The coronavirus is forcing companies to work in quite unfamiliar working conditions. Working from home is unchartered territory for employees who are used to the traditional nine to five shifts. Although, work from home is most difficult for managers and team leads, whose jobs require engagement and constant communication with their subordinates. Additionally, as work from home promotes a lax atmosphere, the team manager has to deal with the added responsibility of motivating its development team and rest of the workers to work efficiently during coronavirus.
The problems for the manager increase when it comes to handling a team of developers who are working remotely. The challenges can fall into the category of miscommunication, hardware, and software issues, as well as the lack of motivation to work. Be that as it may, you still have to manage your team effectively during this time.
Well, we have worked out a very strategic plan to manage our team, which has helped us eliminate all the issues that were affecting the productivity of our team.
The first rule of remote working is removing all obstacle that hinders effective communication. Managing a large group of workers requires constant dissemination of information. Keeping this in mind, we chose a reliable software program that facilitates intercommunication between our team of developers. Video calling platforms, such as Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Team allows us to discuss important matters that require clear-cut communication. We are also encouraging our team to use a chatting software, such as Slack, for less significant matters.
Before implementing the work from home policy, we make sure that our team members have access to the hardware and software necessary for them to fulfill their duties. When possible, we provide our staff with a company laptop that they can use at home. This ensures that the device used is compatible with the type of work carried out on it. What’s more is that the laptop’s data storage would already be linked to the cloud, thus guaranteeing automatic backup. Our team definitely finds it easier to work on devices that they were using at the workplace.
Additionally, by providing our team with a work computer, we can easily monitor their screens to observe and resolve issues, without invading their privacy.
We have also given our development team access to servers, shared code, and development environments.
Being a manager or a leader comes with the responsibility of being a model figure. Therefore, we encourage our employees to stay online during typical work hours, and we remain strictly online during the same work hours.
Additionally, we encourage our employees to employ self-discipline, for better productivity. To do this, we check-in with your team members from time to time.
However, due to the sensitive nature of the coronavirus pandemic work from home policy, we make sure that we are not too hard on our development team. We always take the time to understand the individual problems that our employees maybe dealing with and show a relaxed attitude- only where it is required.
Similar to a co-working environment, we make sure that our team of software developers have a clear idea of their roles and responsibilities. However, in a work from home situation, it is helpful to segregate our teams into smaller subgroups. By creating smaller groups, each member of the team would have more autonomy over their work, which can help them be more productive.
Remote working is only successful if there is effective communication between the members of the team. Therefore, our managers and team leaders regularly host conference meetings through a video call application. This act certifies that all members of the team are on the same page. Particularly, in software development, constant communication and providing updates is essential in meeting team goals. We hold conference calls with our team at least twice a day.
When our employees are working from home, we remind them to take precautions to protect confidential data. We always encourage our team to download reliable anti-virus software programs to ensure protection from cybercrime. However, when we are dealing with extremely confidential information, we always provide our employees with company laptops, as that is the best option.
Working from home comes with a lot of problems. Some members of the team may not be as privileged as others. For instance, some employees may have young children who may hinder their ability to work. As managers & superiors, it is our responsibility to be empathetic towards their situation and come up with alternative solutions to help resolve their problems. At the end of the day, we have to listen to our employees and make them listen to us.