Remote Working: Mythbusting With the Top Remote Dev Teams

Photo by Jason Strull on Unsplash

The post-COVID workforce expects a minimum of hybrid working between an office and home, and plenty of employers have adjusted to this new normal. But there is still a hesitancy when it comes to moving to a fully remote working model. This scepticism is unfounded, especially considering the very real benefits that remote working can bring to a team of developers. 

There are a lot of myths around remote work that are being busted daily by very successful tech companies. It’s time to look at the reality; that remote work can lead to great developer teams if provided with the right tools, approach and frameworks. 

Myth 1: It’s difficult to recruit the best developers for remote teams 

Recruiting is a struggle at the best of times, and you might think adding remote recruitment into the mix would make things more difficult. But the fact is that in a post-COVID world more potential employees are expecting a remote option to be available for roles, and it only makes sense to recruit for these remotely, too.

Remote recruitment is firmly becoming an accepted normal; a recent survey of 140 recruiters revealed that 65% extended offers without ever meeting the applicant. And with fully remote tech companies like Gitlab reporting over 3000 job applications per week, jobseekers clearly aren’t put off by the process, either. 

In fact, opening up remote working options and recruiting remotely can make the process more inclusive, wide ranging and ultimately more successful for the company. Aleksandar Đokić of Toggl – the productivity software run by a fully remote team – thinks this is especially true for developer teams, reflecting that having a larger talent pool “offers great possibilities for creating amazing teams and awesome apps”.

Photo by Good Faces on Unsplash

Myth 2: Remote developer teams are hard to manage 

If you’re worrying about tea and bathroom breaks, you might not be managing your remote team in the most efficient way. There may be specific situations that call for a degree of micromanagement, but if that defines your approach, you’ll inevitably struggle with a remote team. 

Developers – most of them anyway – are adults; worrying about your team’s time management in a remote setting and then forcing them to report on their comings and goings is not only counter-productive, but also a self-fulfilling prophecy. Software automation experts Zapier take a similar stance, believing that micromanaging remote teams is “toxic and counterproductive—you’re basically admitting that you don’t trust your people to get things done otherwise.” With over 300 employees working remotely in 28 countries, we’ll defer to them as experts.

There’s plenty of options to get the oversight you actually need to help your remote team achieve their software delivery goals. At Adadot we provide data pulled directly from integrated software including Gitlab and Jira, with human-based metrics to help mitigate burnout and make sure you’re getting sustainable development success out of your remote team.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Myth 3: Remote companies don’t grow as fast

Fully remote working may have once been indicative of an early-stage startup, but if you still think that’s the case then Gitlab would like a word. This online DevOps giant has grown exponentially having adopted a remote working policy from the get-go, boasting over 1,500 team members in over 65 countries. 

Rather than seeing remote work as an obstacle to growth, Gitlab believes the remote model offers more benefits than on-site, including focusing solely on “attracting the right talent and onboarding them appropriately” thanks to a culture of strong documentation and a larger talent pool to recruit from. “It’s not just that [all-remote] scales,” says founder Sid Sijbrandij. “It scales way better.”

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Myth 4: Remote dev teams are less productive:

Back to Gitlab to help dispel this one, with their 2021 Remote Work Report. 3900 remote workers worldwide were surveyed to expose the impact working fully distributed had on work outcomes. The following outcomes were cited as top reasons employers chose to stick with a remote work model: 

  • Increased productivity: 42% 
  • Increased efficiency: 38%
  • A reduction in bureaucracy and politics: 24%
  • Improved documentation and process: 20%

With the right management approach, tracking tools that measure the DORA metrics, and a focus on sustainable success, there’s no reason that productivity has to do anything but grow thanks to a remote environment. Find out more about how we help you measure developer productivity [here].

Myth 5: Communication and Culture suffers 

  • Culture

Who says remote businesses can’t develop their own company culture? Ian Tien, the CEO of open source collaboration software Mattermost certainly doesn’t. Despite running a fully remote team since its inception, the company still boasts a culture-first working environment, which Tien attributes partly to consistent documentation. “Culture is stronger when everything is written down,he says, “because everyone who joins the company has the same baseline.” Incidentally the DORA State of DevOps Report 2021 highlighted high quality documentation as an indicator of an Elite development team.

  • Communication

Elements of the remote work model that some may see as obstacles to communication are in fact being turned into new opportunities. Hubstaff is a time tracker software built around remote teams, and have themselves always been a fully distributed workforce. CTO Jared Brown believes that potential delays between a question being asked and an answer being given between remote workers can be turned into a superpower rather than a roadblock. “This leads to team members doing a better job of finding their own answers,” he says, continuing that remote workers are “more detailed and explicit when asking their questions” in order to get a clear answer without need for further clarification. 

Brown also highlights that remote working takes away a lot of the opportunity for interruptions during focused time, especially important for developers who need a few hours to get into the rhythm of coding. “In an office environment,” he says, “it is all too easy to run over and interrupt someone with a question and it’s the number one reason offices are so unproductive.”  

Photo by Flipsnack on Unsplash

Remote working and Adadot

At Adadot we’ve created the fitness tracker for work. From monitoring and prioritizing focused coding time to tracking software delivery performance alongside the DORA framework, we’ve got all the tools and wellbeing data you need to ensure your remote development team are turning in an elite performance that is sustainable, successful and micromanagement free!

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