9 tips how to build a remote team that works well together

10 min. read

1.Have daily status syncs that everyone attends. They can be short, but it’s important for everyone to physically see everyone else every day.

2.Videoconference for everything. The setup needs to be flawless or people won’t use it.

3.Each site should have self-contained projects. It’s too hard to coordinate very closely across regions and only leads to frustration.

4.Be explicit about cultural differences. Learn about the different communication styles of different regions. That’s true even within countries that speak the language and between different regions of the United States.

5.Travel often. There’s something about face to face time that technology still can’t replicate. While you’re visiting, do fun things together. Don’t make it all about work.

6.Have side channels in Slack, Hangouts or whatever your organization uses that are explicitly for fun. Joking is the opposite of fighting. Make sure everyone is invited and the content stays PC- these things can turn toxic very easily.

7.If your schedule requires unpleasant meeting times, make them equally unpleasant for all sites, such as by rotating which site has to get up early. Similarly, travel should be roughly equally unpleasant. If one site is much smaller than others, it’s acceptable to make them take more of the unpleasantness. Just make sure they know that’s the deal when you hire them.

8.As the manager, actively maintain team culture across sites. Communicate your values and expectations through words and actions. Otherwise the teams will tend to drift apart.

9.When founding a new location, have a few strong people from the existing team live and work in the new location for a couple months. Ideally one or two would transfer permanently. This ensures effective training and transfer of team culture.

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