10 tips to get the best out of your distributed team
Working in distributed teams is wide spread around the planet. It is a great way to unify global talent in one team. However, it is not easy to make people from different countries, languages, cultures and time zones cooperate.
Here are 10 tips to help you.
- Communicate more: Working face-to-face, allows us to speak in the language of gestures as well, while we don’t have the same possibility in a distributed team. So, ask as many questions as needed to understand your colleagues completely. This will help you run from misunderstandings. Organise daily scrums and weekly meetings so that everyone is aware of what’s going on.
- Keep your colleagues up-to-date: It may be challenging to answer all the emails or communicate on Skype, etc., but you must understand that your colleagues across the ocean are working while you have already left the office. Having an online “room”, where everyone updates information about the task done or to-be done can help the team greatly.
- Same rules for everyone: Though not working in the same office, it is important to understand, that you are all one team and your interests meet. To make everyone feel working in the same company, it is important to have the same rules for every worker from every country.
- Have frequent online meetings: This may be challenging as workers live in different time zones, but it will only benefit you. Not only it will make the feel of working together, but also it will help you prevent misunderstandings. Furthermore, discussing the task all together will help to understand it better. Everyone will know his/her role and the work will be done more efficiently.
- Know your colleagues: Though you may be working in a big team and knowing everyone in person may sound really hard, but it’s worth trying. Knowing your colleagues in person will help you understand their point of view better. Also, try to know at least some basic thing about their culture and country. It will help you communicate easier and why not become a more interesting person to talk with.
- Publishing decisions made somewhere, where the entire team can see it: Surely there are things, that need to be informed to certain people only, but there are also things that everyone needs to know. Sending messages to each employee or team is not effective. Not only it would take much time, but also it may not get as much attention as needed. So make them visible for everyone. Make announcements. This will make employees take the changes and decisions made more serious.
- Expectations from each employee: Don’t expect from a team, expect from each employee. It is a good idea to assign tasks by mentioning names. This will make it clear to everyone who is responsible for what. Everyone should know what and when to do.
- Task and results based approach: Hours being online are not tasks being done. It is a better idea to focus on tasks and results. In this way, you will avoid wasted hours and deadlines not met.
- Organise annual retreats: Gathering everyone together is a great idea. This will make the feeling that you all are one team. You can have one big real meeting, discuss your goals and expectations for the year, communicate with colleagues and come to know each other better. Another good option is gathering once in a time with employees working on the same project. This is easier to organize, but, in the meantime, the company will profit a lot. Meeting in real-life will positively influence the teamwork throughout the whole year.
- Usage of remote collaboration tools: The collaboration tool is your office. Working as a distributed team, it is very important to choose the right tool, convenient for everyone. Being isolated physically, the tool should help each employee feel comfortable and connected.
Tools like Slack for Company Chat, Asana for Task management, HighRise for Sales and Trello for Kanban or Graphical.IO which is a combination of the above would be a must to make this all come together.