidays, working schedules, and acceptable correspondence times should be clarified.
You don’t want employees feeling bothered about having to answer messages outside of their shift. Offering a certain amount of leeway will alleviate any pressure from receiving direct messages while off-duty, and will provide structure for the process.
Track productivity and metrics
When managing remote teams, it’s crucial to not let anything fall by the wayside. That’s not to say you should start micromanaging your employees, but staying on top of all relevant metrics will provide the data you need in order to make assertions about how your team is doing, who’s pulling their weight, and who deserves recognition for their achievements—which brings us to our next tip.
Great communication is paramount
When it comes to remote work, communication is the lifeblood of your team. Team members should actively be communicating with each other, and you should be communicating with each of them too.
You can, of course, delegate the task of regular communication to department leaders, but you should be having an occasional video call with those directly under your supervision. Face to face communication through video conferences fills the void left by not being able to see or hear each other as you and your team may have been accustomed to. In fact, a study conducted by Harvard Business Review found that 87% of remote employees feel a greater sense of connection when video conferencing.
On top of that, employee recognition is essential. Any landmarks should still be celebrated accordingly, and even minor achievements should be recognized and praised in a way that makes team members feel appreciated. This will ultimately reduce turnover rates, and help sustain a happy and productive work relationship.
Lastly, taking the time to get to know each of your employees is a great way to foster a more cohesive unit. Have the discussions and small talk that will let your team view you as a friendly manager, not someone who’s all work, no play.
A technique you can use to encourage bonding is to simply ask, “How are you?” This small gesture has great implications about who you are as a person, and more importantly, who you are as a leader.
Equip your team with the right tools and technology
Choosing the right collaborative software for managing remote teams is key. It’ll allow you to streamline communication and work processes all in one place. And since your remote collaboration software will be cloud-based, you’ll be able to access it from anywhere at any time, on virtually any device.
Some of the best collaboration tools are Slack, Wrike, Zoom, and Google’s new version of Hangouts Chat. Once you establish your team using one or more of the above tools, you can set up channels or project-specific discussion rooms where selected members can collaborate using a variety of features.
Promote the organization’s work culture
Once your team is established on your platforms of choice for work from home, a social channel or chat room is a great way to support and maintain company culture. For example, you could have a chat room like #watercooler, where team members can share non-work related things like pictures, articles, and generally shoot the breeze.
It’ll also be essential to uphold any company goals. Don’t lose sight of any company values with the switch to remote teams. For instance, if volunteering, canned food drives, or any efforts to go green were part of your company culture before the shift to online work, be sure to echo their importance and maintain a level of support for those causes.
Get the right talent and trust them to deliver
When managing remote teams, online employees need to take initiative in order to provide high quality work consistently, so finding and hiring the right staff is critical. To do that, you need to leverage the remote workforce. Outsourcing and staff augmentation is not only a great way to accomplish that, but it also saves a significant amount of money.
However, you should make sure that your remote employees are in the same time zone as you or at least close to it. That way, there won’t be any hiccups in communication. For this reason, nearshoring can be the best outsourcing option. Nearshoring provides the best of both worlds: affordable yet highly qualified talent that works the same hours as you do, ensuring seamless communication.
Partner with a Nearshore Software Development Company
Partnering with a nearshore software development company, like WebCreek, can make managing a team of nearshore software developers significantly easier. When you work with us, we take care of everything from recruiting, training, and managing the developers, to allow you to focus on your core business objectives. Our team has over 25 years’ experience working with remote teams and have established communication protocols and project management tools to ensure that your project runs smoothly.
Additionally, as our base of operations is in the US, we have knowledge of the local culture and business practices, helping to minimize any cultural barriers that may arise with a Latin American team.
With WebCreek handling the day-to-day management of your development team, you can rest assured that your project is in capable hands.
Managing a nearshore software development team can be a challenge, but keep the above tips in mind and you’ll have success. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions or would like some additional help. We’ll be glad to provide professional advice about how to best manage your team.