Simple steps on how to build a remote team.

68% millennial job seekers are interested in remote working (aftercollege), 86% of professionals hit their maximum productivity when working alone (surepayroll). There are many good why’s on building remote team. Those are our learnings on how to build functional remote team. Those points are also working on on-site setups.

A few months ago, I worked in a remote config team. Our team consisted of 3 developers, product owner, designer and analytic. One of the developers worked abroad, second one was often remote and I worked in an office with the rest of the guys.

Warm-up rule of thumb

Everyone should be remote or none.

All or none, really? Yes (approx. 50% of the team should be remote from the start)! So how was it in our case? Did we dismiss the whole team? No! (Actually yes, but not from that reason).

Don’t move everyone out from the office. Instead of that — every meeting, every brainstorming, discussion, brag and hate that concerns the team or even company — should be online or in public chat. In our case, each daily standup was on Hangouts — even with one guy remote. That was the simplest implementation of „Everyone remote”.

Forbid closed chats and replace them with transparency. We’re tackling really basic human fears here (it’s not a psychology article, no worries), like FoMO.

Fear of missing out

In short: Nobody wants to be outside of the wolf pack. Nobody wants to be out of sync or be the guys that know the last „Ohh, man you really didn’t know ?”. FoMO is an important case when working remote. Don’t decide in HQ and then just announce on chat — that’s unfair, give everybody a chance to speak. And remember to do it in a first place.

React quickly

If you noticed that someone took something wrong, or you had an argue, or else. Don’t wait to asked, complained or something — it will probably not happen. Instead of that, you should go and react. Be the guys that give a hand in the first place.

Meet in person & gather team together from time to time

Meet with your co-workers. It’s really important to feel that they’re live beings. In our case, everything started to slowly working after 3rd meeting in person. That’s quite a lot for a remote team, but the distance was quite small (less than 1K km). Meet in the team, meet in company, be aware that they are physical.

Be disciplined and forgiving

Establishing style, architecture and common ground in a team are essential — same here. Having written code guidelines will allow you to distressfully require to follow decisions that you all made (all acquired as a newcomer). So why to be forgiving? Remember that you can solve one problem in many ways. Maybe his way is a bit slower/dirtier/different, but if it’s does the job (tested if needed) — it’s ok.

Be patient

Also be patient for people — they may not understand you at the start, try again and act like a professional — you’re being paid for that!

Be an optimist

Having a good attitude it’s important. Being an expert is great, but being a great colleague also is awesome. Place a little small talk before going straight to the point. Ask about how they feel, what they did recently, for us, it always took about 5 mins before starting a meeting — but it gave us this feeling of connection.

If you want to argue about the topic or my solutions — comment or message me directly. I’ll really appreciate it! If you like this article and my approach — please follow me/like and share this story. This will motivate me a lot for further work!