I still remember when I joined Hotels.com technology team and how much excited I was to start such a new challenge. Since the very early days I realised that working in a global company is quite different from working in the same building. That is obvious, I know, but it wasn’t easy to get used to the new way of working.
I missed getting in touch with new teammates, and sometimes felt isolated from others and had the feeling of being a remote worker. Actually working in a global team has a lot in common with the remote work, and in this article I will list all of the good practices that allowed me to collaborate effectively with colleagues scattered across the world.
- Know Every Collaboration Tool
Get familiar with the standard company collaboration tools for chat, wiki, ticketing and video-conferencing.
They are now my best friends in the day-to-day work. As a good practice I also have backup tools for chat and video-conferencing: in the case one of them doesn’t work for some reason, don’t waste time, just move to the next one.
- Communicate Asynchronously
A global environment is not an office. Often the most effective way to communicate is asynchronously, that means stop writing tons of email and start using issue mentions and chat tools. Tickets can be read from the entire team and for this reason it is important to properly use those tools even if people are working from the same location.
- Be Available
Be 100% available in the chat during working hours.
This is the main communication channel and if I am not available then people just think I am probably out of office.
- Communicate Your Status
Make it clear for everyone what you are working on. Also during meetings with your boss or other colleagues ask for feedback on your work, just to know if you’re on the right track.
For example, I do this by assigning to me the ticket in progress and by updating it in a regular way.
- Plan The Future
Do not talk too much about the past, but use the meetings to plan the future. Sharing future plans will increase the chances to work together and allow to save time.
- Do Be Seen
Don’t be shy and show your face during online meetings. There is no need to avoid face-to-face meetings, even if we need them only for a minute.
Unfortunately I never tried any sort of always-on video portals like Perch (https://perch.co/), but I would like to have one of those portals in the relax area in order to enjoy a coffee break with remote colleagues.
- Bond in Real Life
Take advantage of business trips to also spend time with others and make sure to do have fun together. Any opportunity to “team build” will improve collaboration with colleagues.
- Say Thank You
If someone helps me in some way, then I like to use mentions in order to highlight it and give credit. It always feels good to receive a thanks and it will make future collaborations easier.