Ensure uniform communication Logistics in remote teams
In order to be able to lead remote teams in a meaningful way, it is important to also keep an eye on logistics. There are several factors to consider when developing software.
Companies on the topic
In their own interest, companies should enable communication via uniform solutions and high-performance connections.
With the increase in remote work since the beginning of the corona pandemic, remote teams are increasingly taking part in webcam meetings that don’t really want to work. They often remind us of” modern séances”: “Are you there, Jonas?”, “Markus, can you hear us?”, “We see you, Sabine, do you see us too?”and” Can you open the window, Anna?“.
The reason for these logistics problems, in addition to inadequate training, are all too often insufficient agreements and inconsistent technical foundations. In addition, there are often agreements about the closest – but not necessarily obvious and desired – channel. One writes via WhatsApp, the other posts in Slack and the third prefers to use the phone in a classic way.
Communication is frayed, agreements are no longer comprehensible. This is precisely why team leaders who value the quality of their remote meetings and communications should ensure that the logistics are right.
Logistics in remote teams: setting software standards
Probably the most important step to optimize the logistics of a remote team is the use of uniform software. Ideally, a team software or groupware such as Microsoft Teams, Slack or one of the alternatives is suitable for this. This includes the granting of licenses and access data as well as the professional installation by the IT department, if necessary.
All team members should be “coerced” to use this software. In this way, the fraying of communication, including the associated data protection and security issues, cannot be avoided, but can nevertheless be significantly reduced. Fixed rules such as” collusion outside our groupware is void ” can help to get employees to follow the rules.
Remove access barriers
Companies in particular, which used to cultivate an in-house culture, find it difficult to work with remote teams. In addition to the lack of infrastructure for remote work, this is, if available, unnecessarily complicated. The company network must first be accessed via VPN, in which somewhere there is an important file on a classic server, in order to then communicate via this shaky connection somehow with free zoom licenses, instant messengers and e-mails.
On the one hand, this causes chaos and connectivity problems, on the other hand, the hurdle for employees to connect with others is relatively high: when various work steps have to be carried out in order to be able to work at all, the motivation decreases – and communication gets out of hand. Therefore, team leaders should make sure that the connection of the remote team members runs as smoothly as possible. With regard to compliance, it is important here to create a basis for cooperation that is as accessible as possible.
Ensure fast Internet for employees
Especially in developer teams, the employees in the home office often come from all over the world. But even within Germany, there are considerable differences in the quality of the Internet connection – whether due to the employee’s place of residence or the fact that he only uses a very old tariff or even smartphone connections for remote work.
Since the quality of the connection has a direct influence on the quality of the cooperation, it may well be in the interest of the employer or client to support employees in the supply of fast Internet. This can be the simple indication of an unreliable connection, but it can also be the financing of a company Internet access in high quality.
Setting work equipment level
In home office times, the tools themselves can also be a hurdle for remote work: when employees access the domestic infrastructure, there are several problem areas. On the one hand, there is the security aspect: when employees access the company network with their PC, which may be infected with pests, problems are programmed.
But also hardware and software problems sometimes cause annoying disturbances in remote teams. Crashing computers and poor sound quality of the webcam have already ruined many a meeting. Accordingly, it can be useful to let employees access a uniform hardware pool. If you cannot or do not want to provide a service computer, you should at least issue a requirement profile for the purchase of current hardware.
Observe core working hours
When remote teams work together, the core working time quickly dissolves. Once quickly bring the children to the daycare or shopping appears easily for the remote employees and the team leader sees no difficulty in dragging employees in front of the computer after the daily show.
That doesn’t have to be the case: remote teams make a living from the fact that you can also make out the box and that employees can rely on working hours. Therefore, the normal core hours of work – approximately 9 to 17 o’clock – should be agreed. If employees in distant time zones are on board, it may also be useful to group them in separate teams and only contact them in urgent cases – and of course only if it is a time that is portable for all time zones.
Do not forget the social factor of work
Finally, even with remote teams, it should not be forgotten that the employees are human. Just as with local teams, many factors play a role in remote teams that take place at work alongside work. The short private conversation at the coffee machine, the small celebration for a reached intermediate goal or joint activities of the team members are eliminated by the spatial distance. This is why it is particularly important in remote teams to create space for personal conversations and joint team events.
This can, for example, be a casual channel in the groupware, where team members can exchange ideas privately or send memes while working. Even short non-work-relevant conversations at video meetings are beneficial to the general well-being. Because only if the team members get to know each other a little better privately can it be ensured that team work works as smoothly as possible-regardless of whether they are local or remote teams.