As teams go remote, many managers are grappling with the challenges of achieving a high-performing remote tech team. And though it’s not straightforward, it is most certainly achievable.
There’s a lot going on in the world of work. In just the last three years, companies dealt with shutdowns, hiring freezes, hiring surges, the Great Resignation, the shifting workplace, and a shifting economy. Throughout all of this, thousands of jobs went remote. And this raised a lot of questions about how this works.
So how do companies build a remote tech team, and what does a high-performing one look like?
Remote Work Statistics
The discussion around remote work ramped up in the middle of 2022 and continues to be a topic of conversation among company owners and hiring managers.
According to some projections, 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022. The Ladders projections looked specifically at higher paying jobs such as in tech, HR, and accounting. In the Owl Labs State of Remote Work Report 2021, about 84% of employees that worked from home during the pandemic said that keeping the arrangement would make them happier.
In Latin America, remote work quickly became popular. A report by investment group Atlantico showed that most industries in the region increased remote work significantly after the pandemic and the industries with most remote work adoption were consulting, technology, and education. Similarly, the report showed that 63% of remote workers reported higher productivity.
In Mexico, the results were similar. Our tech salaries report 2022 showed that 90% of workers that worked from home during the pandemic preferred to remain remote. And in our experience helping companies hire remote software developers in Mexico in the last two years, we have seen a major shift to a remote work preference across the tech industry.
So, what does this have to do with remote teams? Despite the undeniable shift to remote models, doubts about the viability of long-distance teams continue to permeate.
Here are some ways they can be successful.
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How to Build a Tech Team and Maintain Momentum
Here’s what we’ve learned about what works in remote tech team management. As a remote team, one must understand that things will have to work differently. The in-office scenario cannot be replicated, but it can inform the way remote teams manage. For example, Harvard Business Review suggests that it all comes down to competence, autonomy, and relatedness.
In other words, everyone on the team should feel joined to the bigger objectives but should be given enough trust and autonomy to feel that their expertise is trusted.
#1 Strong Leadership and Managing Accountability
Let’s start here. Strong leadership drives the boat. Without clear orders, the boat is likely to teeter over.
The leader should provide the team with context, the big picture, and broader ideas of how to reach the company’s goals and objectives. This is much easier said than done, as it feeds into how managers structure their day-to-day, how they conduct meetings, and how they set up tasks, roles, and the responsibilities of others.
Accountability also plays a role in how employees see the company structure. According to some business experts, accountability is about managers taking full ownership of the team and therefore they take responsibility for communication, decisions, and see the importance in honest and constructive feedback.
#2 Structure and Communication Strategies
Clearly, communication is a big concern when it comes to teams working remotely. It is both the type of communication and how the communication happens that shape an employee’s experience.
One way to build a high-functioning remote tech team is to cultivate structure in the communication. This means having daily standups, kickoffs, or one-on-ones. However your company chooses to go about it, shaping an employee’s week and having constant checkpoints is critical in cultivating a cohesive team.
And yet, it’s not about having daily meetings for the sake of having them. Rather, it’s using them to create structure but also accountability, transparency, and help advance the day-to-day and even identify possible bottlenecks or at-risk projects.
Most companies choose to have a daily standup that is quick, swift, but it does not discount moments of friendly interaction between coworkers. One Harvard Business Review study, for example, suggested that high-performing teams are not only strategic with their meetings, but they also take opportunities to make connections.
One thing is for sure, a poorly run or structured meeting can contribute to employee burnout or lack of focus. Things should feel natural but on point.
#3 Honing Company Culture and Relationships
Company culture is at the center of an employee’s experience and how they view their company and their role in it. This can become difficult when you are talking about a team that doesn’t see each other in person often or at all.
A strong company culture encourages connections and asking questions. When an employee is working remotely, that ease of reaching out to a coworker or manager to clarify or ask questions is paramount. Otherwise, remote workers begin to detach and sometimes their hesitation in asking questions can cause productivity problems.
The Harvard Business Review study linked above discusses how high-performing teams are not afraid to pick up the phone. In other words, team members do not hesitate to call one another with a question or a doubt.
Drive Your Success With High- Performing Remote Tech Teams
Remote teams are a new force to contend with. Many of today’s leading companies are finding that having their teams across various geographies doesn’t have to affect the way they deliver their world-class products and services.
As a hiring partner and expert in the Mexico IT industry, we’ve helped companies find the talent they need to start their remote tech team. The remote work revolution has allowed companies to dip into new and exciting talent pools.
Learn more about how CodersLink helps companies find top talent for their remote tech team.