By definition, a delivery team has to be productive, right? I mean, these teams are focused on specific tasks and projects and dedicate themselves to deliver the best possible product. However, things aren’t always like that. Delivery teams face many challenges they need to solve for their work to truly shine. What’s more, everything gets more complicated when that delivery team is working remotely, as you need to add the potential issues of long-distance collaboration.
What I’m saying is that, while delivery teams are made to be efficient, there are many things you can do to kick their productivity up a notch — especially if they are remote teams! Years of experience working with Code Power has provided me with insights into how you can do so, so let’s get into it.
Avoid micromanagement (don’t be overbearing)
A lot of managers experience anxiety when considering how they’re going to effectively “control” their remote teams.
Unlike normal office environments where you can just walk over to someone’s desk to peek over their shoulders, remote environments leave a lot to the imagination.
And that’s the problem: managers often imagine that their team members aren’t working during business hours, or that they’re taking advantage of the lack of physical proximity to do whatever they want.
So, in response, they may begin the slow (but often unintended) journey of becoming a micromanager. You may find that they:
- Frequently require updates, even for the most menial tasks.
- Fill up an employee’s Slack with messages throughout the day.
- Request video calls for whatever reason at a moment’s notice.
This can cause (unnecessary) stress to people who may already be working with tight deadlines.
A better way to go about it is to become aware of the effect you may be having on team members and to look within yourself to determine whether your fears are rational or not.
Developing self-control as a manager will go a long way toward avoiding transitioning into a micromanager. And that’ll improve the mood of your employees and, as a result, their productivity.
Create clearly defined objectives
A remote delivery team can’t be productive if there aren’t clearly defined objectives for them to pursue. Assigning them vague deadlines, unclear tasks, and uncertain intentions for a finished product can often leave teams moving both backward and forward (likely concurrently).
It’s good practice to put out key responsibility areas (KRAs) as well as set key performance indicators (KPIs) for workers to pursue. Leaving messages with rough ideas about what you want done simply won’t do.
You see, if a team member knows what their role is and how much they have to achieve , then they’re 10x more likely to be effective in a smart remote team.
Subsidize people’s home offices
It may seem obvious, but having a good home office environment will have a very positive effect. So by helping your team you can do wonders for morale and, ultimately, productivity. You can purchase them better equipment, chairs, or even a standing desk — whatever they need to properly work from home.
Just like you’d want people to be comfortable and effective in their workspace in an office building, you should also want them to have a good working environment at home.
On top of subsidizing them, you can also provide your team with tips for improving their workspace. Some excellent suggestions include:
- Putting plants (even artificial ones) in their office space.
- Removing unnecessary distractions.
- Working in a room with adequate sunlight.
- Cleaning up their desk area of clutter.
Limit your video calls (and make them interesting)
Many of us waste so much time on Zoom calls. That way, what is initially intended to strengthen morale and build connections just leads to what is now known as Zoom fatigue.
That’s why it’s so important to keep meetings purposeful and to the point. Releasing an agenda before actually having these meetings can help you with that, especially if you define how much time they’ll last.
And if you’re looking to improve how well the team works together, then you might opt to do something a bit more unique instead of a Zoom meeting. Some great team-building exercises could include:
- Online murder mystery games.
- Online bingo.
- An in-person trip with the team to somewhere interesting (if possible).
However, if you find the video calls necessary, opting for audio-only calls will likely lessen the strain and reduce the risk of the dreaded Zoom fatigue.
And by attending to this issue, you can maximize productivity by saving both time and energy.
Utilize a single collaboration platform
Keeping everything on one collaboration platform will save your team a lot of time and, therefore, maximize productivity.
Having multiple tools and means to “connect” everyone will only contribute to fatigue and burnout. Remember — less is more, especially when it comes to remote work.
You should only have a single platform that handles things like progress and vacation tracking, as well as communication.
Becoming aware of mental health difficulties
Did you know that both workers and employers are concerned about the mental health impact of working from home?
And what’s worse is that working from home can cause mental health challenges, for several reasons, including:
- Isolation and lack of emotional support.
- A lack of disconnect from work life (and difficulties “switching off”).
- The pressure to do more/better work.
Becoming aware of the difficulties team members are likely to face is the first step toward rectifying them. After that, you need a plan to help your team take care of themselves. Some of the things you can do are:
- Check in on your team about the challenges they are facing.
- Send out monthly “wellness” checks where people can rate their stress levels,
- Implement fun activities into their day.
By addressing these problems, you’ll also improve the team’s productivity. A stressed or depressed team member is rarely a productive one.
How about some gamification?
Nobody is completely productive, 100% of the time. And we all know that more time doesn’t always equal the same or greater productivity. In fact, with time, there are often diminishing returns.
Adding in fun competitions, informal events, and incentives such as early Fridays (if people complete their work early) will go a long way to reducing turnover, and maximizing productivity. You can also achieve that by gamifying processes, arranging competitions and providing rewards for people that stand out for their hard work, energy, metrics, or anything you can think of.
The process of “optimizing” remote work
The world has undergone a massive change over the last few years (largely due to the pandemic). Now, remote work has become quite a norm but, it’s certainly not all it can be.
That’s why remote team leaders should be doing their utmost to ensure that people can do their best.
So with time (and by carefully considering the points I’ve made), employers can (hopefully) learn to deal with the “hiccups” associated with remote work, and ultimately create effective and productive remote delivery teams.