Successful software development in a hybrid environment

The desire to work from home or anywhere has only increased as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. Employees cite a number of reasons why they prefer not to go to the office, including reducing commuting times, being more productive, caring for family members and exploring new places. People are becoming more comfortable with remote interactions and new technology tools that have emerged to support the work-from-anywhere trend. On average, employees said they want to work from home 2.5 days a week, according to a monthly survey of 5,000 Americanswhile 73% of employees are looking for hybrid work environments where they have flexibility in where and when they work.

The rapid spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant has also prevented employers from mandating a full-time return to the office. As a result, the new normal for today’s workforce will remain hybrid at best: a few days in the office and a few days at home. We are a workforce in transition. For many companies, this has put unnecessary pressure on their digital transformation initiatives.

One question remains: how can companies continue to innovate and execute their software development initiatives with their employees separated from their teams and offices? Here are some of my recommendations to help organizations continue their software development projects in today’s hybrid work environment:

Inclusive environments

Hybrid workforces require a highly inclusive environment. As a nearshore IT partner working with hundreds of customers remotely, we ensure that our teams have the same access to the managers, people and technology needed to succeed on projects and engage productively with customers. For example, we learned that the best way to be inclusive is to take an all-virtual or all-in-person approach to client meetings. It is also essential to train your managers so that they offer the same opportunities for advancement to employees, whether they are in the office or outside. From the leadership team to the grassroots, everyone needs to support employees, wherever they are. The same goes for oRecruitment of new employees and partners – a mostly virtual process over the past 18 months. Increasing online mentoring and onboarding platforms to connect employees and manage client projects as the workforce is hybrid is another important approach we’ve taken to ensure everyone feels included and engaged.

Collaboration and knowledge sharing

Employees were abruptly forced out of the office where they were accustomed to frequent impromptu meetings and lunch room conversations. For many, this change has had a negative impact on reflection, collaboration and knowledge sharing and therefore innovation. We give our teams the flexibility to use different technology tools to compensate for what they lack most in an office environment: regular and occasional human interactions. Our teams use a variety of communication tools for frequent check-ins to communicate with customers and colleagues. As a result, our employees say they are more engaged than ever with team members and customers. They do more impromptu chats and “instant” meetings with colleagues and clients as if they were in the office. We have also migrated to video conferencing as the communication channel of choice. Video conferencing tools increase engagement and allow team members to join virtual meetings anywhere from their favorite devices. The ability of teams to interact, share and collaborate wherever they are is essential to development state-of-the-art teams and software.

Trusting Cultures

According to the Harvard Business Review, 34% of employees felt that their supervisors “expressed a lack of confidence in their job skills,” and even more workers said they felt they needed to be constantly available to do their evidence. Feelings like these highlight a lack of trust, impacting developmentresults of the operation. Employers need to be confident that their employees are working diligently and consistently throughout the workday or whenever they can successfully complete the tasks at hand. For example, remote work allows individuals to work when they feel most productive. Organizations need to recognize individual productivity cycles and understand that different team members can be productive at different times of the day, including outside of normal business hours.

Being transparent, open, and open about expectations is key to building trust with employees. Successful digital transformations and innovative software development are only possible with the right team and the right people. From the customer’s point of view, these are the types of IT partners they want on their side. Technical aptitude and an environment where all employees feel valued, trusted, and motivated to do their best are key to developing effective digital solutions.

Employees have made it clear they don’t want to be back in the office full time. For many organizations, a return to normal focuses on developing a hybrid workforce that can work effectively with digital development partners. Creating the right environment and building relationships with employees is key to ensuring that software development projects can continue successfully in today’s new normal.

Gordon K. Morehouse