The past year has seen an increase in remote work among engineering teams due to the pandemic. The advantages of working from home are numerous. Engineers can now operate in any environment that suits them; they are no longer bound to a specific workplace. Teams can also collaborate remotely without regard to location. Reducing the number of employees in the office allows businesses to save significant resources.
In a VelocityGlobal study from 2022, nearly 98% of the workers surveyed said they intended to work at least a few days each week remotely. Talk about a disconnect: 55% of employees stated they wanted to work from home at least three days per week, yet 43% of business executives polled said they wanted to return to the office as soon as possible. The reality is that remote work is here to stay, and the majority of employees view the ability to work remotely as a non-negotiable benefit. Companies are poaching talent simply by allowing employees to continue working from home. We must come to terms with flexible work schedules if we want to keep our top people.
However, this type of work structure has several drawbacks. Some of the most important problems include time management and communication. However, you can avoid these difficulties by utilizing superior remote work solutions.
It Takes Time to Migrate
We were unprepared for what would occur in the months that followed COVID-19, which shocked the globe. Americans believed that the pandemic would last only a few weeks, not any longer. Many individuals found it to be traumatizing: one day, you organize your vacation, and the next, you’re under lockdown for the next few months. The majority of businesses also needed to prepare for what was happening.
While some people were able to transition to a remote work style with ease, others were unable to settle in. It makes it reasonable that in the beginning, we would see folks drop the ball as they adjusted to their new lifestyle because most of us were terrified, anxious, and depressed (and that’s not even considering contracting COVID or developing extended COVID). Companies that succeeded in striking a balance did so by reevaluating their procedures and by utilizing technology to create remote bridges among their workforce.
Zoom experienced incredible growth due to the quick adoption from businesses worldwide, and Azure was nearly at capacity as a result of all the new users. Infrastructure was available when we needed it. What can we learn from this experience as we finally put the COVID pandemic behind us? What did successful businesses do to keep their software engineering teams operating smoothly?
Schedule flexibility and communication
The significance of a flexible policy for employee motivation cannot be overstated. Back when we didn’t have cell phones or email, the 9-to-5 schedule was essential. I can conduct business while doing the laundry or grocery shopping these days. We need to put in the work; the technology is there. As a consultant once advised us, the key to flexible schedules is excessive communication. In about 90% of cases, an employee’s unavailability is the issue rather than their absence from the workplace.
Make a rhythm for yourself
Software developers are all unique. Some of us prefer white noise while working, others put on their headphones and open Spotify as soon as they turn on their devices, and others enjoy chit-chatting while sipping coffee. Others of us are night owls who start their engines at midnight, while some of us write better code in the morning. It will be easier to distribute workloads and create teams whose rhythms are in tune if you are aware of the productivity cycles of your team and the environments in which they function best.
For instance, I enjoy working at night. One day, I noticed that one of my codevelopers was pushing their work around the same time as me. I contacted them and began corresponding during our respective “night shifts.”
We eventually concluded that we could work together, so we began tackling related projects and supporting one another. Create a teamwide schedule that everyone can access to record their availability and peak productivity periods. You can then determine the plan for your team’s productivity.
Fewer expenses are preferable
Always go for the simplest and easiest solution when using remote work tools, whether for project management or communication. Whenever you need to speak with someone, a Slack message will suffice instead of a Zoom call.
Consider the website FunRetro. It is just a whiteboard that everyone can use with sticky notes on it, but it’s incredibly simple and intuitive, making it a great tool for reminders or tagging topics that need to be discussed. In the same vein, be bold and create your own unique solution. Numerous software options are available, but each group has its own preferences. Remember the cloud, too. No emails with attachments were one of the earliest rules we implemented during the pandemic. We would use our cloud service, or even something as basic as a Google Doc, to share a document if we wanted to. While an attached file may get lost in emails, cloud-based documents are easy to find.
Promoting a culture of remote work
No tool can prevail over a group that is wary of working remotely. By outlining the advantages of flexible work environments, encourage a workplace that recognizes and respects everyone’s schedule.
Software engineering is a collaborative effort that greatly benefits from adaptability and openness. Remote work is improving our work-life balance in the same way that agile gave us a more flexible way of managing software development and empowering our teams and clients. We will all be engaged in the metaverse one day.