Evidently, some organizations with employees who are working remotely are struggling to keep performance on the appropriate level.
While many employees had been doing some work remotely before, many workers and managers are still trying to adjust to the new conditions.
For many people, working from home means more distractions, definitely fewer ways to interact with teammates and more social isolation — which can lead to a decrease in productivity. To overcome these challenges, organizations, especially leaders, should look for new ways to remotely collaborate and manage their teams while enabling more ways in which they can interact with each other.
In this article, you can find Agile practices that support productivity in the remote workplace and help you keep your team effective while working from home.
How to sustain performance while working remotely?
Remote working is the future. Researches show that 50% of the US workforce will soon switch to remote. What is more, the majority of companies that already offer flexible work state that they noticed an increase in their profits and productivity.
But how to retain a high level of performance while in separation from your team members? Here are some tips:
1. Maximize The Use Of Virtual Collaboration Tools
One of the most important ways to help teams succeed while working remotely is to provide them with tools that enable staying connected and productive. Agile teams are efficient because they communicate with each other and use tools and workflows that make them do their best.
Equipping teams with the tools they are used to and with some new ones is a necessity during remote work. This way managers and employees stay on the same page no matter where they are working from.
These include project management tracking tools such as Jira, Trello or Pivotal Tracker, messaging apps such as Slack or Microsoft Teams and video conferencing apps such as Zoom or Google Meet. It is also a great idea to use digital collaboration tools like Miro or Mural in order to create a great way for team integration and collaboration.
All these apps help to replicate the in-person work environment as closely as possible and minimize the risks of disrupting the flow and decrease productivity.
2. Replicate Agile Rituals
Regardless of the environment - no matter, if teams are working on-site or remotely, agile teams should stick to foundational rituals, such as daily stand-ups and other Scrum events. Clearly, communication is the key aspect for good and effective collaboration, especially while working remotely and preventing remote work environments from hindering teams effectiveness.
A daily scrum meeting or a daily stand-up is a special 15-minute event that helps scrum teams to be more productive and efficient. During the meeting, each team member summarizes what he/she did the previous day, what will be done today, and what obstacles he/she has to overcome.
If you wish to find out more about how to keep remote teams Agile in the times of crisis, read my previous article.
I also have a post on how to run remote Scrum meetings effectively, which will give you some easy tips to implement in order to improve your day-to-day communication.
During the remote work, this meeting is really powerful because it is not only the check-in for your team to keep everyone in the loop but above all, it is a great way to create a sense of connection and collaboration.
3. Build Trust And Positive Environment
Agile teams are adjusted to working together in person with high efficiency and productivity. Strong collaboration with ongoing direct interactions promotes engagement and continuous improvement. Switching to remote work can quickly cause team dynamics and their resulting productivity to decrease fast.
It is extremely important to build a distributed team culture. This may probably be the most challenging part of working remotely and also the most important. You can do it by facilitating regular, healthy human interactions in the new remote environment. Frequent communication, open and frank questions between team members help to avoid any misunderstandings and to get things done faster. Focus on the common goal of bringing all the team members together and increasing their engagement and collaboration.
Be helpful for your team members. At times, when you are not together it is crucial to share your experiences as not everybody may be able to build a sufficient self-regulation mechanism. Keep positivity on a high level, try to make new connections and friendships and most importantly, deliver instant feedback.
You can find out more about keeping your teams agile while working remotely in this article.
Working from home can cause negative emotions and loneliness, this is why leaders should provide emotional support to their teams. Virtual meetings should be calm and optimistic with a dedicated time for co-workers to discuss news, hobbies and other unrelated topics - just like they would have in the office. This can help relieve stress and build stronger bonds.
It is also important for leaders to encourage self-care among their teams, both mentally and physically. They should highlight the importance of exercise, getting quality sleep, dedicating some time to themselves and continuing going on with lives as they normally would.
4. Support Remote Team Autonomy
Agile teams are successful because of their ability to focus on the common goal which brings all the team members together and increases their engagement, interactions and communication.
Trust is essential for successful remote working. Leaders and managers need to be sure that each remote team member is self-disciplined and in control of their own productivity. But this works both ways - remote workers should also feel trusted to work in the ways they see best.
By trusting your remote team to work out the ways that suit them best and only supporting them with the tools and tips which can help them do that, you are allowing them to take charge of their own productive performance.
With these insights, employees can introduce effective change to find their best workflow and the right attitude can actually encourage them to master their time management – and in the world of remote work, that autonomy and sense of ownership go a very long way.
5. Get Closer To Your Customers
Last but not least, is close collaboration with customers as one key benefit of Agile teams. It is really important to engage with customers frequently and transfer their feedback into incremental improvements.
Sharing the vision and goals of the product by the customer to the development team at each stage of the project helps to stay on track and bring the expected value. Common goals are important not only because they develop creativity and innovation but because they bring people together and encourage them to communicate problems and results. It is especially important during remote work.
The Covid-19 outbreak brought many changes and challenges for businesses. Some companies, for the first time ever, were forced to work remotely, dreading the outcome. However, in many industries, working from home proved to be not only successful but also a new way of becoming more flexible. It was an opportunity to assess where the organization is heading and how to further adapt to the new ways of working.
It is possible to retain a high performance within teams, even when they are dispersed. Here, frequent communication and building a trusting environment are crucial. Agile rituals come especially handy to create connections and a supportive community. Leaders should lead with purpose in mind, set expectations while remaining flexible and encourage vulnerability.
The Selleo community is now stronger than ever. Each day, we implement those tips to remain focused, productive and effective, while maintaining a healthy life-work balance. If you wish to work with agile, fully-fledged development teams, contact us to get a quote.