How to maximize the potential of your distributed team
Hi, this is Wyatt creator of My Digital Office , a virtual office place for distributed and remote-first teams. Before I start using any new tool, I look into what it is all about. Judging from your eyes here, it seems you do too.
I want to present our story here for you, avid reader.
After university I moved to Japan to fulfill my childhood dream. I ended up staying for many years, working various engineering jobs remotely with both Japanese and US based companies.
With the rise of Slack, many teams were convinced to start using it daily. What I noticed over the years was people being more and more detached. A status symbol shows green, they must be there, but they respond the next day. The General board is where the company news keeper posts random things, that a few people comment back on. Direct messages ended up on different systems, JS responds to Skype, Jane responds to Slack, sometimes. Where is everyone?
Needless to say being the 100% remote developer on these teams, I started to feel detached. There was a culturally divide and a personal divide. How do I bridge the gap?
We tried an office robot that our team could beam into from anywhere in the world. It was very cool! But also completely pointless. People would beam into the robot, spin it around and have fun driving it, then quickly disappear. That robot contributed very little to the team.. and it was a great distraction.
We tried a few virtual office and dashboard solutions. The dashboards were a great way to easily discuss KPIs on remote stand-up meetings. I truly recommend setting up some form of dashboard for your team. The virtual offices however, fell flat. It seemed like they stopped actively developing them years ago.
The gap, that needed to be bridged, remained open.
After some time, a colleague of mine asked me if I can do dev work on their startup. “If you have some time, think about it”. This colleague and I worked remotely as a two man team for a few years on another startup. There were some initial hiccups with the new project he recommended. So I decided, it was time for me to start something new: an advanced web-based virtual office. It would eloquently incorporate, all of the solutions, to all of the problems I have seen in remote-work tools over the past 6 years.
A few months later My Digital Office was born, and that gap was finally bridged.
Let’s maximize potential
Remote team members need to feel included and a vital part of the team. Some managers are really good at touching base with everyone regularly, while in some cases, they completely forget about a person. Engagement is a core feature of productivity. Keep your team engaged, with short stand-up meetings, fun break times, or relevant discussions about things they are interested in. Make sure you interact with everyone periodically.
Working down a to-do list also increases engagement for the individual and also anyone following-up on the same list. When you can see things getting done, it can make you want to do more! When the whole team’s tasks are separated no one knows what anyone else is doing. People have less motivation to reach out to teammates. Use a tasks list that the whole team can follow!
If we see someone working late, or having a hard time in the office, we are prompted to offer help. This gets completely lost in popular remote work tools. If you see someone over extended in your virtual office, ask them about their work load or any potential issues they are having. Have a no man left behind policy.
Q: Who should use a digital office?
A: Any team or company with remote workers, or all remote days.
Q: Why do we need a digital office?
A: There is no better way to improve company engagement and productivity, while seamlessly keeping your projects together in one place.
Q: I don’t believe you.
A: You don’t need to. You can try it for free!