Common Issues That Remote IT Teams Face And How To Surpass Them
It’s not at all uncommon in this day and age that a company hires employees who will work remotely – because of many technological benefits, geographical differences are not an issue here. Being that it’s an amazing way to boost different economies worldwide, remote outsourcing is widely supported and appreciated.
However, considering the fact that it’s still a new way to do business, having a remote IT team still brings up several issues. If dealt with properly, you will have a highly functioning team that’s super productive, so there’s no need to get alarmed – you just need to take certain precautions and introduce the rules that every member of your team should stick to.
Difficulties with Communication
This is the most common issue, and not just with IT teams that have remote members. Misunderstandings in communication lead to various issues and they will have a significant effect when it comes to the future of any business.
When gaps in communication appear, different departments that are working on the same project end up being not properly coordinated. This will additionally lead to going back to the same projects over and over again, and correcting your mistakes.
Now, some businesses decided to go with talking online by using some piece of software because that seems to be a faster solution – communicating via mail can take a while. However, it’s only natural that a piece of information you receive slips your mind after you’re done with the conversation, but that will obviously have a negative effect on your work. My suggestion is to go with a combined method and talk things over, while you write the main points of your conversation down.
Different Time Zones
It can be very difficult to coordinate a team when you have members who are in different time zones. While a part of your team is sleeping, another one will be having their lunch, and that can be a very challenging problem.
The solution here is that you, as a business leader, need to be very precise when it comes to determining your deadlines. My piece of advice is that you set your deadlines before the actual date when a project needs to be completed and thus give yourself and your team some breathing room so that you can deal with possible hiccups that may appear along the way.
Even though you may insist on nonstop communication, having a remote team doesn’t really enable you to actually know what each one of your employees is doing and when they are working. The fact is that business relationships should be based on trust, you should build yourself a safety net and make sure that everyone is doing their end of the deal.
For this purpose, you should consider implementing an effective piece of software to the way you do business, like a project management tool that enables you to keep track of progress or a remote monitoring piece of software that takes screenshots and sends you notifications, for example.
Although the fact is that we’re getting used to looking at our screens instead of people, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Lack of human interaction causes severe problems with creativity and motivation, which is something a business leader should never allow.
This may sound a bit pricy, but my suggestion here is to fly your team members to your headquarters every now and then and perhaps even go a mile further and organize a collective vacation where they can actually interact. If you want to put nice and useful together, you should have them attend educational seminars together and thus develop your business by perfecting the skills of your employees.
Communicating with someone who was raised completely differently than you can turn into a disaster. If you have ever been to a foreign country, no matter if it was for business or pleasure, and offended someone without even realizing it, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
When hiring someone who’s culture is completely unfamiliar to you, you should definitely have a special briefing that will serve to set up ground rules and go through the main cultural differences that each member of your team needs to be familiar with. That way, you’ll prevent an unpleasant situation from ever happening.
Lack of Team Spirit
Having a team in which all members support each other and bond by themselves is something that’s very difficult to achieve, even when you’re not dealing with remote employees. Therefore, every business leader needs to insist on effective team building activities which will create professional bonds between your employees and thus spontaneously create a supportive environment.
With a remote IT team, this seems to be a real hassle. However, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of technology and the purpose of entertaining. The simplest solution I can give you here is to organize mandatory game nights and have your whole online team play an online game and thus connect through getting to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses in a subtle and fun way.
This does seem like a lot of work, and it truly is. However, if you want to pay the price of having highly educated and very talented team members who are scattered all over the globe, this is a road you must take. Now, these are only basic suggestions and solutions we went through – as you go further, you need to use all your creativity and come up with various ideas which will bring your team closer, have them motivated at all times, and keep them productive.