Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Remote working environments have become the new normal. Not exactly shocking news, and there’s a good reason for it. According to Entrepreneur.com, research shows remote work has had a positive impact on overall employee experience, and in a recent FlexJobs survey, 95% of respondents reported a higher productivity level while working remotely.
Every article about remote work will provide myriad ideas that all boil down to the same issue: We need to find ways to stay connected as often as possible. The chief bullet point will almost always suggest that it’s more essential than ever that leaders be more accessible. They need to check in regularly, hold more frequent one-on-ones and try to build in ways to help their employees feel less isolated.
The why of leaders connecting more frequently is clear: It helps employees feel like they’re a part of the team, and that sense of belonging is beneficial for their mental health and their work alike. How leaders can connect more often, on the other hand, can be challenging.
That’s where Pluralsight Flow comes in.
Staying connected with remote employees
Pluralsight Flow is a powerful tool for removing bottlenecks and better understanding the processes of your engineering workflow. It’s also a way to connect with your team. With Flow, you’re able to dive into hours worked on specific projects, the types of work specific team members might thrive doing and gain deeper understanding about the value of your code reviews. It also enables you to see the types of feedback PRs and commits are getting and by whom.
All this data opens up invaluable opportunities to connect with your remote team members, and it makes those touchpoints more valuable for both you and your team members. Let’s dig into a few of these touchpoint opportunities:
Use Slack for daily stand-ups: Flow shows leaders how and when your team prefers to get their work done. If they’re hitting their marks, they should be entrusted with the flexibility to work the hours that best fit into their schedule. When considering the fact that your team may very well stretch across multiple time zones, it makes sense to use Slack or other communication tools for daily stand-ups. It lets people check in when they need to and also shows your trust.
Build cross-team projects: Building cross-team task forces to tackle larger projects is easier when you understand how people are interacting with each other’s code. These groups gain deeper knowledge about what their coworkers do on a daily basis, which is how culture starts to form. As Dr. Tracy Brower states, “We start to work together on something that we both care about and we can better understand our roles and what makes us a team as opposed to what separates us.”
Hold frequent and valuable one-on-ones: While it may take time away from coding, it’s essential to connect with team members frequently. Being remote means you can’t connect in the hallway or randomly at lunch, so be sure to schedule touchpoints often. These connecting points help you to get to know employees better; their interests and what projects they prefer to work on. If you know what they’re passionate about, you can help connect with the proper mentors, tasks and upskilling opportunities.
Clearly define project and task leadership: When you’ve established communication tools, you can use them to clarify to your team who’s owning what projects. This provides clear and concise opportunities for team members to connect with each other and also shows that you’re trusting them that they’ll get the work done. Pluralsight Flow helps you see that the work is getting done and delivers enterprise-level insight to the whole team. Everyone has access to the same data, which increases trust and reinforces a feeling of connectivity for teams.
Be future-focused: Just because you have frequent touchpoints with your employees doesn’t mean they all need to be about their current workloads. Ask about projects they want to work on, what aspirations they have for their future and what skills they want to learn. Then work backward to build out their capabilities through upskilling and mentorship opportunities. Help them see a future at the company and make a roadmap for them to hit their goals. This will prove beneficial for both the employee and your organization and it will help them feel connected to the company and long-term goals.
The challenges tech team leads are facing due to the remote working environment aren’t dissimilar from the past, but the landscape has changed. That doesn’t make the problems unsolvable; we as technologists just need to be prepared with the proper tools and data to solve them.