Webinar recap part 1 – Remote work organization models and the needs of remote development teams

Webinar recap part 1 – Remote work organization models and the needs of remote development teams

  • September 8, 2022
  • Blog

Remote work used to be considered an uncommon way of working, reserved for exceptional circumstances. But today, largely due to the recent pandemic, attitudes toward remote work are rapidly changing. Many companies now have some form of remote work arrangement, and many more are planning to incorporate remote workers into their workforce. Trends predict that remote work will become the primary way of working for the majority of the global workforce in the near future. 

On September 6, we hosted a webinar to help companies prepare for this new way of working. In the webinar titled “How to expand your IT organization with top remote developers“, speakers Søren Rosenmeier, CEO of Right People Group, and Allan Noer, Chief Technology Officer of Agreena discussed: 

  • Remote work organization models
  • Needs of remote development teams
  • Key learnings from building remote teams
  • Implementing remote teams

In this first of 3 recap blogs, we examine the macro trends in today’s work culture, remote work organization models, and discuss what’s needed in setting up a remote team. 

In Part 2, we cover Allan Noer’s sharing of the key learnings from building remote teams. 

In Part 3, Soren discusses the 3-step implementation plan for building remote teams

Webinar recap – Part 1

Macro trends in the way we work

The way we perceive work and how we work is changing, triggering some macro trends that are happening today. 

One macro trend is, of course, remote work. What was rare before became a new norm today, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a need for companies to take a serious look at remote work and how they will address this trend that will become increasingly dominant in the next few years.  

Another macro trend is that companies are moving away from permanent employment and moving toward hiring contingent employees. Whereas the global workforce is turning toward freelancing and self-employment. 

Denmark has seen these trends for many years, as has the IT industry. A lot of the best IT people are going freelance in Denmark, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, and elsewhere around the world, forming a global workforce of remote software developers. 

COVID-19 played a big part in accelerating developments in remote work. Many companies now have the processes and tools for collaborating remotely. Working in distributed teams is easier now than ever before. 

Now is the perfect opportunity to build software and IT organizations using the global workforce, and we hope this webinar will help you do that.  

Remote work organization models

  • No remote work 

This was the norm before COVID-19, and now becoming an exception. Normally companies have this model because companies feel that employees cannot be as effective if they are not on site.

  • Remote-tolerant

Remote work is allowed under certain conditions and is seen as a perk, still under the assumption that being remote is not as efficient as being on-site. Processes and communications are not optimal for remote work. 

  • Multiple locations

You have two or more locations that you can recruit from, which means that you are, to a certain extent, working with people who are not in the same location as yourself. 

  • Remote teams

Some people work at least partly at an on-site office and others work fully remotely. Companies who do this have better processes and communication set up for remote work. 

  • All-remote

Companies like these are usually born all-remote and typically don’t have an office. They only gather for social events or workshops, or similar. Famous examples include Gitlab and Zapier. 

Focusing on the Remote Teams model

Our focus in this webinar is the remote teams model, where some employees work together in an office and others work purely remotely. 

Benefits

  1. You’re not restricting yourself to hiring employees living within a certain radius of your office. Instead, you have the opportunity to tap into the global talent pool. This can positively affect the price and quality of the people you hire. 
  2. Your workforce experiences increased flexibility for both your on-site and remote workers. Having people choose what works best for them, for example, working remotely to reduce commuting times, can have a positive impact on efficiency.
  3. Increased flexibility has become more important to employees today, and embracing the remote work environment can positively impact employee retention. 

Challenges

  1. Remote employees tend to be unintentionally excluded from professional and social conversations that are happening in the office. Keeping this in mind and making an effort to manage this is essential. 
  2. There is a risk of unconsciously favoring onsite team members over remote employees for assignments, tasks, and promotions because we tend to trust people who we are physically around every day. 

Are you truly ready for remote teams?  

If you have some people working fully remote, and at the same time set restrictions for how much other people can work remote, you need to rethink.
To be successful you must truly embrace remote work and build a culture of trust and empowerment, where everybody can work the way that is best for them.

If you plan to hire people who work fully remotely, then you need to consider offering the same flexibility to your employees who choose to work onsite. Allow your onsite team to choose what is most efficient for them. 

The hierarchy of needs for remote teams

Inspired by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we created this hierarchy of needs to describe some of the things you need to have in place to ensure the success of your remote teams. Needs that are lower on the pyramid are more important.

                                                          The hierarchy of needs of remote teams

 

Efficient recruiting and quality assurance

Remote teams will not succeed if you don’t hire the right people for your remote team members. When recruiting remote team members, consider these six factors:

  1. You need to spend time and resources to reach the right market of remote workers when you have a broad candidate reach. To attract the best remote developers, employers need to stand out from other employers to attract the best candidates. 
  2. Getting the best developers to work with you relies equally on your quality assurance and selection processes.
  3. Select the right candidate with the help of your existing team members. As they will be working with the new remote team members, their opinions and acceptance are essential. 
  4. Prioritize candidates with remote experience who prefer to work remotely. 
  5. Ensure legal compliance and correct contracting for remote workers. 
  6. Documentation and writing skills should be emphasized. These skills are important for all team members, but it becomes more critical when you are working in distributed teams. 

IT and infrastructure

Having the right technology is important to ensuring that your team is able to communicate and collaborate effectively. Your remote team members should also have access to a great internet connection, as well as proper workstations or access to a dedicated working space. 

Take into consideration that you will occasionally have physical meetups, so ensure that your office is set up for such meetings. 

Remote-friendly communication

Ensure that your remote team members have the same amount of management attention as your onsite employees. While conversations about work are important, remember not to neglect informal or social conversations with your remote team members. 

It may be a good idea to bring over the remote team member to your location for the onboarding process. In addition to helping the remote employee get a feel for the team and culture they’ll be working with, it’s also an opportunity for you to get to know one another better. 

Playbooks or documents describing your work processes and ongoing work should be included in your onboarding process.

IT-supported development process 

There are several technologies that will take a longer time to set up but will be worth the investment in the long run. A 100% cloud-based set-up, DevOps, CI, and test automation, for example, can make working with distributed teams easier and more efficient. 

Culture

Management buy-in is crucial to setting the right attitudes and culture for a remote setup. Ensure that your management team is fully supportive and understands what a remote work culture involves. 

Document your company culture and values, and use this document to guide your selection and interview processes. When using this document in your onboarding process, be sure to include specific examples of what is acceptable and unacceptable because the interpretation of culture and values can be very different when working with international remote developers.

Introduce efficiency techniques such as the Pomodoro technique or the Getting Things Done approach to encourage productivity amongst your team members. 

Purpose

When your remote team members feel connected to your company’s purpose, they are more likely to be more productive and motivated in their work. Choose candidates who are motivated by your purpose during the interview process. 

To guide your team towards reaching your purpose, use goal-setting methodologies like Objectives & Key Results (OKR) that can help your team set and track measurable goals.   

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Read the recap of part 2 and part 3 of the webinar, where Allan Noer of Agreena shares what can go wrong when setting up remote teams, and Søren returns with the steps to implementing a remote teams model respectively.  

Get the full story by watching the recording.