How to Motivate and Engage a Remote Software Team

17 Feb, 2016
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Remote teams have now become a key constituent of a global software company’s growth strategy. Many software companies are adopting the remote work concept due to the multiple benefits attached to it. As an owner of a software company, you will have the freedom to find the best talent regardless of location, save substantial costs, reduce office overhead, and improve productivity, by adopting the remote team concept.

However, strong remote teams take time to integrate and develop; therefore the strength to grow comes from understanding each other’s cultural values, mutual trust and respect for each other. In this blog, we have discussed how you can motivate and engage a remote software team.

Regular calls and meetings

In a remote working environment, frequent communication is very important. Regular calls and meetings help the team to understand what has been completed or any project delays. This exercise will provide important details related to individual team member’s responsibilities and duties.

The project manager should share a meeting agenda in advance so that everyone in the team can prepare accordingly. Maintaining regular meeting minutes are also vital for a remote team, as the minutes can serve as a to-do list for the time between the scheduled meetings. Minutes of the meeting can enable the remote team to refer back and check what was agreed on for different projects as s single point of reference

Right expectations

Accountability is the key element in a remote team environment. There should be standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place to measure accountability and to streamline team performance. The remote team members should be aware of what is required of them. This will help them to set benchmarks on the quality of deliverables and perform as per expectations set up mutually.

Team visits across locations

It’s always good to motivate your remote team members by flying them to headquarters at least once in a year. Plan the trip in such a way so that it’s worthwhile for the team to understand business goals and their role properly, but there should be time for team-building as well. On the other hand, you can organize a lunch/dinner or a company football league to engage team members from different parts of the world. The top management should also visit remote offices often, but these visits shouldn’t be like inspection tours.

Team presentation

Encouraging the remote team members to make a presentation and to the local teams is a great way to share formal and informal knowledge. The presentation could be about anything and not necessarily have to be about the work they usually do. You can assign the team members to create a presentation about anything in their personal lives. Sharing their stories, pictures and movies via video conferencing facilities would help them to know each other better. This exercise would lay the foundation of a healthy and productive work relationship.

Informal communication

The more you encourage informal communication in your remote team, the more you are going to encourage innovation within the organization. According to studies, around 80% of innovative ideas created in teams were born from informal conversations.. You may be surprised to know how beneficial it is to encourage informal communication for boosting creative thinking, exchange of ideas and innovative practices.

No matter where your remote team is based out of, if you provide sufficient opportunities to establish quality performance standards and relationship building opportunities, your remote team approach is bound to be successful.

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Anirban Guha
Software Engineer at coMakeIT

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