Having team members working remotely from different world corners can bring significant challenges. It can quickly happen that remote (virtual) team members lack information about the company updates, changes and plans. As a consequence, they might miss a sense of belonging, which could lead to their dissatisfaction and demotivation. We (Webscope.io) have one remote team, right now consisting of 4 people in Dnipro (Ukraine), and the main office in Brno (Czech Republic). As a bonus, one of our colleagues has decided to become a digital nomad (and is currently enjoying the beauty and warm climate somewhere in Indonesia).
All in all, we understand the remote team woes and see that it's not a piece of cake to keep the entire company in sync. However, we try our best to do so and learn from our mistakes at the same time. Here are a couple of things that we have implemented to make the remote team cooperation smoother. Hopefully they will help you keep your remote teammates in sync with the company.
Adapt Your Language
If you open a branch in a foreign country, where you hire locals, make sure that you adapt your internal communication to this change. Before doing so, choose what language you will use as the main one within the company. Apply the style to the entire company communication - this means not only communication channels (e.g. Slack, Microsoft Teams, Hangouts), but also to documents, presentations, or else. Nothing is worse than if your remote team members don't understand what's written or said, and have to ask for a translation. This barrier doesn't help keep in sync your entire company and what's more! It might also lead to some unintentional team complications.
Promote Written Communication
Written communication is essential. Make sure that if something is discussed or decided in one (head) office that the remote teammates are also informed about that. The way of doing so depends on what communication, team management or collaboration tools you mainly use.
It gets even more complicated when your remote team works in a different time zone. In this place, asynchronous communication is inevitable. Double-check that everything that your remote team members need to do their work is accessible. If remote teammates find out that they don't have access to a tool/document/project they should have, they have to wait for their colleagues from the main office to get access. This is unproductive and obviously a waste of time.
Stay in Regular Contact with Your Remote Team
Working with remote team members also means that you should keep regular contact with the remote folks to create mutual feelings of trust and bonding. Besides regular written communication, you will probably hold some calls, meetings, company updates, or else. To do so, make sure that all offices have a reliable internet connection, good microphones, video cameras, which are always ready for a call. You don't want to spend precious minutes establishing the equipment.
Last but not least, gather your entire company at least once a year. If team members hold conversations face-to-face, it undoubtedly contributes to creating a stronger relationship. When you meet your remote teammates in person, you can better connect their face to the person you are writing to regularly. It's great to organize a team-building together and have a short company update to share the most important news and changes. These interactive activities will definitely promote team spirit, trust and bonding within the company.
We're still learning and improving the way we work with our remote folks. We know there's still much to do, but at the same time, we feel that we are on the right track. The need to keep in sync the entire company (not only remote teammates) along with some additional challenges have led us to develop Scrumie. Read more about the challenges we were facing in this article.
We are also very curious about how you keep your remote team in sync with the rest of the company. Do you have any tips & tricks?