So, you have set up your own software development team remotely. You have carefully selected the people, who have both the necessary skill set and the right personality for remote collaboration. You are making an extra effort to keep your remote developers motivated and involved in the life of your company - but their productivity is not quite at the level you expected. Why?
Poor productivity in the workplace is a problem for many businesses, especially for those who hire dedicated developers and have them work with minimal managerial supervision. Within the last couple of years, companies like Yahoo and Hewlett Packard have even started banning or scaling back telecommuting for their employees because of their disengagement at the remote workplace. Various distractions from the outside world (social media, smartphone games, and what not) or lack of focus - whatever the reasons of lost productivity are, the problem is even more urgent for remote workers than it is for in-house employees.
Addressing this issue, many businesses have started tracking their employees’ productivity, and some of them are overindulging. Stories about managers tracking their workers’ bathroom breaks sound a little bit too much, so if you don’t want to scare your remote developers away, keep a balance between tracking productivity and leaving your employees some space. Here are a few tips to help you with that.
Don’t Spy on Your Remote Developers
Some businesses use software that secretly records everything that happens on an employee’s monitor to see if they have actually been working or watching funny cat videos on YouTube. Do not do that: ethics put aside, mutual mistrust will lead you nowhere with an offshore software development team.
Improve, not Penalize
The data you get should be used to improve your developers’ productivity, not come up in a negative performance review or result a punishment of any kind. If you see productivity issues, discuss them with the employee and see how the problem can be helped.
Get Your Developers Involved
Make sure your remote team knows what you are tracking, how it is done and why, and each employee has access to their data. If the procedure is transparent and the coders know how it helps them, they will feel trusted and be more welcoming.
Don’t Be Petty
Noone is productive 100% of their time, and if a developer spent 10 minutes of their working time to check their Facebook, don’t make a productivity problem out of it. Instead of picking at every small loss of engagement, try to identify productivity patterns and help your developers have more ups and fewer downs.
Actually Use the Data You Track
Some companies don’t have much use for the data they are tracking, because managers don’t have enough time to analyze it, or don’t bother sharing their analytics with the employees. Simply piling up the screenshots of your remote developers’ monitors is a loss of time, so before you implement productivity tracking, think about how to make the most of that data.
Keeping your own software development team productive gets more challenging when they are located thousands of kilometers away, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire offshore developers. Do the productivity tracking without becoming overcontrolling, and your remote developers will show positive changes very soon.