Remote team management: how we make it work | Venturus

Remote team management: how we make it work

Talking about working from home is already a bit old, right? After all, we have lived two whole years of a pandemic. However, we still face the challenges of working remotely. Around here, our Ventureiros and Ventureiras have had some very cool insight from the move to the remote management of our teams.

One of them is a Marina Tachibana, operations manager at Venturus. She has been with us for 14 years and 9 months. She is an amazing employee! So, we thought it was a good idea to invite her to share her top tips on enjoying remote work in the best possible way.

 

Who is Marina Tachibana at Venturus?

Marina began her career at the company as a senior mobile development analyst. At that time, she was doing a masters in Embedded Software at the Unicamp’s Electrical Engineering College.

In 2013, as team leader, mother to a little girl and pregnant with another, she became project coordinator. At this time, Marina had to let go of coding in order to focus her attention on supporting managers of other projects.

And the responsibilities only increased, including work trips to Minas Gerais (where other customers were located) once a week. But she managed to cope with everything.

It is no wonder Marina has accumulated the function of coordinating a web project in logistics, in addition to all Android projects. But, there was a plot twist: Marina eventually became a developer.

In 2016, with the departure of a project manager, she began to assume this role, splitting her time between management and coding. However, in 2018, Marina became a full time Development Manager and, currently, has a team of 45 people, working on 3 major projects. Incredible, right?

 

After intense years, how was the transition to working remotely?

To Marina, “this process was very abrupt… Before the pandemic, Venturus had a policy where employees were able to work from home once a week, but I didn’t. I liked to be in the office and, being a manager, I thought it was important to always be there. So much so that I didn’t even have high-speed Internet at home”.

On the third day of remote work, however, an internet technician was already at her house. “My band couldn’t handle so many meetings and my daughters watching Netflix at the same time.” the operations manager jokes.

On the other hand, it took her about two days to fully migrate to working remotely. It turns out that her teams work with embedded Android Software and this requires the use of smartphones.

This dependence was solved right off the bat: remote access to devices was established. The infrastructure was already in compliance, since the team was already used to coding in the client’s VPN.

Remote team management has its own challenges

Remote team management has its own challenges

 

Efficiency in remote management? We got it!

In the first month of the pandemic, I tried to be very close to the team in our daily meetings, in order to be aware of the impediments and solve them as soon as possible. After 2 months, with an explosion of meetings, I ended up creating an anonymous survey form and shared it with my teams to find out if the volume, frequency and duration of these meetings were good and adjust them according to the answers“, says Marina.

She also found it very important to do one-on-one meetings (between leader and employees) more frequently. And, even with the busy routine, Marina found a way to talk to at least one or two people a week, until she was able to talk to everyone.

“I take what is say in these meetings very seriously, in the sense of acting strongly and quickly on the action points addressed to me. I believe that 1:1 is not only to listen and connect with people, it is meant to solve issues. We have to generate results from conversations.

Marina also left some tips for one-on-one meetings to flow better:

  • disable all notifications and close the computer tabs so as not to be distracted;
  • schedule conversations for a time when your home is mostly empty and quiet, so there are no outside interruptions;
  • turn on your camera and respectfully ask the other person to turn it on as well;
  • share a little about yourself when it makes sense. Marina began to do this after a while and realized that this brought her closer to her team;
  • speak truthfully, but without pointing fingers. Feedback is a tool for development and not assign blame.

 

What were the main challenges and learnings?

According to Marina,

Even in face-to-face management, I usually say that, right now, the most valuable thing for companies is knowing what employees are thinking. Ideally, they should speak openly to their manager. I understand that this is not always possible. So, I sometimes use the artifice of anonymous research, as I mentioned earlier. Generally, I have interesting answers”.

Our People and Culture team also mapped our Ventureiros and Ventureiras to understand their current mental health and prepare our leaders to deal with these issues. In addition, we made dialog circles on several issues that were emerging during the pandemic.

Everyone who joins one of my teams, whether it be an intern or a super experienced analyst, always has a mentor. I often joke with the new arrivals that, if they already have a best friend, they now have another, their mentor. This person will be present until they understand the processes well“, says Marina.

Oh, and since no one lives — and should not — live only to work, it is great to put into practice some activities like:

  • avoid talking about work on Friday daily meetings;
  • play group games such as Gartic and “two truths and a lie”;
  • open space for people to share a meaningful photo of their life or even the view out of their window.

 

Final tip for managers not to lose their “human essence”

My tip is for managers to be themselves and remember that each person has a unique life story. So, we have no way of knowing for sure what is going on in the heads and in the daily lives of others. Therefore, I try to understand what is between the lines: the wording or facial expressions can indicate what they are really thinking but may not have the courage to speak. At this point, I have in some trick questions up my sleeve to give my team that little push“, concludes Marina.

Like this, remote management is much better, don’t you think? If you would like to know how our day to day is at Venturus, consider taking that peek at our opportunities!

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