The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses around the world to remodel their organisational structure. Companies closed offices and teams started working from home. But for us, remote work was already integrated into our working culture. Because since the beginning of Visian Systems, we worked with an exclusively remote team of developers. And we are proud to always maintain the quality of work in our projects.
However, this is not an easy operational model to implement. Remote work comes with its challenges and disadvantages. One of them many companies will face it’s in how to maintain and/or improve the quality of work of their employees.
The subject of today’s article will be about managing the level of quality in a remote work environment. We talked about this topic in an older article but through the perspective of improving the well-being of the workforce. Our goal today is to help project managers and team leaders who will need to direct a remote working team and assure of not lose the quality of work.
Evaluate your internal and external processes
An effective transition for remote work, that manages to maintain the same level of quality of presential work, highly depends on how well you and your team understand the internal and external processes of your business. This also includes training your team to be able to work together and acquiring skills that facilitate cooperation in a remote environment.
When you are working with other companies is worth understanding their processes as well. Each organisation has their procedures and working culture. By having a team that understands the processes of your client, you can optimize your side of the development to not delay the entire project.
Communication will be the most fundamental factor between all the parties. You, your team and your clients, all must have a clear channel of communctional. And that’s what we’ll discuss in the next topic.
Focus on meetings, documentation and overall communication
As we always say: communication is a key factor in every successful business. Large or small. And when you are working exclusively with a remote team, communication becomes even more important. Communication helps not only to assure the quality of work and but compliance with deadlines. Do not underestimate the capacity of a single communication misunderstanding to derail an entire week of development.
Meetings will be more essential and must happen on regular basis. It’s an opportunity to create stronger bonds between your team. Andalso assuring everyone is on the same page regarding the project’s priorities. And it’s important that every meeting generates minutes to record the main points discussed.
If you are working with a remote team, chances are that you will have to deal with different time zones. So having proper channels for real-time communication won’t be enough. Documentation is another essential habit you must create for yourself and your team as well. Having everything written down not only helps to streamline your processes and future development, but also reinforces the alignment of your team and the current demand.
Have frequent check-ins
Regular team meetings are very important to maintain communication with all parties, but you can’t just rely only upon them. Especially when you have so many developers in your team because you won’t manage to discuss everything in a single meeting. That’s the reason you have to schedule check-in regularly as well.
There are two approaches you can adopt here. The first is to schedule team meetings to have more detailed discussions about the project’s progression. This way your developers have more time to give complex explanations without holding up the meeting for other coworkers.
But you also can schedule periodic one-to-one meetings with each employee. This type of meeting opens an opportunity to understand more of their personal life since most people will be more comfortable sharing their feelings and thoughts in a private conversation. This way you can see with your team workers are feeling left out or are well-integrated with the rest of their coworkers.
Separate work from personal life
We discussed in more detail this topic in our other article so we’d like to recommend the reading again. The main problem in remote work is that your home and work environment merge.
So to maintain productivity and quality of work it’s important to separate these two “worlds” so nobody feels overwhelmed and exhausted with their tasks. By not paying attention to this issue you risk exposing your team to the effects of burnout. We also discussed the topic in another article last year.
The first step to setting boundaries between work and your personal life is to define a period in the day when they can dedicate themselves exclusively to work-related tasks. This leads to better results than alternating between your home daily tasks and your job tasks. Separate a specific room to serve as an office also improves your capacity to unplug once you are finished with your daily work.
Having devices exclusive for work also helps to be able to disconnect from work on day-offs and weekends. Have a channel where people can contact you in emergencies, but do not create a habit of checking every single time if there’s anything to be done. Most tasks can be postponed, and time to relax is essential to maintain your quality of work.
Evaluate all your business processes, improve your overall communication, have regular check-in with your teammates and know how to separate your work from your personal life. Those are all steps you should take to assure productivity when moving to remote work. This transition takes time but must be done with care to not affect the quality of work you can deliver as and developer, manager or company.