Companies are relying on remote teams more than ever before. And while working from home sounds like a dream come true for many, it definitely comes with its challenges. As organizations continue to branch out their remote teams, maintaining strong company culture and a cohesive, collaborative workforce becomes increasingly difficult.
In this article, we’ll shine a light on some of the main challenges facing remote teams and show you how to overcome them to become an invaluable remote team member at your company.
Common challenges facing remote engineering teams
In today’s fast-paced, digital world, standard 9-5 desk jobs are becoming a thing of the past. Today, more people from across the globe find themselves working at home than ever before. Software engineers, in particular, are among the most common remote team members at leading US companies.
And while the thought of coding and working from home might sound great at first, it doesn’t take long to realize that working remotely boasts a wide range of unique challenges. Some of the most common areas remote team members struggle with include:
- Staying motivated. Distractions are easy to come by when working from home.
- Time management. Even experienced remote team members struggle to manage their time properly when telecommuting.
- Maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Having the discipline to stop working is just as important as having the discipline to start. Having a healthy work-life balance is key for remote team members.
- Communication. High-performing engineering teams rely on solid communication, which can be difficult to maintain across borders and via chat rooms, video calls, and email.
- Feeling lonely or isolated. Many developers and remote team members find it hard to feel part of a strong engineering team culture when working from home.
- Collaboration and team contribution. Having solid teamwork skills is more important than ever before when working from home.
Tips to becoming a solid remote team member and remote engineer
Encourage face-to-face team building.
The benefits of teamwork are undeniable. And the best teamwork happens when great minds come together, face-to-face, in meetings or conference rooms. While actually meeting with your remote team members in person might not be an option, try to encourage regular group calls and meetings via Zoom to nurture your team and its collaboration.
Find a routine and stick to it
The flexibility that comes with working from home is a double-edged sword and can be the downfall of some remote developers. In order to be a strong remote team member, make sure to find a routine that works for you and meets the requirements put in place by your company. Remember, this routine should balance both work and non-work-related activities such as exercise, social activities, and more.
Focus on communication
Effective communication is key to building a strong, collaborative remote team. Make sure to read our post on communication skills for remote developers and really focus on encouraging clear, concise communication across your team. Moreover, create space for informal communication too, as this can help breed stronger bonds between remote team members who obviously don’t have the opportunity to mingle around the proverbial water cooler.
Adopt the right tools
There are countless apps out there designed to help remote team members and developers flourish from their remote work environments. Check out our past article on software developer apps for a list of some of the best tools to help you with time management, communication, collaboration, and more. Better yet, pass these tools on to the rest of your remote team to help them flourish while working from home.
Embrace work-from-home culture
One of the biggest mistakes remote team members make is trying to simulate the dynamics of “being at the office.” The reality is that working remotely is completely different from working from an office, and your team should embrace these differences rather than fight against them. Balancing the liberties of being in a remote team with the commitment and structure of a more traditional office environment is the best way to stay productive and motivated as a remote team member.
Learn to manage expectations
Whether it be with a client, a supervisor, or another remote team member, properly managing expectations is key to a healthy remote work environment. Don’t feel pressured into accepting tasks or deadlines you know you can’t complete in time. Furthermore, remember to clearly communicate what you need from your colleagues or clients in order for a particular task to get done.
Become a better remote team member today
Working from home provides some clear challenges for remote team members. With the right work ethic, communication skills, and company culture, however, you and your team can embrace the freedom of working remotely while simultaneously flourishing at your jobs.