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Remote teams

Georgina Robilliard
May 31
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City living isn’t for everyone. Fortunately, software development is an ideal profession for working remotely. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection.

Hiring a remote team will increase your candidate pool. We’re seeing more and more companies embracing remote teams and they’re reaping the rewards. Flexibility around location will increase the volume and diversity of applicants you can access. Plus, encouraging your team to work from home can promote a happy work culture and improve retention rates. However, you need to ensure you’re set up for success with a ‘remote first’ attitude before hiring your first remote dev.

The most common issue remote developers raise is communication. Communication is hard. It’s particularly hard when your team is split between the office and remote. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for an office based team to decide to scrap a feature, or change the direction of the product without consulting the remote team members. It’s rarely malicious, but it can have interpersonal and productivity consequences, potentially wasting days of dev time.

Regular video meetings, with a clear agenda can help ensure information is shared effectively. An IM platform with handy integrations helps to keep your team feeling united too. IM is a great way to discuss progress updates, ask questions and share gifs.

No matter how well a team uses these communication tools, they will never replace human contact. It’s still important to find time to get together in person.

Teams who often spend time face to face, get to know each other on a personal level. Trust and understanding are imperative for a cohesive team, which is easier to build in real life. If your team can improve their understanding of how each person communicates, you can decrease the likelihood of misinterpreting a well-intended, poorly worded IM message.

Lookahead Search practices what we preach. We have 2 people in Melbourne, 5 in Sydney, and we regularly work from home. Slack is an integral part of how we communicate everyday. We also have 4 x 15 minute video calls per week, and meet in person as a whole team at least 4 times a year. Communication can always be improved, but through IM, video and face to face time, we work effectively together, no matter where we pitch our laptop.

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