COVID-19 and Small Business Productivity

4 Tips to Manage Newly-Remote Data Analytics Teams

Written by Andrej Kovačević

Big businesses across all industries are embracing a new wave of big data and analytics solutions. The benefits of enhanced efficiency without the compromise of  quality  to products and services is huge operational gain.

Initially, many small businesses were unwilling to pay for these pricey solutions. Without the resources to develop customised solutions from the ground up, they had to sit and wait for off-the-shelf solutions to make it to market.

The small business big data adoption rate jumped by 42% between 2015 and 2018. COVID-19 has now forced businesses to transition to a Work From Home (WFH) model. Managing teams remotely isn’t easy and that’s where big data solutions come in handy.

Keep reading for four tips for small businesses to manage their newly-remote data analytics teams.

Over-communicate by design

Data Analytics teams work on complex projects with many moving parts and require crystal-clear communications.

Therefore small business managers should insist on a policy of over-communication with their data teams, at least while everyone adjusts to the new workflow. Begin with a daily virtual stand-up at a time that’s convenient for all attendees. If team members are working in different time zones, an asynchronous meeting is another great option. After each meeting, salient points discussed should be documented for later reference.

Outside of the stand-ups, team members should also have mandatory office hours when they can be reached by the rest of the team. This will minimise interruptions and guarantee that nobody will be out of touch for long.

Become goals-oriented

Managers judge their team’s performance based on various productivity metrics. This is easier to do in an office, when everyone’s in the same place and their daily work is visible. The opposite holds true for remote teams. Your team members will have different home office set-ups which might look nothing like your office space.

At home, they may contend with interruptions and family obligations that force them to break up their work hours. It may turn out that they’re more productive during the evening once their kids are asleep. Consider abandoning your usual productivity metrics when managing a remote data team. The best way to measure success is by tracking deliverables and establishing team-accessible task lists that allow workers to display their progress.

Set aside team-building time

Data analysts may feel isolated when working from home. This can also reduce the efficacy of their teamwork, driving down productivity.

To maintain morale and  ensure every member of the team stays on the same page, set aside time every week for virtual team-building activities. You could play word games or hold a virtual after-work cocktail hour. Whatever the activity, the important thing is to make sure it’s fun and completely unrelated to work. Letting your team members wind-down and grow closer as a group is an essential component of remote team success.

Encourage professional development

You need to stay on top of big data and analytics developments because it is a fast-moving and constantly evolving technology field.  You also need to make time for team building activities even when your team is on WFH.

Any progress you may have made in your data operations can turn to stagnation without some additional effort in this area. Small businesses should take advantage of WFH and take steps to provide online training and growth opportunities for data team members. The key to doing it right is flexibility. Providing subsidies for industry-related online coursework is a good place to start. With even a basic reimbursement program in place, small businesses can end up with Master’s level data analysts on their team, providing a significant advantage over the competition.

Embrace the change

Make these small adjustments and investments in big data and analytics and your bottom line will benefit. When managed correctly, an all-remote data analytics team can and should be just as effective as an office-based team. The trick is to embrace the change and provide team members with the right framework and support to succeed.


“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."

About the author

Andrej Kovačević

Andrej Kovačević is the head of production at Melbourne based, independent digital agency, Amebae Online. Andrej's favourite topics to read and write about include marketing and the ever-changing landscape of Fintech.