As we head into a new year, technical organizations are more likely than ever to have distributed workforces. While over half of the developers we surveyed for our Guide to Developer Productivity said remote work has helped them be more productive, they still stated that team distribution is a significant blocker to developer collaboration.
If you’re looking to get your dev team aligned and collaborating better in 2022, here’s how to make a remote work environment work for your team, not against them.
Remote Work isn’t a Given – It’s a Skillset
While almost everyone in the tech industry has had a crash course in remote work over the past two years, truly effective remote work is a learned skill. Not everyone thrives in a remote environment without additional support — including developers who might spend more time on solo projects than in meetings.
Organizations that have gone fully remote should invest additional resources into enabling team members to succeed in a remote environment, especially for members of the team who are new to remote collaboration. From sharing remote work tips and tricks during onboarding to carving out time for the team to connect as humans (virtual happy hour, anyone?), acknowledging that remote work can take some adjustment will help your team succeed.
Leaning into Async Collaboration Practices Help Ease Remote Collaboration Bottlenecks
A quick commute to the living room and the ability to literally disconnect when you need to focus are some of the upsides of remote work. But communication can be a real hurdle for remote teams — there’s no impromptu catch-up in the office kitchen, no running by someone’s desk to ask a quick question. Video calls are often a poor substitute for in-person meetings (everyone’s felt the pain of trying to have a productive conversation on a call with multiple people). That doesn’t even take into account challenges like a bad internet connection, disparate time zones, or navigating childcare challenges.
Instead of trying to approximate an in-office experience online, seasoned remote teams often invest in the areas where remote work can really shine, such as enabling asynchronous work. Leaning into asynchronous best practices, including internal process documentation, recording and sharing meetings with the team, and taking full advantage of project management tools, can keep your team on the same page even when they can’t be in the same place.
Look for Collaboration Tools Designed with Remote Teams in Mind
According to a survey from Atlassian on collaboration, 82% of teams struggle with cross-functional collaboration. With the lines between development, operations, security, and support teams becoming less clear, ensuring that everyone has access to the information they need is both more challenging and more important than ever.
The right tools can break through information silos and help teams function at their best, whether they’re in the same city or spread across time zones. But collaboration tools are often designed to supplement in-person interactions, not replace them. That can leave fully-remote teams with tools that don’t serve their needs and leave gaps in their workflows, increasing the amount of context switching they need to do every day.
Defining a single source of truth where your team can find essential documents, stay up-to-date on in-flight projects, and connect with each other is a critical step to enabling your team to regain productive work time. Look for tools that surface information quickly and easily and integrate well with the tools your team uses every day.
Learn More about Developer Productivity for Remote Teams
Want to learn more about how developer teams are adapting to remote work and other productivity challenges? Check out our Guide to Developer Productivity for more on our survey of developers and tips for unblocking your team’s workflows in 2022.