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5 Integration Tips of Remote Developers into Existing Teams

As companies grow and expand their reach, it’s only natural for them to tap into the potential hidden within the global talent pool. It’s enticing, especially for the tech and e-commerce sectors, whose output doesn’t have to be limited by on-site restrictions. Whether through nearshoring or offshoring — the options are there, and they’re looking ever so advantageous. But, as with all work methods, you must take in the good with the occasional inconvenience.

With the rise of distributed teams in IT organizations, more and more employers and managers are being exposed to those inconveniences as we speak. And while the benefits concerning flexibility far outweigh any minor connection problems, it’s in everyone’s best interest to mitigate the latter as much as possible. As such, for today, we’ll focus on five essential pieces of advice to turn your remote development plan into a smooth, well-maintained ride.

1. The Three C’s – Clear Communication Channels

The old adage of communication being key is as appropriate as ever here. While it’s (somewhat) fair to expect remote software developers to be the lone wolves of the organization, it isn’t always sustainable or applied in practice. The different teams and individuals within will have to exchange info sooner or later, and the best way to do so is through regular check-ins.

In our experience as talent recruiters, we foster strong communication between our clients and remote workers by maintaining balance. The last thing you’d want to do is constantly look over people’s shoulders, figuratively or literally — hence why bridging the gap requires well-established scheduling. For the task, your best bet is to opt for combined video call and instant messaging platforms such as Teams, which also double as solid project management tools!

2. Set Up Boundaries, Roles, and Responsibilities

You’ll quickly notice that conciseness is the recurring theme for these tips. By clearly outlining everything, you reduce any possible misconceptions, including anything that relates to the specific responsibilities given to each team member.

While this ties into the aspect of communication, as mentioned earlier, it’s worth noting that remote workers should be given meticulous outlines of their tasks well before they truly sink their teeth into a given project.

Remote work policy handbooks and e-books exist precisely for this. They highlight the company’s expectations, remote communication guidelines, availability, and expected performance metrics. Combined with the regular yet non-intrusive check-ups we mentioned, you significantly reduce the likelihood of your remote workers getting overwhelmed.

3. Ensure There’s a Sense of Belonging

Remote employees know what they’re getting into by opting for distant work, but that doesn’t mean that isolation won’t get to them at a certain point. Flexibility is a double-edged sword for distant workers, as a lack of motivation and engagement can take over the otherwise attractive benefits of flexibility.

While we don’t advise forceful engagement, it’s best if employers slowly encourage collaborative work (where applicable) and new opportunities for colleague interactions. Virtual team-building activities, while not as common, do exist. Sometimes, it’s even as simple as hosting voice chat meetings where in-office and remote colleagues can casually share their progress and brainstorm.

4. Provide the Right Toolsets

Software developers of all types are creators and innovators. With that said, creators need their tools, especially if they’re dependent on them for their specific field – whether it’s QA testing, web development, app engineering, or anything in between.

Usually, third-party recruiter firms handle the deployment and support for necessary software. The essential tools and resources tend to include project management applications, integrated development environments, visual assets, dev tools for debugging, various APIs, and cloud hosting platforms. Of course, these vary from position to position.

Researching and investing in reliable suites is vital, and remote developers will often specify if there’s a missing add-on to their software kit, making the overall process more manageable. Regarding specific project management tools that foster productivity between remote and in-office members, tools like Slack or ProofHub are your best options.

5. A Steady Stream of Support and Feedback

Integrating remote developers boils down to a mix of ‘give and take.’ By now, we’ve covered the challenges that come with isolation, but the overall disconnect from company culture can run deeper. Providing the necessary services and facilitating communication between co-workers is one thing, but it’s an entirely different matter when giving support and feedback yourself.

For most remote developers’ career growth, it is nearly essential to be provided regular feedback by higher-ups. This way, they can make necessary adjustments that would have otherwise slipped past them or their co-developers.

The First Steps Toward a Better Remote Work Culture

As organizations of various sizes continue to embrace remote work as a viable growth alternative, these tips slowly become necessary prerequisites for smooth operation. After all, productivity goes hand in hand with collaboration, communication, and clarity.

With the right strategies in place – and an equal mix of software deployment and proactive measures – distance eventually stops being a barrier to your company’s teamwork. We’ve learned this ourselves through years of experience as remote team managers. Just keep these tips in the back of your mind, and don’t be afraid to spread your wings!

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