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Creating a sustainable and scalable remote company can be challenging.

There are many factors involved that could make the process difficult and also hinder the company’s performance. While the process may be easier with small businesses, trying to establish processes and practices for larger companies can leave engineering teams and departments feeling disjointed.

Siloed remote teams can have their performance and productivity hindered by not having an optimized workflow. Communication is a huge concern for companies that are making the leap from working in-house to remotely and that’s why it’s important to establish a set of processes beforehand, particularly if you want to be successful at recruiting and engaging developers at work. 

Even before the pandemic, companies were moving towards remote work and telecommuting because it increases productivity and reduces company costs. In a survey by The Kung Group, 76 percent of company founders stated that productivity was maintained or has increased. Sixty-six percent of those founders are reconsidering overheads for offices, making remote work a less costly option. There’s also the added benefit of employees being able to work in their own environment which helps to drive up employee satisfaction levels. 

To help your organization go remote-first, we’ve put together some best practices to help you get the most out of developing your remote teams with a focus on engineering. With any important company shift in the culture or structure of  teams, the first step is to gather data and formulate a strategy.  

The Importance of Planning

As a company leader or decision-maker, it rests on your shoulders to plan and strategize how your team will operate remotely. Throwing everyone into the deep end and hoping they can swim isn’t really a viable solution, especially if you want to see your company culture thrive. 

Failing company cultures often have a one-way channel when it comes to communicating with employees, it’s important to create a dialogue that allows a two-way stream from senior positions to engineers. 

You can establish a dialogue for going remote by creating an initiation pack, alongside that, etiquette training that eases your engineers with what’s expected of them remotely and the tools they will need. Some of your engineers may be extroverts and others introverts. Etiquette training can be a great place to find a solution that gives everyone an equal say during meetings. Since video conferencing tools have now become the new norm, it’s always a good idea to provide your engineering teams with a crash course on how to use the tools so there aren’t any communication or technical mishaps. 

Preeti Kaur, Vice President of Engineering at Carta, says that, “To have an open conversation and address questions is a good start.” It’s a major shift for your engineering teams to perform remotely, so it’s important to ask them if they have any questions, what their opinions are, and what processes you could implement or adjust to make the transition as seamless as possible.

Centralize Your Knowledge Base

In a fast-paced environment with rapid turnover times, constant updates and plenty of testing, you need information and data to be readily accessible for all team members around the world. When companies go remote, they usually face the challenge of not having their knowledge base in a centralized location so that any employee can pull what they need from it. 

When a new remote worker joins your team or if your organization is moving towards a remote structure, it can be difficult to locate relevant information from co-workers. Unfortunately, not everything is cloud-based, especially if you’re only just making the shift to remote-first. 

Onboarding new employees remotely can be a challenge in and of itself but can be performed smoothly and efficiently when the right procedures are put into place. By keeping everything in one system, platform or database, you save your remote employees time and increase their productivity. They don’t have to ask other engineers where a particular document is located and everyone can source data and information from the same place. 

Tools can be incredibly beneficial to remote employees, especially if they’re in the onboarding process. 

Amanda Townsend, Director of People & Culture at Fivetran says, “We use a tool called Slab, it’s basically an internal library of documents that you can update in real-time. So, all of our policies and processes for the entire company, for all the different departments are in Slab. Any employee, no matter where they are can look up how to access something or how to get information.”

Preeti Kaur states that at Carta, they pair newcomers with seasoned employees. “The buddy system” is designed to make sure that onboarded employees have a good person to chat and engage with while working remotely. Not only is this a great practice to increase productivity but helps candidates acclimate into the organization at a faster rate. 

Conclusion

Establishing the best practices to create a remote company can sound like a daunting process but it can be hugely beneficial. Not only does new engineers feel welcomed when joining the company but they also know how to correspond and communicate with other employees. 

Setting out by creating guidelines with etiquette training can help to make your engineering teams stronger and build bonds of trust faster. Also, it’s key to avoid keeping data and information siloed so storing it all in a centralized location for your remote teams to access at all times is a good practice.

To learn more on ways to succeed at “Recruiting and Engaging Developers at Work,” watch our webinar with Carta, Fivetran and ITCraftship.

Sally Lee, Senior Lifecycle Marketing Manager at Codility.

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