Remote work replaced the traditional 8-hour office routine. After the global pandemic, the business landscape underwent a profound transformation. Virtually overnight, many companies adapted to remote work and proved that the workforce could seamlessly operate from home offices and kitchen tables alike.

While many tech companies have successfully navigated this transition, maintaining and fostering remote teams in the long run is the real challenge. As our world becomes more interconnected, managing teams scattered across different countries and time zones demands unique skills and strategies.

Communication is a cornerstone of effective team management, and this is especially true for remote teams. Mad Devs has vast experience in managing remote developers, and we know how to do it successfully. In this article, we dive into managing remote teams in the tech industry and sustain collaboration.

What are communication challenges in remote teams

It’s obvious that communication gets more complicated when people do not share the same office and, what’s more, timezone. Indeed, the time difference is a major concern for companies working with remote developers. The other serious concerns include misunderstanding and lack of engagement.

Challenge 1: Time difference

First communication challenge in renote teams - time difference

Hiring engineers worldwide means they can be hours ahead or behind your time. For example, a developer in Silicon Valley is wrapping up their day just as their teammate in Bangkok is waking up to start theirs. Sharp time differences are common in remote teams, making collaboration and synchronous communication difficult (or sometimes impossible). For example, meetings are scheduled at inconvenient times, real-time troubleshooting becomes a game of late-night emails, and important updates can be lost.

How Mad Devs solved it

At Mad Devs, our remote developers' teams' workflow is based on asynchronous communication.

We empower them with tools like detailed daily reports, project management platforms, and asynchronous code reviews. This allows them to work on their own schedules while keeping everyone informed and on the same page, even across time zones. For example, Google Calendar ensures meetings are scheduled with time zone differences in mind, and we never schedule calls at inconvenient hours.

Why is asynchronous communication the most effective and convenient way to interact with remote or distributed teams? Let’s figure out what is so great about it.

Why asynchronous communication

While synchronous communication means interacting in real-time, asynchronous communication assumes that people exchange information, sticking to their own schedules and without the need to be available at the same time.

It’s no surprise that synchronous communication becomes an issue when you work with remote teams that are based across different time zones. In this case, switching to asynchronous communication can be the most sensible solution, and here are the reasons why:

  • Asynchronous communication promotes time management and performance
    First of all, asynchronous communication minimizes distractions. While communicating asynchronously, you don’t have to respond straight away, distracting yourself from your current task. Instead, you can prioritize tasks, take your time, and give an answer in order of priority. This enables effective time management and, consequently, increases productivity.
  • Asynchronous communication allows for a thoughtful approach
    Real-time communication requires immediate responses, causing much stress that comes with distraction. When interacting out of sync, you have enough time to think things over and focus on the information you are asked for. As a result, you can provide a well-thought-out answer, covering every possible detail.
  • Asynchronous communication is mindful of time difference
    Getting a reply or feedback may take hours in asynchronous communication, so it’s a perfect choice for working with people in different time zones. You just keep your remote teams’ time zones in mind and do not disturb them during their non-working hours. To make the best use of your time, you can ask some questions well in advance or switch from one task to another while waiting for the answer.
  • Asynchronous communication contributes to transparency and visibility
    Since asynchronous communication takes place in the form of written text or recorded audio and video, it ensures that everything is fixed. In other words, you have all the information documented and can always refer to it when needed. You can also share the data granting access to the entire team or the people concerned.
3 tips to use asynchronous communication smartly

Asynchronous communication can be a helping hand for companies that work with remote or distributed development teams. However, this is not a cure-all solution. In some cases, real-time interaction is a must for a project, so the more options you use, the more collaborative and effective team you can build. As a big family with a large staff of remote developers, Mad Devs has long adopted the principles of asynchronous communication.

Here are our hands-on tips on how to use it smartly:

1. As the question, so the answer

The “hey, what’s up” questions are time-eaters that make no sense. Conversely, well-articulated questions can save plenty of time. So be explicit, avoid ambiguity, and say what exactly you need, how it should be done, by what time, and so on. Adding relevant links or attaching files will also help.

2. Reduce self-distraction

The risk of getting distracted is much higher for remote teams, especially those working from home. The idea is to increase focus and concentration by eliminating possible triggers. Turning off or muting notifications on all your devices is a proven method.

3. Stay tuned

Being asynchronous doesn’t mean falling out of sync completely. It’s still important to stay in the loop and be available for urgent communication so that the rest of the team can get in touch with you when absolutely necessary. It’s good practice to check relevant communication channels several times a day or forewarn about your unavailability and its time limits.


Challenge 2: Misunderstandings

Second communication challenge in renote teams - misunderstanding

Communication is crucial for remote developers, but micro context and cultural differences can easily lead to project delays, rework, frustration, and, eventually, burnout.

How we overcome this challenge

Here is how Mad Devs handles remote team communication:

  •  We use shared communication channels for instant messaging (Slack), and real-time interactions in Discord to clarify things on the fly.
  • We set up regular 1-1 sync meetings with PMs and embrace stand-ups and worklogs to give updates, exchange milestones, and prevent burnout.
  • We actively engage our remote developers in all aspects of the company life. They're invited to participate in Q&A sessions with leadership and company events, like summer or winter team buildings. This fosters a sense of community and belonging, ensuring they feel like they have a voice and a stake in the company's success.
  • Our C-suite even holds regular "Ask Me Anything" sessions where developers can ask any question openly or anonymously and receive live answers. This transparency breaks down barriers and builds a culture of trust, empowering our remote team.
  • We arrange project team retrospective meetings and feedback sessions to share opinions and ideas as well as positive and negative experiences.
  • We advocate the principles of open feedback and telling it like it is. We at Mad Devs encourage developers to speak their minds and break bad news fearlessly. Both misunderstanding and miscommunication vanish once a developer starts speaking without disguise.
  • Moreover, we have revealed in detail all the processes and expectations of developers in Engineering handbook.

Challenge 3: Lack of engagement

Third communication challenge in renote teams - lack of engagement

Remote work can sometimes feel like being stranded on an island. And there are two main issues with it. First, employees are becoming too specialized in their projects. This makes it difficult for them to move to other projects or contribute to the company's overall goals.

And second, new employees are not getting the full picture of the company's opportunities. They may be focused on their specific project and not realize that there are other areas where they could contribute.

How we solved it

At Mad Devs, we believe that engaged teams are productive teams. By going beyond just work and fostering a culture of inclusion, transparency, and feedback, we empower our remote developers to thrive. The most successful of our practice is communities.

Communities are groups of employees with shared interests or expertise. They can be formed around a variety of topics. We have Frontend, ML, PM, DevOps, Python, Crypto, Golang communities, and Trading Club, for now. Communities can play a valuable role in the workplace, and it is not considered unpaid overtime work. The company has a budget for the Community’s hours since it profits significantly from objectives and tasks.

Benefits of professional communities in company

Professional communities within an organization offer a wealth of benefits. Here are some key reasons why we decided to integrate this practice into our company:

  • Provide professional growth and development opportunities for community members.
  • Support, refine, and develop the community's professional specialization.
  • Support the company on matters related to the community's professional specialization.
  • Contribute to the achievement of the company's strategic goals.
  • Develop common professional views and practices for all community members.
  • Provide employment for employees who are not fully engaged in commercial projects.

What our employees do in communities:

  • Assist their members in solving work problems, professional growth, and development.
  • Organize the exchange of professional experience and the dissemination of best practices.
  • Fulfill incoming internal requests from the company.
  • Organize presentations, events, workshops, and other activities both inside and outside the company.
  • Provide feedback on the characteristics and results of the work of community members.
  • Organize transparent community work processes.
  • Develop professional work standards.
  • Engage employees in community activities.

Communities can be a valuable asset to any company to develop common professional views and practices.

5 tips to create a strong professional community in the organization
1. Identify a clear purpose and goals

What do you want the community to achieve? What problems will it solve? Defining a clear purpose will help guide the development and activities of the community.

2. Integrate with the organization

Align the community's goals with the organization's overall goals and ensure it receives appropriate support and resources.

3. Focus on specific areas of interest

Communities should be centered around shared interests, such as a specific technology, industry, or function. It helps attract and retain members who are passionate about the topic.

4. Encourage active participation

Make sure there are opportunities for all members to participate in discussions, share their expertise, and contribute to the community. This can be done through regular meetings, workshops, online forums, and other activities.

5. Recognize and reward contributions

Celebrate the achievements of community members and recognize their contributions. It is the best way to keep them engaged and motivated.

To wrap up 

Managing developers across the globe isn't a walk in the park. Time zones, communication gaps, and isolation can sabotage even the most skilled team. This article explores Mad Devs' proven strategies, from tackling time zone differences to mastering asynchronous communication. By implementing these tips, you can build a thriving remote team and unlock their full potential.

If you want to build transparent processes and implement practices to increase team productivity, our expert can help you. Contact us now for a free consultation.

Key takeaways

There are several important rules that can help to interact with remote developers teams effectively. They can help meet the challenges caused by this type of cooperation, such as time differences, lack of understanding and engagement. Among these rules are:

  • promoting openness and transparency
  • using diverse communication channels and tools
  • arranging regular meetings 
  • respecting personal time
  • sharing knowledge

Before describing these rules in more detail, it is first essential to emphasize the problems that arise when working remotely.


What are the key challenges faced by remote development teams?

Why is asynchronous communication crucial for remote teams?

How can companies improve communication in their remote developers teams?

Explore the chapters