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‘The future we envision for work allows for infinite virtual workspaces that will unlock social and economic opportunities for people regardless of barriers like physical location. It will take time to get there, and we continue to build toward this.’ – Says Andrew Bosworth, Vice President of Facebook Reality Labs
If not all, many of us may have thought that 2013 was the end of remote work when Yahoo sent out a memo to its remote employees, forcing them back into the office. But the truth is, remote work grew by 44% in the course of the last 5 years which is absolutely remarkable. In addition, remote work showed an upward trajectory in 2020 with the onset of the COVID 19 Pandemic.
Last year, companies around the world had to shut down their physical workplaces to comply with lockdown and social distancing policies. Ever since remote work as the ‘new normal’ emerged and became a necessity in order to contain the spread of the virus. Undoubtedly, remote work kept businesses running but the circumstances under which it was imposed were dire.
Having said that, not all companies were happy about it and were reluctant to ‘bow’ to the new normal either because of security concerns, employee productivity or because they were so accustomed to their old leadership styles that they were unable to adapt to the changing business landscape. But since remote work was ‘enforced’ there was very little they could do about it.
Customer Services, Sales, Education, Computer, and Information technology including software development are some of the most prominent industries to embrace remote work. Speaking of which, software developers work with clients from all around the world, so transitioning to remote work for development firms was easy. But managing remote developers and ensuring maximum productivity is as important.
Startup.info recently interviewed Fruqan Aziz, CEO of InvoZone; when asked about the difficult choices he had to make during Pandemic, he said, ‘Even though remote work is the new normal, it isn’t for everyone. The only difficult choice that I had to make was to shift towards a digital workforce, which was, obviously, inevitable. Productivity or performance did not drop, but we did face interruptions in projects, probably due to distractions.’
He also added, ‘I am used to working in a highly collaborative environment, and remote work transformed that completely. While working in an office setting, managing and supervising is easier, but when everyone is spread out across different locations, collaboration becomes a struggle, and responses are delayed massively.’ In the end, he talked about having transition strategies in place to avoid any unforeseeable circumstances.
Moving forward, it is pretty evident that upon entering the remote work landscape, the biggest challenge for managers is to ensure performance and results. This paradigm shift demanded companies to implement processes to track progress and cut slack. This is where technological tools jump in. They help both managers and remote software development teams to stay focused and productive in order to meet the deadlines which is in everyone’s best interest.
Now let’s briefly learn about the…
Importance of Remote Team Management Tools
- Remote tools help cut down company costs and time otherwise wasted in miscommunication and unclear project requirements.
- Managers can easily track the availability of employees across different time zones.
- Companies can customize the tools according to their needs. For example, integrate Jibble with Slack and you can easily track employee’s attendance.
- They let you measure focus, performance and productivity.
- You can gain better visibility into work being done.
- Last but not the least, you can generate reports and insights for employee appraisals.
That being said, successful businesses prioritize not just productivity but also employee well-being and experience. Therefore, flexible working hours are important not only for job satisfaction but it also leads to high retention rates and technological solutions have a huge part to play. Let’s look at some of the most popular software development collaboration tools to engage remote employees.
Let’s Look at the Best Tools for Development Teams
Asana for Project Management
Project management is one of the most important aspects of developing successful software products. There are a variety of project management tools for remote software development teams available such as Jira, Trello, etc. But so far, Asana tops my list. This tool provides a centralized place for both project management and communication. Asana lets you manage your team’s work, and helps managers stay connected and organized throughout the development process.
Moreover, team leads can assign tasks to their team members with the due date, and team members, on the other hand, can add comments to their assigned tasks in case of any query. All in all, it is a perfect project management tool for high-performing software development teams with scrum and agile team structures.
Next up is…
Google Workspace for Team Collaboration
When we think about tools for team collaboration: G-suite pops up instantly. Why? Because almost every company favors it. G-suite offers not just one but multiple business and productivity applications for remote software development teams such as Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Hangouts, Docs, Sheets, and Slides for hosting video meetings, group chat, and document collaboration in real-time. All these tools make working with remote developers easier.
Slack for Internal Team Communication
Slack is one of the most popular communication tools among small teams and large enterprises alike. It allows team leads to communicate with their team and project members through groups called channels. They can also easily track conversations for future reference. Not only this, employees can send attachments and do quick voice calls.
Slack also offers several integrations such as you can sync with Google, Trello, Jibble and other important applications to enhance communication, team building, and collaboration.
A team is incomplete without…
Zoom for Video Meetings
Apparently, everyone is very well aware of Zoom – a video conferencing solution for desktop and mobile devices. Zoom is very easy to use and comes with ample features. Apart from providing HD video quality, it can support up to 100 participants for 40 minutes in its free version.
Need more than that? You have to buy their premium package for additional features. You can find all the main features such as join, schedule meetings, or create new meeting rooms on the home page. You can also check the details of your upcoming meetings, and use search functionality to easily search for contacts, messages, and files shared through Zoom.
Last but not the least…
Toggle for Task Monitoring
Toggle is a simple yet intuitive time and task tracking application. The application helps employees meet deadlines and maintain their productivity. Apart from tracking just hours, companies can track total billable hours as well for easy payroll processing. Additionally, it generates comprehensive reports based on time entries and helps managers see how long tasks take to complete for better time estimates.
Now that we know about some of the important tools that you can use to manage your remote teams, let’s take a look at some of the…
Pros and Cons of Remote Work
- Remote employees can save money otherwise spent on the commute and daily expenses including lunch.
- Remote work offers flexible work schedule which as a result improve productivity and work efficiency
- Employees can maintain a proper work-life balance
- Teams can rejuvenate themselves for effective team meetings through power naps
- Remote work is less noisy as compared to working in physical workspaces
- Remote work lets you steer clear of office politics
- It reduces your carbon footprint which is better for the overall environment
- Stress-free work environment at home leads to better overall employee health
- Setting boundaries at home can become difficult
- Lack of or delayed communication can lead to project failure
- Humans are social animals, therefore, lack of social interaction especially for extroverts can be depressing
- Distractions or home drama make collaboration impossible
- You may have ample security concerns
- Remote work can lead to burnout from overwork because most people may not be able to differentiate working hours from non-working hours
Which remote software development tool is your favorite? Contact us to tell us *wink wink*