initially we decided to have Chameleon distributed but with everyone in the same timezone (Pacific Time). This was because we had heard that managing different timezones was amongst the hardest things to solve for remote teams.
We had folks in Seattle, Portland, SF Bay Area, SoCal and Vancouver. However a couple people on the team wanted to relocate to other places (East Coast, Australia) and we wanted to continue working with them. We also ended up finding someone in Europe that we really liked… so we were almost forced to give up the goal of sticking on the same time zone.
And that means that if anyone gets blocked waiting on input from someone else then it can waste half a day. Therefore we had to be intentional about creating systems that allowed more asynchronous work and avoid the “shoulder tapping” culture that can exist in offices.
Some specific ways that we establish this:
- Clear Google Drive structure so anyone can find documents they might need
- Providing updates on tasks within Trello so anyone can see status and progress
- Clear assignment rules for who is responsible/owns what, so it’s clear when tasks are thrown over to the next person
- Clear that Slack is not the place to manage or assign tasks – that happens in Trello; while Slack is for conversation. Ideally discussion about a specific task happens in its Trello card
- Giving clear guidelines around expectations for availability on Slack; we shouldn’t assume the other person will reply immediately, even when tagged, so plan accordingly
- Making sure there are multiple threads of work so that if one is waiting, you can continue with other items
- Recording external calls with Zoom (and recently, transcribing with Grain) and making those shared so that folks can access key content
From my experience the most important aspect of a healthy remote culture is trust. You have to trust that people on your teams want to do their best work. Your goal is to encourage, enable, and empower them. Avoid micro-managing or doubting effort.
Would love to know what you’ve learnt in your process of going remote! Any insights to share?