Building out a team, whether it’s in person or remotely, is a challenge. Communicating and collaborating can be a struggle for teams that work in the same office block, never mind remotely. So here are 4 ways you can proactively work on building a great, efficient environment for your remote engineering team.

Within our own engineering team of 4, they all work remotely with the option of working from the office whenever they like. So Rob, Haystack's CTO has some great advice and ideas on how to build a collaborative and effective remote team. We recently caught up with him about what advice he would give to other hiring managers for remote developer roles and this is what he said:

1. Communicate expectations

If you want your team to catch up daily in a morning standup and be online and reachable during core working hours, then this is something that needs to be communicated.

If your team can work completely flexibly then set expectations of when and how they should communicate their progress on projects.

2. Provide the right tools for the job

You can’t expect certain results without providing the tools for your team to do things effectively. If you want them to stay accountable and keep track of tasks, then ensure you have project management tools like Asana to keep people aligned. This is more efficient than reading off of individual to-do lists, and managers can keep people on track and manage projects more efficiently.

It’s the same with equipment - if you expect your developers to carry out their daily tasks on an old laptop, it’s not going to work. Whatever tech and equipment they need to be able to carry out their job, you should be providing them. If they have a bad back because of poor posture on their chairs, this can lead to serious health issues so provide them with an office chair with sufficient support. 

3. Take time for the little things

Ensure you build in time around meetings for chit-chat. It’s important to foster meaningful relationships within your team and build that rapport. Creating an environment of trust and enjoyment is just as important as providing a fulfilling role.

Provide your employees with an environment where they can be their true authentic selves. This allows them to express themselves and feel more able to share their thoughts and opinions. In an engineering team, as problem solvers, your team has to be comfortable in sharing their ideas in order to progress.

4. Implement regular one-on-one communication

It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and forget to take time to catch up with your team one-on-one. It’s important to set time in the diary for regular catch-ups, give them time to talk about anything they want. It could be work-related such as feedback on processes or feedback on performance. But, it could also be an opportunity to discuss things outside of work - how is their remote set up working for them, how is family life, what’re they up to at the weekend.

It’s important for employees to know they can bring up anything, and everything, during these meetings and they’re crucial time as a manager to build that rapport.

If you're looking to expand your engineering team, and are hiring for either local or remote developers, check out Haystack. We're a careers and insights marketplace putting techies at the heart of what we're doing, with no shady recruiters and no spam. From senior Java developers to junior developers, we're trusted by thousands of techies across the UK to find their next tech opportunity.

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