Managing a Remote Team: Experience of Dashdevs

Managing a Remote Team: Experience of Dashdevs
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2020 truly highlights the massive shift to remote work, which is driven by the post-COVID-19 society transformation. Never before the employer had been so flexible and understanding in the ‘work from home,’ ‘work from anywhere,’ or hybrid workspace (both office and home are allowed and can be varied). At least on the global scale. Freelance also reshapes its conceptual meaning from ‘something unserious, temporary, and unstable’ to the ‘new normal.’ And the spheres of all these around-remote-jobs are also significantly expanding: finance, science, insurance, technologies, management, IT, education, — and these are only the leaders.

Considering the expertise profile of Dashdevs, which encompasses fintech, retail, and health care, such workplace change hasn’t been left unnoticed too. As a company that knows its way around innovative and well-time tech solutions, we couldn’t stand on the sidelines but decided to act. And today we possess a positive experience of managing a team, both office and remote, with you to share. Interested?

For the time being, our team is comprised of both office (73%) and remote workers (27%) within the total 138-people staff. They successfully coexist in the flexible and constantly evolving environment, which is confirmed by the job satisfaction reports, diminishing turnover (5.79% and 10.3% in Q1 and Q2, 2021, compared to 33% and 35.4% in 2020), and good retention tendencies. Besides, accounting that the age of our employees varies from 19 to 54, it’s even more apparent that we know how to build rapport and manage the partially remote whole cycle product development team. Continue reading to question your remote business model perception with Dashdevs!

World Statistics on Remote Work Popularity in 2021

If you aren’t sure about switching your team to the remote work mode, open up your eyes first with the current global trends in it. Can you imagine that more than a quarter of world organizations are fully operating on a remote basis, while more than a half offer such an option for their employees? Are you aware of the US and UK’s leadership in this? Specifically, 88% of American companies either allowed or demanded their staff to work remotely and adjusted their ‘work from home’ conditions since the pandemic. Simultaneously, the British adults are now showing the 60% of ‘work from home’ personnel share, whereas 26% express the wish to go on with the permanent/from-time-to-time remote after the lockdown ends.

But what about the others? Another example is Australia that exhibits great deference to the remote and hybrid work structures, comprising 59% and 65% of the total workforce. And you’ll probably be surprised to find out that Africa doesn’t fall behind these indices too. What concerns Asia, it gradually becomes opener and more flexible: at least 9% of the employers care about expanding the range of the suggested work models for the employee to choose.

However, you may say that’s not the case for all, and you’ll be right! 44% of companies all over the world vehemently oppose the remote business model, being afraid of the productivity decline, workers’ loss of motivation, or communications issues. We’ll refute these stereotypes in the next section, but now let’s mention that 1 in 2 people won’t agree on the job excluding the remote work opportunity. So, such employers are playing a dangerous game, aren’t they?

Key Effects of the Remote Work Model

We’ve promised you the myths debunking over the remote work, so let’s face the facts and don’t say you’re still afraid of managing a team on distance!

Workforce Retention

The truth here is crystal clear: the more employees are satisfied with their work conditions, the less probable their quitting is. If you turn it upside down, you’ll see that remote work is usually associated with more comfort, mobility, free time, and an overall positive job perception. Literally, by cutting expenses on lunches and time on the daily commute, escaping from the rigid schedule and location attachment, and saving space for some niceties, the company increases the staff’s work span and benefits from their loyalty and devotion. Or what else is behind the employees’ voluntary work hours rise by 35%?

Productivity

That’s the biggest concern of all the Doubting Thomases who reckon the productivity fall as the number one reason to stay away from remote team management. Meanwhile, the latest research findings contradict this delusion! They say remote workers are 35% to 40% more productive compared to their onsite counterparts. Well, that depends on the character of tasks too. The more tangible boost is observed in the individual tickets, whereas the collaborative tasks still require some improvement, but the difference isn’t tremendous — 44% vs 55% in favor of office. Nevertheless, the practice should equalize the situation quickly.

Social Connectivity vs Detachment

Continuing the logic of the previous point, the individuals who feel social connectivity with their associates while working on the teamwork activities already show productivity growth. To be exact, 63% of those who are socially satisfied at work are quite good at collaborating tasks in contrast to 20% of non-satisfied. Thus, it all depends on the general arrangement of processes, or, in layman’s terms, whether there’s any system behind them. In case all is set up, the remote team won’t switch their self-identification towards loneliness, which is one of the greatest challenges for now — almost 31% of remote workers suffer from it.

Staff Promotion

That’s definitely the case to be discussed separately as both collaborating parties should think it over deliberately. The fresh statistics tell that the employees who are consistently working from home have lower promotion chances compared to those who prefer office. Seemingly, it happens because of the absent face-to-face interaction with managers and other staff members. If this poses a hazard to become a trend, then two things should be done: the employers are to work out the individual development plan for everyone, while the employees need to discuss this question beforehand — right at the interview or at the moment the work conditions are altered.

Work-Life Balance

Again, it’s another issue that should be accounted for in advance by both sides. Though the responsibility for finding the work-life balance lays more on the worker’s shoulders, the firm’s top executives should regularly check the state of affairs and lead them in the right direction. Namely, the disconnection from work at specified times and having rest and personal life as well as open communication on the issues of availability, scheduling, and boundary-setting within a team should be part of the well-thought company’s policies. Otherwise, the cases of troubled unplugging after the work, disillusionment, and apathy would come up on a larger scale.

Remote Management Experience by Dashdevs

Aren’t you now convinced that the gains of the remote work model outweigh the hardships? It’s all a matter of management! So, if you’re greedy to know how to make it work, go on reading further!

Step 1. Start with communication

From our experience, we advise you to commence with the clear-cut communication strategy with each member of your team. This presupposes defining the optimal channels for daily interaction. In our case, the former ones are Slack and Google Meet, which allow ongoing problem-solving, regular planning, and intermediate results discussion. Besides, we refer to Zoom for online streaming of events, email for important notifications and reminders as well as Jira for policies descriptions, tasks management, and work log tracking. Whatever you choose, go by convenience, suitability to the team’s goals, and easiness for everyone’s usage.

Step 2. Supply with equipment

As the remote workers can apparently find themselves in the different work conditions, including the general atmosphere and the available equipment, we, at Dashdevs, are ready to provide our remote team members with computers, hardware, and software that are required to cope with their job conveniently and uninterruptedly. What’s more, we care about the physical space our remote employees are surrounded by and compensate the expenses for coworking or tickets & accommodation costs in case of arrival to the office for a business trip and teambuilding purposes. By the way, the latter is possible anytime for the remote workers to always feel the part of the team and replenish their zest for communication and other office-related experiences.

Step 3. Agree on work reporting

We’ve already mentioned Jira in this relation, and we also use the simplified status updates in Slack — either directly to your team lead or into the relevant group chat. In our humble opinion, this supervision system is crucial for remote associates to experience the constant contribution to the overall team’s result and for managers to hold sway over the workflow movements. Plus, our workers are asked to indicate AFK times in case of long and non-standard absences (not usual dining & rest hours) so that the other group mates be aware of their inaccessibility. Additionally, we always set up the online meetings way beforehand for our remote workers to adjust their schedule accordingly and be present as this is a way to their awareness of the company’s processes and the possibility to make their bit.

Step 4. Work out the engagement strategy

On the one hand, we, at Dashdevs, aspire to equity, which implies that our remote workers are granted the same extra perks as their office colleagues. Specifically, all of them are welcome to the company’s events, granted with the same education facilities (our lectures are usually live-on) and corporate gifts, or listened to and cared for by the HR specialists. The latter includes regular one-to-ones, quarter performance review talks, and transparent news sharing. Though some of us are located at distance, we stay connected with all! On the other hand, we understand that office and remote can sometimes be too different in terms of needs and priorities, that’s why we also practice individualization as the tool of listening to everyone’s unique concerns and solving them with the set of specific values in mind.

Step 5. Support management coaching

We realize that the managers are on the way to learning how to lead their remote teams effectively and express our unconditional support to them. The management courses are only the particle of this, and we constantly work on the knowledge and experience sharing within our big and growing team. The number-one insight from us is to ensure you trust the workers you don’t see (often and face-to-face); otherwise, your management won’t resonate with them at all. However, don’t overdo this relaxed mode as time management and communication are paramount in remote team management too. Another piece of wisdom is to give your remote workers your practical and emotional support, which will make their remote fusion with the office-functioning team players easier.

So, Where Does the Remote Workflow Take Us?

There are a few tangible trends that have already started to show up right after the pandemic and are currently evolving further on:

  • Permanent remote. Though we agree that such form of employment doesn’t suit all and is almost impossible in such spheres as construction, agriculture, and transportation, the trend of having a few ‘work from home’ days a month is expected to overwhelm 70% of the workforce.
  • Limited office space. For the companies switching to the hybrid work model, the necessity in office rental will become even more doubtful. That’s why the majority will leave some corporate space for some rare voluntary visits and important meetings.
  • Updated performance management. Some companies are too strict and rigid on that, relying on Timely, Time Doctor, Timely, or TransparentBusiness for controlling their workers’ busyness, whereas the rest are more result-focused and build professional relationships on the basis of trust. In the future, both camps would need a concrete person, the Director of Remote Work, to operate on this task more manageable and effective. The reconsideration of the core performance metrics may also take place soon as a part of this high aim.
  • Fight with the talent shortage. Though the HR specialists and team leads are now more skilled in hiring and working with remote employees, the recent research indicates another hardship to appear as the pandemic’s aftermath — talent shortage. In particular, 58% of HR specialists are “stretched to capacity,” while 61% of team managers lack people or skills to fill in the gaps, which results in the projects’ deadlines extension or even total cancellation.

Undoubtedly, they’re the omens of the future remote work landscape, but the new challenges are always the areas for the company’s growth, isn’t it? So, are you with us to experiment with the remote team management or afraid of so cardinal changes? We, at Dashdevs, bet on keeping pace with the time, so better join us not to be left behind your industry rivals!

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