With offices in both London and Tel Aviv, we understand the challenges that a distributed team can sometimes offer. From defining job roles to finding the perfect tools, we have put together our 5 golden rules to making sure your distributed team is managed as efficiently as possible.
Good morning & welcome to another edition of MyCurrencyTransferTV. We’re so pleased you can join us. Today, we’re going to discuss the 5 golden rules when trying to manage a distributed team. At MyCurrencyTransfer, we live and breathe the challenges of a distributed workforce each day. It can be fun, challenging, infuriating & tiresome all at the same time. Ultimately, we find working with peers all over the world tremendously rewarding & today, we’ll give you 5 golden rules to make the challenge that much simpler.
From London to Tel Aviv to Kiev and Hong Kong, here are the benefits from our own experiences.
1. Recognise that technology WILL sometimes fail
Whether it’s that Skype call for a content meeting or that all important performance review, be prepared for technology to fail. Recognise it as an issue but don’t let it frustrate you. Keep a back up option open at all times. Having a Plan B is critical, particularly when you are arranging a catch up with multiple participants.
2. Open communication lines
Try to keep a shared calendar, so that you know when and where team members are across the world at all times. Nothing can be more frustrating than pinging your colleague a thousand miles away an e-mail or Skype message and not getting a reply. Perhaps your colleague is at an external meeting or is coding away on a new product release. Try to have each team member document their daily whereabouts as much as possible. This isn’t micro management, it’s just good practice.
3. The right set of tools for the right time
At MyCurrencyTransfer, we use a range of productivity & collaboration tools which really strengthen our vision of multiple offices, one company. We use Basecamp to manage cross-office ‘to do lists’ and assignments for the various projects we are working on. Skype is used for quick-fire chats, Pipedrive for CRM purposes & Buzzstream to manage influencer outreach. Google drive is used to co-ordinate our content calendar & important company financial forecasting. At the moment, we’re also trying out Zulu & HipChat for enhanced cross-office collaboration.
Be careful of ‘tool overload’ and only use right tools for the right goals. Try to attain buy in from each member of staff as after all, they need to appreciate and value the particular new tool you are asking them to use on a daily basis.
4. Define roles to a T
Break down tasks and job roles into small tasks. In any company, speed and momentum is key. When taking on a new overseas member of staff, make sure both employer and staff member understands their job role to a T. Training and development is key, particularly in the early days. If budget permits, bring over that member of staff to your HQ.
Appreciate that each member of the team from their respective corners of the world will have their own cultures modes of communication. Treat this as a positive. After all, if everyone thought the same, creativity returns can often diminish. Brainstorms will be done and remember to embrace different minds, values and ways of looking at how problems can be solved.
5. 10 minute cross office standup each day
Lastly, devote 10 minutes a day minimum to your international team and don’t let more than two consecutive days go by without checking in. The further away from HQ the team members are, the more it’s imperative to make them feel an integral part of the cause.
Managing a distributed team sounds harder than it usually turns out to be and can offer so many benefits and rewards. If you are looking for ways to improve production, save on office space and save money, a distributed team could be the perfect option for your business.
We really hope you enjoyed today’s episode of MyCurrencyTransfer TV. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly. Our twitter handle is @mycurrencytrans
Written by Sofia Kluge on Google+