Remote Working is indisputably on the rise. The LinkedIn Global Talent Survey 2019 showed a 78% increase in the mention of flexible working, and Global Workplace Analytics report that over 80% of staff would like to work from home, at least part-time.
While there have been some high-profile companies that have pulled the plug (but not really) on their remote working teams, many more are enjoying the increased productivity that teleworkers bring.
We have the privilige of being right in the middle of this work based revolution, matching the very best development talent with companies that need them around the world. We’re riding the wave of an increase in remote working.
And with that has come a whole raft of tools, which help remote teams function more effectively. Whether it’s document control, team chat or collaboration tools. Developers around the world are working to shrink the distance between distributed team members, and that benefits office-based teams, too.
But it isn’t just technological advances that can be used to the advantage of an office based team. There are other, more general lessons about how we work that can be taken away by managers, even if you don’t want to go fully remote.
In this article, we’re going to look at some of those. We’re examining techniques and broader lessons that have been learned from remote working, that we think can make everyone’s working life easier, whether you’re based in the office, or on the other side of the world.
We’ve all had those days in the office, when you just can’t seem to get anything done. It might be that your phone has been ringing off the hook, or you’ve had a stready stream of people stop by your desk to ask your help.
Remote workers might get the phone calls, but the desk visits? Not so much. It’s more likely that a non-urgent communication will come via a chat message or email. The phone is only used for emergency situations.
And that buys remote workers something – long stretches of uninterrupted time. Yes, you might get a soft ping from your messaging app, but that’s easily ignore if you’re in the zone. Those non-urgent requests can wait until your digital nomad has the time to get to them.
Encouraging your office-based team to use chat or email for non-urgent requests can help staff get more uninterrupted work time and other benefits. Try it, and you’ll soon be reaping the benefits.
We Don’t All Work Best 9-5
Office hours are usually defined by the normal opening hours of banks and stores in your country; the classic 9-5. And while some firms have moved towards flexi-time, the majority still expect staff to be at their best during these hours.
When your staff work from home, they can put in their hours when it’s best for them. If they’re early birds, they can get up at 6 and put in a few hours before anyone else. If they’re night owls, then they might start later but work into the evening.
What this means, is that you get your staff putting in their 8 hours a day when they are most productive. That’s just one of the ways that remote teams gain the edge when it comes to productivity.
Try letting staff come in early or leave late, while completing their core hours. See how it improves your team’s wellbeing and performance.
Judge on Results, Not Hours
There’s an idea in office-based working that the more hours put in, the better the worker. This ‘long-hours culture‘ preaches that good staff come in early and go home late, regardless of the impact that has on worker’s health.
When your team is spread over continents, it’s hard to measure the hours your team put in (there are tools, but we don’t encourage their use). Instead, remote team leaders measure by results; does the developer complete his part in the project on time and to quality standards?
If office-based staff took the emphasis off hours in attendance, and looked at what workers produced, then that long-hours idea would fade away. Staff would be happier, healthier and you’d still get everything that needed to be done, done. Win-win, right?
The Benefits of Diversity
Remote Teams are, by their nature, more diverse. Not only do you have access to a global talent pool, bringing developers from different countries and cultures, but you can access a hidden pool of talent from your home country. Working mothers, and those with illness or disability that prevents them from getting to the office, are all ready and waiting to work remotely.
And that’s a real strength of remote teams because the benefits of diversity in the workplace are well proven. Is there a way that you can include a wider range of staff in your team? If your team is a bit homogenous, try shaking things up a bit.
Micromanagers don’t make good remote team leaders. If you’re the sort of team leader who needs to have control over every aspect of your staff’s time then teleworking has a lot to teach you.
While you might be able to keep tabs on your team when they’re in the office, by just looking up and making sure they’re all at their desks, looking at their screens, that gets much more difficult when your staff are in a different time zone.
So remote team manangers need to learn to trust their staff. We preach communication, here at DistantJob, because we feel that helps foster an environment of mutual trust and respect.
For example, we advocate that our remote development teams using the Agile development methodlogy. A big part of that is the daily stand-up, where team members share their progress and problems.
Taking a step back and trusting the people you hired to do the job, to get on with it, will reap many rewards. Not only will it free up your time from obsessing over who’s hunched over their screen (they’re probably on Facebook, by the way) or who came back late from lunch, but you’ll also have a happier, more resilient team as a result.
Or You Could Just Go Remote
But the best way to get all the benefits of having a remote team is to have a remote team. Because while there is a lot that the office can learn from remote working, there’s little doubt that telecommuting is the way of the future. If you’d like to know more about how to embrace the future and hire a remote developer, then get in touch. We’d love to help you take your team to the next level.