In a previous post, I presented a few tips for staying productive if you work remotely. However, the game changes when you’re in charge. Many startups employ workers abroad, and so you might find yourself leading a team that lives all around the world. How do you foster camaraderie between people that have never actually met each other, save for emails and voice or video calls?
Encourage Your Team to Work Together
Your team members shouldn’t just communicate with you – let them talk to each other directly! Just because they live in different places doesn’t mean they can’t communicate. It’s important for them to get to know one another to foster a collaborative atmosphere. Whether you prefer email or video and voice calls, there are many ways to keep in regular contact. Increased communication makes people feel more connected to each other and the company, which improves both retention and morale.
Schedule Regular All-Hands meetings
Even if you’re all together for only a few minutes, an all-hands meeting is a great way to cultivate unity. Since you don’t share an office space, it’s rare that the entire team is present in a single location. This may be tricky to coordinate at first, but it’s definitely worth it. During this meeting, you can update everyone on company news, and have each person describe what they’ll be working on that week. Remote work is often lonely, and so this is an especially effective way to make everyone feel like part of a real team.
Become a Time Zone Master
Always be mindful of time zones when scheduling meetings and making deadlines. Depending on your location, you might be only a few hours ahead or behind your staff, but in some cases, you might find yourself on opposite ends of the day with a team member. In any case, you’ll need to adjust your schedule accordingly, sometimes waking up early or staying up late to speak with people at odd hours. This may be taxing, but isn’t that what #startuplife is all about?
Be sure to keep track of daylight savings changes – time differences between countries may temporarily grow or shrink since countries change their clocks on different dates. Also, do some research so you can anticipate any country-specific holidays.