Why Remote Software Teams Are More Productive

Gimena Aguerreberry
July 17, 2021

The future of work is remote, and in no industry is this truer than in programming and software development.

A globalized workforce allows companies to harness the skills of programmers from around the world, saving time and money in the process. Many companies, including Stripe, ESPN, have capitalized on working with top developers no matter where they live.

The increased acceptance of remote versus co-located teams and the availability of effective tools that enable it are among the most significant trends affecting technology industry employment today. The effect of these changes ranges from changes to the lifestyles of individual workers to potential disruption in the global economy.

As with most things in business, productivity and cost are the dominant factors when choosing between remote and co-located workplaces.

Why remote workers are more productive

Studies repeatedly prove that remote employees get more done. They perform better, get work done faster, and take less sick time.

Employees also love remote work. Remote teams are happier, and people who regularly work from home report higher job satisfaction. That leads to higher engagement and better productivity.

1. Remote teams perform better

One of the most commonly cited studies on remote worker performance was conducted by Stanford University professor Nicholas Bloom and other scholars. The 9-month study showed a 13% performance increase.

One survey found 77% of workers were more productive when working remotely; 30% of those surveyed reported that they "more in less time than when they worked in-house."

Remote workers confirm this themselves, with 76% claiming that they’re more productive when working remotely because they experience fewer distractions, and 62% attributing their productivity to a less noisy work environment.

2. Gain access to top talent everywhere

When a hiring manager recruits from a pool of candidates in an immediate geographic area, their ability to hire the best developer is limited.

Expanding your software team to a global pool of applicants gives your company the best possible fit for the project. According to Hackerrank’s 2019 Developer Skills Report, "41% of employers say that talent shortage is an issue they face when hiring developers."

Recruiting around the world allows a company to bring in an engineer from Silicon Valley to work with a software developer from Latin America.

3. Remote teams take less sick leave

While working from home, employees take fewer breaks. They also stay healthier and take less sick leave. Most importantly, working remotely allows people to take better care of themselves. They can sleep a little later and adjust their work schedule to allow time for healthy activities.

In fact, 89% of employees believe that a flexible job would help them take better care of themselves, and 77% think it would help them be healthier in general by allowing them to eat better or exercise more.

4. Remote teams log more hours

Gallup’s study, State of the American Workplace, found that remote employees log four extra hours every week. This was confirmed in a study of AT&T workers who worked five hours more per week when working from home.

Another survey calculated that remote workers put in an extra 1.4 days more every month compared to office workers.

Because of the flexibility that working from a distance allows, employees are also more likely to spread their work throughout the day in different ways. They’re more likely to work before and after business hours.

5. Increase employee morale and retention

Research firm Gartner found that organizations that support a ‘choose-your-own-work-style’ culture boost employee retention rates by more than 10%. Millennials value flexibility in their career, and remote work is one way to deliver that promise.

Allowing your employees to determine when and where they work enforces self-motivation and engagement with your teams’ work. Remote work is becoming the norm, rather than the exception. Hiring a remote software team future-proofs your IT department.

Ways To Boost Remote Team Productivity

If your organization has made the decision to shift to a remote working environment, you need to know the ways by which you can increase productivity in your remote team.

1. Always Maintain Open Communication Lines

Maintaining open, regular communications lines with remote teams helps keep motivation high, resulting in a better quality of work and work output. Make sure that you have a variety of communication platforms, once these communications are in place, maintain contact with your remote teams on a regular and consistent basis to supervise and give assistance to ensure quality work output

You should also be open to constructive feedback if this means faster and more efficient project completion.

2. Build a culture of accountability, transparency, and trust in your organization

The work of your remote teams as well as those physically present in your offices should be aligned toward the achievement of your company’s vision and goals. Simply put, everyone should be moving and working in the same direction.

3. Establish and encourage collaboration between local and remote teams

All companies should have Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), guidelines, and frameworks in place that promote and encourage collaboration between local and remote teams. With these high standards, greater efficiency and higher quality work outputs can be expected.

4. Perform regular, scheduled check-ins

Many remote teams value the need for regular, scheduled check-ins by their employers. They need guidance and reassurance that any work that they produce is not veering away from the company’s goals. If so, adjustments can be made for realignment.

Remote teams can also report if they are having problems or challenges with the work. They can also be kept updated on any changes or important events that are taking place within the company.

5. Strengthen company culture

Strong company culture can be created when you demonstrate how much you value your local and remote team members' contributions and work efforts. Offer feedback, suggestions, and advice on how they can produce better quality work.

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"Why Remote Software Teams Are More Productive" by Gimena Aguerreberry is licensed under CC BY SA. Source code examples are licensed under MIT.

Photo by Surface

Categorized under software development.