Some years ago it would be unthinkable to have thought about remote work and all the possibilities that it opens up for us. But today, a once utopian dream is now a reality. There are millions of people around the world who work outside the office on their computers. A lot of people consider flexible working as the “new normal.” Research shows that in the US alone, 80% of people would reject a job that doesn’t provide flexible working.
Remote working is undoubtedly a fabulous option that fits into our lives so that we can work to live and not live to work. And with the current global health crisis, more companies have been forced to embrace this trend. With geographically dispersed personnel, companies have been able to enhance efficiency and compete favorably in today’s talent-starved IT world.
Software engineers, like several other professionals worldwide, have been forced to embrace working remotely more than ever due to the global situation of today. Success depends largely on adaptation and team leaders’ ability to address issues appropriately for better team cohesion.
One of the companies that thrive in a remote environment is GitLab. GitLab is the world’s largest all-remote workforce, with over 1,200 employees spread across 67 countries. GitLab has been able to grow at a steady pace because they have a process put in place. One of the critical elements of focusing on the process is measuring the process. Git Analytics tools, such as Waydev, help engineering leaders manage remote engineering teams effectively by providing actionable metrics and features that translate into visibility, velocity, and productivity enhancement.
Here are a few data-driven tips that software engineering teams can apply to make software development more productive in a remote working environment.
Team leaders should define work procedures from the start and layout project guidelines for high productivity, teamwork, and accountability. Every team member must be aware of the expected goals and vision of the project.
Team leaders or managers must make efforts to reach out and connect with team members. You don’t want to let anyone feel isolated. Asking someone about their family and health can go a long way in making the person feel loved. And when there is positive energy among team members, working becomes easier and more effective.
Team leaders should practice engaging team members in a friendly one-on-one conversation more often. It is more effective in helping members feel among, rather than block meetings. On the other side, meetings shouldn’t become a disruption. Engineering managers can reduce friction in meetings by using the one-on-one features of Git Analytics tools.
Using Git Analytics, engineering managers can see what their engineers are working on, track their engineers’ progress, spot and eliminate any blocker that might be holding down their team, and identify coaching opportunities.
Software engineering is certainly an energy-draining activity. Everyone in the team should be encouraged to set boundaries to avoid burning out. Research shows that 97% of fatigued workers have reduced cognitive performance. There is every tendency that a fatigued worker will make more errors and become less productive.
Engineering managers can help team members avoid burnout by closely monitoring weekend days’ activity. This enables you to understand if your engineers are over capacity, adjust their workload, or assign them to more non-coding activities. Engineering managers can spot weekend days activity by using the Work Log feature, a feature that most Git Analytics tools provide.
It is important to have discussions for a contingency plan when unforeseen circumstances arise. For instance, a team member dropping out due to health issues, trauma, etc. The absence of one or two team members should never be allowed to disrupt workflow.
There is no doubt that team members could be distracted by family engagements, such as taking care of younger kids, giving attention to spouses, etc. Team leaders should encourage team members to develop strategies to manage such situations for better efficiency. Taking half days off with partners, getting a nanny, etc. can serve as good options to consider.