How US Businesses are managing their remote Web Developer Teams

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While remote web developer teams give you access to the best talent from around the world, help you save costs, and are even proven to improve your team’s productivity levels… 

Remote team management to ensure the long-term success of the business, the project, and the team seems to be an almost impossible task. 

Communication is sluggish and inconsistent. 

Messages seem to always get lost in the un-ending pings. 

Inter-team (and intra-team) coordination seems to be an “un-figure-out-able” nightmare. 

Team cohesion is almost non-existent. 

And your project suffers the consequences.

But it’s not just a one-sided problem…

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Remote work affects your developers as much as it does the project. 

And it is on you, as the manager, to ensure both are well taken care of.

So whether you hire python developers or React developers; you will need to use smart remote-friendly team management strategies to ensure the success of your project and your team.

Here’s are the top 7 strategies U.S. businesses are using to successfully manage their remote web developer teams:

1. Hire the right developers for your remote web developer teams 

Businesses that care about the long-term success of their remote team, are careful about who they hire for the remote job in the first place.

When hiring developers for a remote team, it’s crucial to not just assess their coding skills, but also their personality and attitude.

Here are some personality traits that you should keep an eye out for:

  • self-motivation
  • a solid work ethic and discipline
  • work and time management abilities
  • clear and open communication skills

2. Help your new web developer hires settle into the team 

One of the biggest issues with remote teams is the lack of connection between team members and colleagues. With teamwork being so essential to a web development project, you need to do everything you can to help team members find their footing within the team. 

Most successful remote teams are ones that have an in-depth and well-guided onboarding process. After all, the first few days are what sets the trajectory for the rest of their time in the company.

So to onboard them right. 

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Don’t just stop by introducing them to the team chat group. 

  • Welcome them with a one-on-one video call. Ask them about their interests, hobbies, working styles, and communication styles.
  • Have an introductory session with the whole team. And have the whole team introduce themselves, so the new hire can get to know them too!
  • Assign them a buddy for the first month. This will help them get comfortable with the new project and give them someone to turn to when they’re unsure. 

3. Ensure you are communicating enough with your remote web developer team

Sticking to “regular” communication strategies as you did with an in-person team just isn’t enough when it comes to remote teams. 

Unlike in-person conversations, there is much that gets lost in translation over emails and Slack messages. 

Here are a few suggestions, to improve virtual communication with your team of remote web developers:

  • Schedule daily check-ins. And weekly progress reports.
  • Turn your video on during your meetings, for more face-to-face conversations. 
  • Try 10-15 minute video calls. (Yes, we all know of meetings that could’ve been an email. But some things are better discussed over a call. Plus having an actual time limit on your meeting will help everyone stay on track for the conversation.)
  • And if you ever have a doubt, or notice an issue – don’t directly jump to accusation or reprimand mode. First, ask the team or team members. 

4. Have the right tools set up to facilitate remote work

When you have a fully remote team, it’s easy for things to get lost in emails, messages, and calls. And all the team management strategies in the world will not help if you don’t have your foundations in place.

So ensure you have the right tech stack setup for seamless remote workflow. 

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Here are the most popular remote web development team management tools used by most U.S. businesses.

  • Communication tools: Slack, Zoom, Skype
  • Project management tools: Basecamp, Jira, Asana, Trello, Todoist
  • Time management & productivity tools: Time doctor, Toggl
  • Employee monitoring tools: CloudDesk, Hubstaff, ActivTrak

And finally a word of caution. Too much tech can get in the way of efficient remote working, just as much as not enough tech.

Remote SAAS tools are here to support your remote team, and using them for updates and tracking shouldn’t become a full-time job.

5. Build your remote web developer team’s engagement

A study on workplace engagement in America found that low employee engagement is costing businesses around $450-550 billion each year.

Another study found that full-time remote workers are 2 times (i.e. 182%) less engaged than their in-person counterparts.

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One way to avoid this is by creating a safe and supportive work environment for them. You are responsible for making sure your remote employees feel seen, heard, and appreciated. 

This means taking steps like:

  • Having regular feedback meetings. Don’t wait for the annual appraisal/review for a feedback exchange. And then take action based on the feedback. 
  • Ask them how they’re doing every once in a while.
  • Appreciate your remote web developers’ hard work. 
  • Recognize their ideas and input, and give them due credit for it. Not just over email or on call, but also in team huddles or town halls.

6. Nurture a strong team dynamic

While you can still find a way to communicate clearly, build engagement, and get work done with a remote team without much effort… 

It is much harder to replicate the human-to-human connection of an in-person team, with remote work. 

Now as you well know, coordination and teamwork are essential for the success of a web development project. 

And with crucial team-building moments like water cooler conversations gone, you need to find virtual alternatives. 

Here are our top suggestions for nurturing a strong team spirit in your remote web developer teams.

  • Have a hobby share board
  • Virtual birthday celebrations
  • Team bonding nights: virtual happy hours, movie nights, 
  • Inter-team gaming competitions
  • Annual getaways, etc. 

7. Take measures to help prevent burnout

According to a recent survey, 58% of remote workers complained about feeling burned out while working from home.

But this is much worse in the tech world, which is already notorious for high burnout levels in its employees. 

According to a survey done by Blind, 68% of tech employees reported feeling more burned out with remote work.

And with burnout not just affecting project schedule, but also the company’s reputation and attrition rates, the tech world is finally waking up to its long-term impact.

Top tech companies, like Google, Bumble and HubSpot are starting to realize that taking action to prevent burnout is crucial for the long-term success of their remote web developer teams.

Recovering from burnout can be a long and difficult journey, sometimes even taking a few months. 

So instead of pushing your team to the brink, and then facing either employee resignations or low productivity for months after, simply take steps to avoid burnout ahead of time.

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Here are the top steps you can take to prevent your remote team of web developers from burning out.

  • Set clear workday ending times. Avoid sending emails or “urgent request” posts at that time.
  • Plan your project deliverables ahead of time. 
  • Also schedule time for revisions, approvals, delays and mess-ups
  • Keep an eye on everyone’s schedule. If someone is overloaded, then distribute the work. 
  • Notice if an employee is falling behind on work. It might not always be laziness, but a sign of burnout too sometimes. Reach out to them and see if they are doing okay.

Finally, acknowledge crunch time and the heavy toll of sprints. 

Let’s be real, in spite of all the planning you will still have days (or even weeks) when everyone is working overtime to meet deadlines. 

In such cases, make sure you give them compensatory time off to recover afterward. This will not only help them avoid burnout and perform better in the long run but will also prevent employee resentment.

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