How to motivate and engage a remote software team?
If you are a business manager or a team lead, you will be tasked with managing not just the business aspect of your company. Still, you will also have to keep your team motivated and enthusiastic about their work. It becomes all the more challenging if individual members of your team work remotely. As you will not meet them physically regularly, you might find it challenging to keep them engaged. Business managers often mention that this becomes all the more important when an entire software team works remotely. Here you will need to keep an ongoing communication between the team members so that there are no bottlenecks and the projects are completed on schedule. Communication is critical when it comes to maintaining a software team working remotely motivated and engaged.
Moreover, communication should be from both sides, which from the side of managers and team leads and the team members. When there are no glitches in communication and constant communication between the team members working remotely, you will find that the work itself gets completed smoothly and on time. Some of the simplest methods that you can implement to keep your remote software team engaged and motivated are as follows:
1. Provide regular feedback to help team members work proficiently
You must provide your team members with feedback regarding their performance. However, while giving feedback, you should ensure that the criticism you provide is constructive. As your team members work remotely, they do not have a keen understanding of your personality, which develops quickly if you regularly interact with your colleagues and team members. Hence, you must provide the feedback in a professional yet approachable manner so that your team feels motivated to work. Sometimes team leads mention that while working remotely, giving updates and providing feedback become irregular. This makes the remote team feel all the more detached from the team working on-site or from the office. Therefore, it is important to give regular feedback and updates about the progress of the project and the individual team members' performance. This helps the remote team develop a sense of association with the office and improves their performance and efficiency.
2. Create a constructive atmosphere even for your remote team.
While working remotely, it is natural to forgo a strict schedule and only look towards completing the project on time. However, this is unhealthy for the team and also for the health of individual team members. When your software team works remotely, you must insist they follow a schedule, which would be the case when they would work from the office. The work of the software team is primarily sedentary. Hence, it is natural to develop habits that can be harmful to the body. It would be best to insist that your team members take breaks as they would take in office. You must create a schedule and ask your team to follow it strictly. If you show that you are concerned about your team's physical and mental health working remotely, it will motivate your team to improve their performance. It will help them feel connected with their workplace. While working remotely, it is natural to feel detached from the office and feel unappreciated. But team leads and business managers can prevent this feeling in team members by checking on them regularly and showing that they are concerned about the team's physical and mental well-being.
3. Allow team members to be empowered.
While working remotely, your software team might feel that they are being sidelined and the team working from the headquarters is being prioritized. But it is essential to assure them that the remote unit is also equally important and should empower them. As a manager or a team, you must keep track of the work being done by all team members, but you must avoid any form of micromanagement. Software teams tend to work best when they are allowed to communicate amongst themselves. As a manager or team lead, you should ensure that the communication between the remote and the in-house team is smooth.
Similarly, the communication amongst the individual members of the remote team should be smooth. This will help the team members feel empowered, and they will look forward to working together. This will not just make them feel empowered but also motivated to improve their performance. Empowering team members will also make them intuitive which is essential for software development. To keep the team working remotely engaged, it is often a good idea to allow them to allocate and distribute tasks amongst themselves. This will help them perform better and create an atmosphere that will improve their respective performances.
4. Trust your employees, but check-in with them.
When your software team works remotely, it is natural to feel concerned and wonder if you will complete the project on time. However, it is vital to trust your employees and assure them that you, as the team lead or manager, trust them implicitly. When your team members feel that you trust them, they will naturally hold up your trust. But you should also check in on them regularly. This is essential to identify any problem that your teammate might face. Sometimes team members working remotely get confused about the issues that arise with software being developed. In such a scenario, you must identify the problem and address it at the earliest, so that the work does not fall behind schedule. This can be done only if you trust your team members implicitly and check on them regularly. When you check-in on them, they will promptly tell you if they face any issue with the product's development. This is necessary to ensure that the project is completed on time.
5. Help your team members with time management.
When your software team works remotely, it is natural that they will face issues with time management. While working from home, it becomes challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance. However, as a team lead or team manager, it is vital to help them with time management. This is especially true for members who have recently joined your remote team. You must help them with time management to complete their tasks on time without compromising in their personal life. Some of the points that you should help them with when it comes to time management are as follows:
- Always discuss with the team members the goals that they need to set. You should set the project goals and schedule per the team's comfort and the requirements of the project. Hence, it is crucial to select the goals together.
- If any issue arises with the project, it must be discussed with clarity so that other team members can support the person facing the problem. This will help build a sense of solidarity and also prevent any loss of time.
- If a team member comes up with a personal problem, it is essential to hear him through and help him out. While working in an office, colleagues tend to develop close relationships and can resolve personal problems. But this can become difficult while working remotely. However, personal issues can reflect on the quality of work. Hence, you must listen to the team member who faces the individual problem and help him out with the best methods for time management.
Time management is essential to ensure that team members perform at par. While working remotely, it often becomes a problem to ensure that proper time management protocols are in place. As a result, both the work and personal life of the team member suffers. Hence, you must help the team member identify a suitable schedule and choose the best method for managing his time.
6. Invest in developing the skills of the team
While working remotely, team members often feel that their team leads or managers are not interested in developing their skills. However, it would be best to assure them about your intention of helping the members develop their skills. You can do this by holding online seminars, virtual meets, and online skill evaluation programs. When your team members are assured that you are invested in their career, they too will want to work better and ensure that their performances are at par. While working remotely, the remote team needs to be assured that their managers are just as interested in their welfare as they are in the team's career working from the office. This will keep the team motivated and engaged in the work, and they will want to improve their performance.
When it comes to motivating a software team working remotely, it is a good idea to have open forums, chats, and other such modes of communication that will help them feel associated with the main office. Additionally, these chats can also help create a smooth channel of communication amongst the individual team members. Thus, to ensure that your software team, working remotely, feels motivated and engaged, you as a team lead or manager must create an atmosphere conducive to work.