Thursday, September 29, 2016

The One Important Thing a Remote Team Should Do
I have been working with a remote team / company since 2009.

I am still with the same people except the company has grown significantly since then.

After thousands of work hours, hundreds of different locations, gallons and gallons of coffee, multiple computers and Skype calls, I believe I can clearly determine the one important thing a remote team should do to keep it healthy.

Over communicate.

Yes, the word "over" should be there. You need to go beyond the usual virtual text chat.

Working in a remote company is obviously way too different than working in an office.

In an office, you can just talk to any one at any minute of the day. You just sit side by side. You can crack jokes anytime and just stay in the water cooler with your colleagues if you want.

You won't experience that in a remote team.

You still need to schedule chats, meetings, Skype calls and Hangouts. You won't even get a response right away.

It's like you are living in isolation.

This makes it very important to over communicate.

For my team, we do daily meetings. Even though these meetings can be done just once or twice a week, I made sure we do it daily so we get to at least to talk to each member of the team face to face.

Speaking of face to face, I require the team to do video chats. Getting a webcam is pretty cheap. Chances are your computer already has one. There is no excuse not to show your face.

In our team, we don't care how you look. Some men don't even have their shirts on (on rare occasions) during meetings. It gets too hot in the Philippines though. You can't blame them. 

We do all these things just to make sure everyone in the team does not only look at their computers the entire week. There should be some form of interaction with everyone.

If you are not doing this, you will definitely notice that the overall productivity of your team will be affected. I've seen so many good employees leave just because of this.

So, make sure you communicate more than the usual. Get in touch with everyone in your remote team. Talk to them about everything -- their hobbies, their families, what makes them happy, all of those.

Over communication has kept our remote company healthy throughout all these years. I'm sure it will for you too.

Carlo Borja is the Head of Online Marketing for Time Doctor, a time tracking software for remote teams. He is a full-time telecommuter, a digital nomad and a coffee junkie.

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Carlo Borja
Cagayan de Oro, Philippines