Successful Software Development in a Hybrid Environment
With the remote and hybrid work culture, COVID-19 has transformed how we work.
The pandemic forced software development teams — and of course, employees in all non-essential sectors — into working from home. Conferences moved to Zoom, water-cooler and gratitude channels shifted to Slack, and companies created extensive virtual project management systems to ensure their businesses functioned efficiently.
Even before the pandemic, businesses (usually in Silicon Valley) built offshore software development teams; therefore, the shift to remote work wasn’t an entirely new phenomenon for this sector.
However, businesses have started moving back to their office with the vaccines rolling out. But not everyone has adopted the traditional work structure.
According to WFH Research, amongst the 5,000 respondents surveyed, 73 percent were looking for a hybrid work culture where they have a little more flexibility and freedom about where and when they work.
After realizing the benefits of building a global remote workforce, businesses have kept in mind the lessons they’ve learned during the pandemic and have started adopting a hybrid work culture.
This shift from a distributed workforce to a hybrid model can cause unnecessary strain on a company’s digital transformation.
Juan Hoyos, Chief Commercial Officer at Cinq North America, shares strategies managers can implement to ensure that their software development team thrives in a hybrid work culture.
Build a highly inclusive hybrid work culture
While working with a hybrid workforce, it’s critical to focus your efforts on building a highly inclusive work environment.
All the team members, be it in-office or remote, should have the same access to managers, HR, and the technologies required to work on projects successfully and engage with clients.
With a hybrid workforce, it’s easy to overlook remote employees and conduct impromptu, informal meetings in the office to make quick decisions. Unfortunately, instances like these may alienate your remote employees, which is the last thing you want.
We’ve learned that the best way to build an inclusive hybrid work culture is to take an all-virtual or all-in-person approach during client meetings, says Hoyos.
Ensure that all the training and career advancement opportunities are available to the same degree to all employees regardless of whether they’re physically present in the office or not.
Strategize your onboarding process to ensure all the team members get the chance to know each other. For example, you can take the client meeting approach and build a mostly virtual onboarding process for your software engineers.
Brainstorming, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing
Employees are used to impromptu meetings and physical ideation sessions. Moving away from the office has dramatically impacted brainstorming, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing. This shift indirectly has affected the level of innovation in software development teams.
To cover the gap between hybrid work culture and innovation, engineering managers need to use remote collaboration tools to encourage interaction between their team members.
From daily syncs to check-ins with clients and coworkers, software development teams can use various remote communication tools.
Employees would often walk up to their colleagues’ desks to clarify a task in an office setting. Such conversations build a stronger relationship between coworkers.
While walking up to your coworker’s desk may not always be feasible in hybrid work culture, technical leaders should encourage their team to have more impromptu chats and “instant” meetings with their team members like they would in the office.
Instead of asking a coworker to clear a doubt which may be complex via email or Slack, ask your developers to jump on a quick 5-minute video call.
For a hybrid work culture to thrive, engineering managers should empower their teams to interact, share, and collaborate efficiently to build cutting-edge technologies.
Hybrid work culture: Trust your team members
According to a Harvard Business Review report, 34 percent of employees felt that their managers lacked enough confidence in their work skills. An even higher percentage said their managers doubted their ability to finish their tasks and felt pressure to stay online to prove themselves.
This lack of trust significantly impacts the software development team’s productivity and performance.
Remote developers are going to be working from different time zones. Furthermore, they have their peak hours of productivity. Therefore, micromanaging them is the last thing engineering managers should do.
Instead, build a culture of authority where you hold developers responsible for the outcome rather than the activity.
Be transparent and open an honest dialogue with your hybrid team. Innovation in software development is nearly impossible if your team doesn’t feel valued, trusted, or motivated to work together.
Businesses are now building software development teams by hiring developers globally based on their skills rather than their proximity to the office. With companies returning to the office, adopting a hybrid work culture is the best possible solution for businesses focusing on digital transformation.
You can employ the strategies highlighted in this blog to ensure your software development team continues to work efficiently in a hybrid work environment.
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