Who thought that one day we’d have entirely remote teams? – No one. Since COVID-19 hit us and the impacts are being felt by humans isolating, fighting and surviving – remote working is not just a trend, but a reality for everyone.
While all departments do follow processes and ways of working, the IT department is peculiar, in that they may not have linear workflows all the time. They are creating, building and fixing – within timelines that vary on that week/that project.
For example, bug fixes can take forever to solve, system failures need to be resolved within minutes/hours and viruses/threats….the time to resolve? – Let’s not even get there! Ideally seconds?
Here, we give you 6 hidden secrets to ensure your remote team succeeds
- Understanding your team members and processes
Hiring is one of the most important activities a team undergoes. Hiring is the start of a relationship and it will get both parties started on the right foot when done right!
When hiring a team, you must look for doers and self-motivated workers. It is almost impossible to manage on an individual level when working remote, therefore while hiring, you need to ensure the individual fits within your culture and value systems.
Trust is a mandatory element that needs to be established within your team, with time. It is highly unlikely that trust will erupt overnight, instead, trust is built with time and therefore if you pay importance to it, it will bloom.
Next, is processes. Processes are important in understanding how each person works and what the entire department needs/require. Processes are usually set top-down but also work the other way around. Processes help build team unity and understanding as everyone is on the same page, always. Processes also help in times of dispute, because that acts as the backbone to your claim/argument.
For remote IT teams, processes are more than ever important because they set the pace of work and the escalation channels/methods. IT teams work in an agile fashion and therefore, if there were no processes, it would be extremely difficult for team members to keep up and keep going.
- Automation and it’s importance for IT teams
As IT teams scale, and asynchronous communication takes place, it is super important that there’s ‘someone’ or ‘something’ keeping track of what needs to get that.
That’s where automation plays a huge part within IT Teams. Automation can help you track, validate and ensure everything that’s expected – happens. Automation within IT teams could be as simple as checking in daily for to-do lists, or it could be an email sent out when a password was changed because of a security breach – so on and so forth. Automation is ‘that person’ you can rely on when you have to do a hundred things!
- Collaboration tools
It is essential that while you’re deciding the ‘what’ to work on, you also answer the ‘how’. In today’s day and age the how will depict or define the things you need to keep in mind for the ‘what’. Luckily, most IT teams already have this in place, decided depending on the project. This can be easily carried over when shifting from work-from-office to work-from-home
Collaboration tools are in hundreds. Therefore, you need to find the one that works for you. It could be Asana, or Trello or Jira for development and fixing. For communication, it could be Zoom or Slack.
[Also Read: Covid-19 Crisis Management using RPA Technology]
- Managing expectations cross teams and functions
This is one domain that could potentially be a struggle no matter where you work from.
Setting and managing expectations is so important in today’s world where stress, anxiety, work pressure are real things we deal with. When setting expectations within your IT team, it is very important to first understand boundaries, and then, abide by them.
Everyone has commitments, and even more so when they are working from home. As a manager, you need to define things such as communication guidelines for work from home- be it that no phone calls during lunch hour, or even a Friday Zoom call party – it’s all about managing the expectations well.
When expectations are managed maturely and responsibly, the communication is smoother and conflict-free.
- Recognition and appreciation
When building a remote team, across geographies, it is crucial to make your employees feel appreciated for the work they do. It may be hard to do this in a remote setting, but setting up performance metrics and relevant recognition – will help bolster up team spirit/ team bonding.
Recognition could be done in a simple way – weekly or quarterly where you recognize the talent that is helping you grow and evolve day over day. For remote teams, birthday’s, for example, should be celebrated. Work anniversaries can be done too with something as simple as a Starbuck’s gift card.
At the end of the day, every human contributes to your business success and longevity.
[Also Read: Leverage RPA For Smooth Work From Home Operations]
- Maximize ‘golden hour’
For global teams, golden hour is the most important time of the day. It’s the time of the day when they get to see their co-workers and peers from different time zones. Additionally, this ‘golden hour’ concept revolves around the concept of ‘comfort-first’ so most of the times, a global standup will not be possible, but maybe pairing 2-3 time zones, is possible. This will allow for those teams to collaborate, talk about where they left off, things that need to be done – so on and so forth – in a conversational manner and face to face. If these standups prove to be worthy and productive, you will notice attention from everyone and the excitement to attend these.
Whatever time of day is most convenient for everyone involved is the best time of day.
Overall, a global remote IT team is a reality for many companies. For those that were local dealers, this was probably something that took a little time to get used to.
However, now that we are all remote and working from home, tips and tricks like these do help to ensure work time is productive time and work deadlines are being met. Work shouldn’t stop – remote or in-office.