“BairesDev’s established expertise with remote work has allowed the company to continue business as usual in these difficult times.”
The trend is clear: remote work is in the spotlight. As more and more regions continue to enforce lockdowns due to the coronavirus outbreak, many companies used to the good ol’ brick and mortar are visibly struggling to adapt. And while people need to remain indoors for the safety of us all, most organizations can’t afford to reduce their output.
The result? A massive transition to the online environment. However, it hasn’t always gone as smoothly as it could. The world is witnessing how traditional organizations of every size and kind are trying their best to maintain the status quo of their day-to-day office workflow. This is the first and greatest mistake in their transition.
By now, it should be clear that managing a remote team is nowhere near the same as managing in-house employees. Don’t get the wrong idea, though. It is not necessarily harder or easier. It is just different, which is why many businesses are failing to understand how to make it work. Luckily, I believe I can help with that.
At BairesDev, remote work has always been a core element of our culture. The massive transition to the remote environment hasn’t really taken a toll on us—we have been managing remote teams internationally for over 10 years. Today, our company has over a thousand employees spread along the continent, and our hiring rate is not going to slow down anytime soon.
Needless to say, our remote philosophy has enabled us to continue business as usual in these difficult times. All of our clients continue to work with distributed teams composed of the Top 1% IT Talent in Latin America while all BairesDev’s employees work from home. So if you want to learn how to go about remote work the right way, there is no better place to do so than here.
Let’s take a look at what not to do.
3 Common Pitfalls of Remote Work
1. Lack of Trust
This is, perhaps, what makes way for all the following pitfalls. Not coincidentally, it is also the hardest one to avoid. So let me say this clearly: an ideal remote work environment is built on trust—and it goes both ways. A team needs to trust its manager’s decisions, and a manager has to trust its team will commit to their work.
I have recently seen managers clearly show a lack of trust by complaining on LinkedIn about their sudden lack of control. Yes, people will take breaks sometimes. They will get distracted and they will make mistakes. But, didn’t they do this before? These are the same people that you used to share the office with. If you liked their performance then, you will like it now.
My work at BairesDev requires me to manage remote teams every day of the week. I can tell you from experience that, without trust, we would have never gotten where we are now. By using agile methodologies and project management platforms, we are able to give clear directions, set clear expectations, and remain on top of everything that needs to be done. In fact, can assure that a lack of trust actually would result in less productivity. We’ll see why in the next pitfalls.
2. SCRUM Meetings
SCRUM meetings are one of the best ways to make sure your team has everything they need to provide their best work. And when it comes to remote teams, it doesn’t even have to be that complicated. We can even divide it into simple steps, like this:
- Choose a conferencing software. We use Zoom, but there are tons more available.
- Teach your team how to use it properly. Set up your own guide or follow tutorials.
- Schedule the meeting based on the size and needs of your team. I wouldn’t recommend going over 1 hour.
- Conduct the meeting. Make sure to give everyone a chance to speak. Ask questions, communicate news, and request feedback at the end.
BairesDev’s culture is based on agile methodologies, which is why we take SCRUM meetings very seriously. In these we will go over everything that’s relevant for each team member: what went great, what are they having issues with, any ideas that came up, etc.
3. Excessive Micromanagement
Let’s say you’ve been assigned a task in the office. Normally, this means you would get to it asap and report relevant progress to your supervisor. As long as everything falls within the deadline, it is up to you to make things happen. The task would progress without obstructions and eventually be resolved.
On the contrary, a micromanaging supervisor would watch your every move and demand constant progress reports, even when it is not necessary. You wouldn’t have a chance to try things, make mistakes, or even think for yourself. The micromanager would have you doing everything his or her way.
This doesn’t just take work time from your hands, but it’s also demotivating, a straight path to burnout, and leaves your team at a dead-end. Micromanagement forces people to be dependent and non-innovative, which means you can’t ever expect a micromanaged team to improve.
In my opinion, the key to avoiding micromanagement is to make everything about meeting clear goals. Set priorities, use project management software (we use Jira, for example), and make sure all results are reasonable, measurable, and lead to business progression. If you can throw a bit of innovation and challenge in there, even better.
BairesDev’s Remote Culture
Let me give you a bit of insight into BairesDev’s remote culture.
Back in 2009, while the world was also fighting a massive recession, Paul Azorin and I were laying down the foundation of today’s BairesDev. The goal? To harness the Top 1% IT Talent in Latin America, a flourishing region full of highly-educated IT professionals. And the best way to do it was by embracing a remote working culture.
Why? Because we knew that the Top 1% IT talent wouldn’t be concentrated in a single city, nor a single country. Putting remote at the core of the company allowed us to massively extend our reach and start forming distributed teams with the best people for the job. Without geographical barriers, there was really no limit to building top-performing teams.
This was over 10 years ago. The world was not as familiarized with remote methodologies as it is today. BairesDev faced challenges but overcame them by building trust, reputation, and proving our expertise in the software development industry. Today, we compete with the largest software outsourcing companies in the world.
Over the years, BairesDev has been recognized numerous times for the quality of its work and its outstanding performance in the international market. Most recently, BairesDev was selected among Inc.’s 5000 fastest-growing private companies in California with a 3-year growth rate of 792%. Similarly, the company was recognized by Clutch as a Top Software Development Firm and a Top B2B Service Provider in the region.
Similarly, we are able to reach more applicants than any competitor in Latin America because of our expertise in remote methodologies. Each year, over 240,000 candidates from various countries apply for a position at BairesDev and, after a very strict process of interviews and evaluation, less than 1% of them become employees. This is the Top 1% IT Talent that develops high-quality projects for our clients.
Putting remote work at the core of our operations has certainly paid off. It is thanks to smart working that we are able to continue business as usual amidst the current crisis. We have become experts in the matter, and we will definitely continue to innovate and improve remote methodologies in preparation for anything that may come.