Vasyl Soloshchuk
CEO at INSART
2 April 2020

How to Prevent Loss of CTO Efficiency Working Remotely

Working during the quarantine is a challenge for both leaders and teams. The coronavirus crisis came all of a sudden, and now we have no choice but to make remote working culture part of the company’s culture. In this article, find the essentials to sustain your efficiency at levels similar to those in the pre-crisis era.

How to stay efficient: CTOs’ guide

CTOs, as any other type of management role, spend the day in multichannel activities. That’s why the transition to fully remote collaboration is not as painful for them compared to engineers, who have never worked remotely before. Because CTOs must engage in multiple endeavors, it’s necessary for them to concisely distribute their time between the roles and keep the roles separate. Miguel Zakharia, CTO of AssetBook, who is involved in coding on his project, chooses one day or two per week for management tasks and spends the rest of the time for coding. He also says it’s important to remove distractions while working and suggests using planning to manage the roles efficiently:

I split up my week where there’s a couple of days for management and administration type of roles and then the rest of the time for building, coding.

One important part of CTOs’ role is to distribute jobs and tasks across team members. For CTOs, delegating is not something unusual. Still, the switch to remote work can make it a bit more difficult to delegate tasks, because you don’t interact with the teammates in the same way. They may struggle with productivity issues, and having additional tasks may add to their stress levels. To combat this, Dirk Pearson, chief support officer at Advyzon, suggests delegating them tasks that will help them grow professionally, keeping in mind they are juggling many responsibilities outside of those of their day-to-day job. On the one hand, this makes them more motivated and empowered; on the other hand, you gain essential time to complete tasks.

It’s not only finding time for the business. It’s also finding time to manage our human capital and making sure everybody knows that they’re appreciated and has their challenges being heard. Trying to get everybody to pull in the same direction.

And, also, we cannot avoid mentioning priorities here. Sticking to a plan composed beforehand is very useful, but only when the plan follows your priority list. Miguel Zakharia also insists on minimizing low priority tasks and giving more attention to the things that matter. As you might know, 80 percent of value is driven by 20 percent of work; going remote is time to reduce everything unnecessary and optimize costs:

“I’m not wondering what I’m working on today and trying to minimize task switching because that gets expensive for me.

For example, to reduce time working remotely, try to set limits videoconferencing and keep to them. Because all communication is now channeled online, you will likely see the results rather quickly.

More efficiency saving tips from your fellow CTO in Fintech can be found in article.

How to keep engineers productive while WFH

Many CTOs are afraid that chaos will occur outside the office and no one will work. How can you guarantee that an employee will not become a bottleneck when switching online?

Ensure employees know the basics. One of the possible solutions stems from interviewing for junior positions. Juniors have no practical experience but must understand what they will do. Briefly describe imaginary situations and listen carefully to their thought flow. For example, “Where does your remote working day begin?” If there is no mention of planning work or communicating with colleagues, you should start worrying. Or you could ask, “Imagine your internet connection fails. What will you do?” The only correct answer to this question is, “That won’t happen because there will always be a spare communication channel.” If you hear a different answer, you’re taking responsibility for helping the person make such a channel appear.