6 Ways to Ensure Your Remote Software Developers Stay Productive

Tech companies are facing an important question: Should they go fully remote or keep their offices? If you ask software developers, they may suggest the former is better than the latter.

According to the 2022 State of Remote Engineering Report, 75 percent of developers want to work remotely at least three days per week. Meanwhile, more than 60 percent of developers surveyed are already fully remote.

With the rise of remote tech workers comes the introduction of new challenges. So how can you ensure that your team stays productive? These tips can keep your software developers on track.

6 Tips to Keep Your Remote Software Developers Productive

1. Measure the right metrics.

You want to measure your software developers’ productivity, but are you measuring the right metrics? Many employers mistakenly use productivity and efficiency interchangeably. Unfortunately, you cannot afford to only measure one or the other. Productivity takes into account the amount of work produced. Efficiency accounts for the number of resources used to create the output. 

Suppose you’re only encouraging a productive staff. In that case, you may end up with unusable lines of code because you only told your software developers to care about how much they’re doing rather than the quality of what they produce. Although you may want a productive staff, you also need an efficient one. 

You have deadlines to meet, which is why you may want your team to move quickly toward their goals, but if they’re moving so quickly that they need to return to their code later to fix their mistakes, you’re wasting time and resources. When you measure your remote software developers’ success, be sure you’re looking at the big picture. One of your software developers may be the most productive, but another may be more efficient.

2. Recognize their work.

When it comes to remote work, employees may be able to work more autonomously, which means many forms of in-office interaction may go by the wayside, including recognition. 

Offering praise to your software developers is essential to keeping them engaged. It also can make someone more receptive to feedback, which is vital to boosting productivity. In addition, studies frequently cite praise as a performance motivator, and companies where recognition is often lacking have a higher turnover rate. 

To encourage productivity through praise, ensure you diversify how your employees receive recognition within the bounds of the software developers’ comfort. For example, some people enjoy public recognition, while others find it uncomfortable. 

If you want to shout out a software developer at a general scrum meeting, check with them first to ask if they’re comfortable with being praised in front of the group. You should also look for other ways to encourage praise throughout your team. 

Managers can support peer-to-peer recognition by asking team members to hold their one-on-ones, starting with praise at the top of every meeting. The manager can also provide individualized credit through their one-on-ones with their team.

3. Offer remote development opportunities.

Many people, particularly the best workers, believe learning never ends. If you’ve built a team of self-motivators, you must ensure you’re keeping up with where they envision their career. 

Many employees look for growth opportunities within their own company, but if they don’t see those opportunities present, they may start looking elsewhere. To motivate your software developers, be sure they have chances to continue their growth and career development. 

Boost productivity by uplifting your employees’ skill set. Doing so may lower your turnover rate, as one Indeed study found that 32 percent of tech workers said self-improvement was the most valued characteristic of their job. Your teams can work on professional development virtually. Plan opportunities to help your software developers advance, and you may meet a happier, more productive team.

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4. Organize a regular time to connect.

Isolation remains one of the most significant issues of remote work. Software developers may enjoy the added autonomy of not working in an office, but they miss the regular interaction that used to occur at work. Meetings can be unnecessary sometimes, but they can also be beneficial. 

But diversifying your meetings may help you keep your team more engaged. Encourage your software developers to set up their own meetings and one-on-ones. The sessions don’t always have to be work-related. 

They can simply be camaraderie-building opportunities. If your company uses Slack or another messaging app, for instance, your team can download an integration that will match them with someone at random for a virtual coffee meet-up. You should also ensure managers have regular one-on-ones scheduled for each software developer. A weekly scrum meeting can be another beneficial session as it keeps your team updated on what each other is doing.

5. Utilize goal-tracking tools.

Some companies that have gone remote use time-tracking tools, but the tech world has mixed opinions on how worthwhile this productivity measurement is. Of course, anyone can press a button and start the clock, but how do you know that the measured time is productive? 

To keep your team on track, utilize goal-tracking tools instead. With these tools, each team member can share where they are in their goals, giving managers and colleagues alike insight into how far along they are in their processes. Your team can set more realistic deadlines and stick to them through goal-tracking tools. 

Tracking goals instead of time can make your software developers feel like you gave them the independence to do their work on their own time. However, since the Indeed study of tech workers also found that variable work hours are the most critical parts of a flexible workplace, software developers may respond better to goal tracking than time tracking. 

Remote workers are embracing a working world where they can do their job at their own pace and on their own time. As long as your developers meet their goals, giving them some free rein on how they accomplish them may be a good way to motivate them.

6. Keep your software developers from burnout.

Burnout can happen both in the office and when employees work remotely, but when teams work from home, the line between work and home becomes blurred. After the rise of remote work, the idea of the 9-to-5 started to fade. Although many employees enjoy the freedom of working on their schedule, they’re also finding that they’re having a harder time getting off the clock once they’re on it. That inability to turn off work mode is leading to work-from-home burnout.

Make sure your software developers are taking care of their mental health. Offering health benefits may be one way to help, but it’s also good to keep track of how much they’re working. For example, if an employee hasn’t taken a day off in several months, check-in and remind them that working from home doesn’t mean working when you’re sick or burned out. 

And if you see that someone is often still online late at night, organize a meeting with them and help them set up a more sustainable schedule.

Support Your Remote Software Developers So They Stay Productive

When software developers go remote, they may enjoy increased autonomy. But many aspects of in-office life shouldn’t fall by the wayside. Interpersonal communication should be prioritized, as well as recognition of work and effort and opportunities for career advancement. When you manage remote software developers, focus on keeping their health and their morale boosted.

Soon enough, you’ll find you have a team of more productive and efficient workers.

This was a guest blog. Please review our guest blog disclaimer.

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About the Author: Kris Hughes

Kris Hughes, Contributor at Kanban Zone
Kris Hughes is the Founder of brand strategy, ghostwriting and fractional marketing agency Zanate Ventures, based in Austin, Texas. Kris has over a decade of experience in content strategy, digital publishing, editorial management and SaaS content marketing which he applies to help his solopreneur clients to optimize their digital presence to transform their businesses. To learn more about how he works, check out the Zanate Ventures website at zanateventures.com.