Almost every manager on the planet will agree that team building is hard. Factor in geographic distance and you’ll find it even more challenging to keep your team members integrated—especially if you don’t have a solid plan.
The good news: Understanding how to build a cohesive distributed team is a skill that managers and entrepreneurs can learn. Better yet, it’s a skill that offers you immediate—and often significant—advantages over your competitors. Some of the most successful companies in the world, like Automattic (the parent company of WordPress), have documented their battle-tested strategies for building remote teams.
I work at NYC-based Andela, live in Atlanta, and manage a tech team scattered across the globe—including both coasts of the U.S. and multiple locations in Nigeria, Romania, India, and Nepal. Here are the five best practices that I’ve found most valuable in building and supporting distributed teams.
1. Establish Bonds of Friendship and Empathy
The more fully you can empathize with one another, the easier it becomes to collaborate as a team. In a recent study, MIT professors found that one of the most important ingredients in a smart team was the ability to “consider and keep track of what other people feel, know and believe,” otherwise known as “Theory of Mind.” This held true regardless of whether the team worked offline or online.
In other words, effective collaboration hinges on a rich, deep understanding of your employees’ perspectives. That means you might need to invest in travel at the start of the relationship to really get to know your new team member face-to-face and build rapport. Then, keep those personal connections alive and meaningful over time by encouraging the team to discuss topics other than work—just like they would over coffee and snacks in the office. It makes a difference.
2. Pair up Remote Workers
“Pair programming,” the practice of having two individuals work together to develop code, is frequently cited as a best practice for developing software. Qualitative and quantitative evidence suggests that when developers work in pairs, they work “more than twice as fast,” make fewer mistakes, and design better code. The benefits can even carry over to pairing up to do non-programming tasks.
Additionally, when people are paired up, they learn to communicate more easily and often, and to share (rather than hide) problems and solutions—all of which increases overall information flow and team alignment. One team leader observed that after pairing up developers, his fragmented team began to have “real conversations…they actually began to enjoy and trust each other.” They turned from a “random collection of six, bright talented individuals who didn’t work together” into a genuine team.
To effectively pair up workers, remember that pairing is a skill that does not come automatically to most people. It takes concerted effort and practice to instill pairing in your culture (and get your team excited about it).
3. Provide Shared Purpose via Regular Recognition
Aligning everyone’s goals through a common purpose and regularly recognizing each person’s contribution to that purpose is essential for team building. The benefits of these practices have been well-documented in business literature, and they are especially important when working with remote colleagues. When someone is not in the office, he or she will miss out on the regular reinforcement of the team’s mission that happens in the context of casual conversations and spontaneous celebrations. As manager, you must have a system to make sure that your remote staff still feels included.
At Andela, for example, our goal is to train 100,000 young people in Africa as software developers over the next 10 years. We align everyone with that goal by leveraging the OKR system popularized by Google and other Silicon Valley heavyweights. OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results; it’s a precise way of defining key projects that people are working on each quarter. Every week, during one-on-one meetings with members of my distributed team, we review progress on their OKRs. I make sure to recognize progress privately, but also in public ways, such as callouts during our weekly global staff meetings.
Ever heard the saying “Do things, tell people?”
It’s sage advice for any employee, but it’s even more important when you’re on a remote team, and run the risk of being out of sight and out of mind. Sure, some people assume that’s a benefit of working from home (e.g., How would your boss know if you took a two-hour lunch?) But there’s a flipside to that coin: When you’re exceeding expectations and there are no casual stops by your boss’ desk to fill her in on all you’re doing—how will she ever know?
If you want the same raises, gold stars, or promotions you’d receive if you worked in an office, you’ve gotta make some noise. And you have to do it without being all socially-awkward-penguin about it. Try these four strategies:
1. Build Your Network
You want everyone possible to know you and the value you bring, so that when new opportunities show up, you come to mind. For this to happen, you need to build relationships within your team. No matter how small the group is or how far-flung the zip codes are, your colleagues are part of your network. Here are two easy ways to get this relationship-building going.
Pretty obvious, right? Right. But it’s a surefire way to connect with the people you’re working with. Skip the slimy flattery or half-hearted “kudos” here: I’m talking about expressing gratitude and calling it like you see it.
When someone else saves the day, helps you out big time, or goes above and beyond, make some noise. Shoot’um a thank-you badge on Slack! Let your new boss know. Mention it during your next conference call.
People don’t forget this kind of thing, especially when it’s done publicly. The next time they spot you dishing out some awesome, they’ll reciprocate. There’s nothing like having someone else make noise for you!
Seek Out a Mentor
Find a mentor. Acting on feedback is crucial to getting better at your job and earning recognition. With the help of a mentor, the getting better part explodes, and here’s the best part: You can still seek out a mentor-mentee dynamic when you work remotely.
You probably won’t find the same structured arrangements you world in an office. Weekly coffee dates will be harder to come by, no question; but this relationship is less about form and more about content. As long as you’re connecting with someone you admire who can give you clear advice, you’re golden.
Ideally, choose someone who can introduce you to others within the company and your industry. Most importantly, select a person who has the skills you’d like to master, because you can learn from his experience. Which brings me to me next point…
2. Acquire New Skills and Ask for More Responsibility
It’s great when your manager looks for opportunities for you to grow, but truth talk: Your professional development is no one’s responsibility but yours.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Internal workshops, seminars, and just plain gaining skills on the fly are terrific—if you want to move ahead at the same rate as everyone else on your team.
But I’d bet that you want to stand out.
Apply the extra hour or two you save by not commuting every day to some outside training. There are a million ways to up your game. Some of my personal favorite learning platforms include edX, lynda.com, and Coursera.
From there, seek out avenues where you can apply your new skills. Asking for more, new, or different responsibilities increases your value within an organization. It also puts a spotlight on your growing capabilities.
If there aren’t new and exciting opportunities floating around your team, volunteer to help other departments. Yes, this can be harder when Steve from marketing and Tara from engineering don’t stand around the same water cooler, so you’ll have to find out yourself. Ask your boss is there are company-wide or cross-team projects. If there’s no room for you to contribute that way, ask about big picture strategic goals and study the needs and challenges of the company to see if you can spot a neglected area. Create your own opportunity by pitching a new project or position that you could take on to address the weak spot.
3. Track Your Progress
Consider this your new Friday ritual. Take a few minutes to jot down an outline of everything you’ve accomplished that week. Include all of the items that you feel great about. This record—I call it my “Lookit Me!” file—serves a few important purposes. Long term, when it’s time to update your resume, you’ll have a treasure trove of accomplishments and metrics to pull from.
Future you will be grateful, I promise!
More immediately, this practice reinforces not only your personal awareness of how things are going, but also the awareness of your boss. On particularly good weeks, fire off your “Lookit Me” summary to your boss, explaining what you feel great about and the things you’re excited about in the week to come.
They’re perfect for when you’ve really been on fire. Maybe you closed a hefty new account, implemented a new system or tool that quickly showed positive results, or delivered a project early, not to mention one that wow’d a client—I think you get the picture.
It’s fine to toot your own horn, as long as it’s not too often or loud.
You’ve got the right background, stellar credentials, and a resume that screams “Hire me!” You’d be a catch for any company. The twist is that you really want to work from home, and none of the companies advertising a remote job are calling you back.
Here’s why: You’re probably making some basic mistakes that matter a lot more when you’re applying for virtual positions. The good news is that there are quick fixes you can put into place to turn your search around for the better. So, read on for four common issues (and four easy solutions).
1. You’re a Ghost
By ghost, I mean you have zero web presence. Aside from your email address and its account avatar (if you have one), there are few other clues as to who you are and what you’ve done. Your LinkedIn profile is out of date and your personal website is just a domain name. Employers get a faint sense of what you’re about, but not much else.
“But I sent my resume, isn’t that enough?”
Not if you want to quickly establish trust. Think about it: These companies have expansive websites, social profiles, and web presences that go on for days. That’s because they want you to understand them. Failure to return in kind makes it difficult for them to see why you’re awesome.
The Quick Fix
I point to LinkedIn here because it’s free, relatively easy to set up, and it’s a social profile, blog, and personal website rolled into single platform.
My bite-sized advice is to populate your profile’s sections (especially the summary) with a least three to five lines of information each, and then share a status update once a day. It can be an article or a feel-good motivational quote—anything goes. Oh, and a solid profile picture is a must.
You’ll have a warm, fleshy profile out in the world that’ll rank highly in your search results, instead of a bag of bones.
2. Your Emails Are “Meh”
Super long emails. Stuffy, overly formal emails. Emails with generic cover letters in them. Emails that don’t really say anything. Typos galore. Emails you leave unanswered for days.
“Meh” covers so many things in this case.
At the end of the day, the problem is that your communication style doesn’t match that of the company or remote teams in general. People like working with people. Not robots. Not dinosaurs. Certainly not the guy delivering a 300-page dissertation on how goal-oriented he is.
To engage your readers via email and show that you “get it,” you’ve got to be concise, authentic, and snappy (read: fast!).
The Quick Fix
Be a copycat. Consider the tone of the job ad you’re responding to, in addition to the voice used on the company’s site. Scan the LinkedIn profile of its founder. Read the blog posts. Match the organization’s pace and vibe.
Is it business casual? Is it serious? Maybe it’s somewhere in between the two. Then, kind of like how you’d dress for an interview, be half-a-step more formal. That way, you’re balancing a message of “I’d totally fit in here” with “I still get it’s a first impression.”
Finally, match the tone in your communication with everyone you meet on the team. And if you’re volleying emails with someone from the company, pay attention to the way he or she writes, and echo the style—because maybe the hiring manager and your potential boss communicate differently. Most importantly keep your message short, because—who’s really got the time for all that jazz?
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It isn’t just young children whom take pleasure in the chance to get to embark on field trips and acquire a bird’s eye perspective of just how the different things we use within our own day to day lives are created. Look at stuff such as the various goods that come in the shape involving tubes, hose pipes plus wiring, for example. Most of these goods are created from numerous combinations of high-tech materials and therefore are manufactured by means of an activity termed extrusion. This specific technology demands highly specific, specialized types of equipment that will be run by those who have had specific education. Usually, they will start with basic extrusion training or maybe a strong in-house extruder operator training program, but for any individual who enjoys this specific work, you’ll find usually a selection of methods by which they could keep moving forward with this kind of discipline.
Individuals who have acquired extrusion training are generally qualified to work in many different aspects of plastic material production. Two niche career fields tend to be aerospace and automotive construction. The production of the extruded item occurs when plastic pellets are placed inside the extruder’s hopper, allowing gravity to feed them towards a narrowed throat and then on a lengthy screw that’s consistently spinning and additionally encircled inside a heated barrel. This screw moves the particular plastic all the way down the barrel’s length and as it moves on down, then the depth of the channel gets tighter, creating friction and additional heat. The plastic blends as well as melts and it is prepared for that die as soon as it gets to the other end of the barrel.
As employees learn with their extrusion training programs, some operations possess a series of screens near the barrel’s finish that go from bigger to more compact, filtering pollutants from the plastic melt just before it goes in the particular die. The die is a type of casting device to provide the particular melted plastic its desired profile. When the finished merchandise leaves this die, it needs to be chilled. This regularly is accomplished with a water bath. The greatest concern as the shaped product is produced is that it not collapse until it really is appropriately cooled down. After the merchandise is cool and additionally consistent, it might be coiled, placed on a spool, or perhaps cut to the actual desired length.
Small businesses with a poor standing are going to be unsuccessful though businesses with a wonderful track record are likely to increase quickly. Nevertheless, it could be difficult for a business proprietor to be able to keep close track of their own track record as well as make certain they’ll recognize just what their particular buyers are saying regarding them. Although there are various web sites where customers could leave reviews, it could be hard for the small business owner to check out all of them regularly.
It is critical for a business proprietor to make sure they will check all of the review sites routinely to allow them to watch their own reviews and also respond to virtually any bad ones to be able to try to correct them. Nevertheless, this really is unbelievably time-consuming for a business owner to try and do. To be able to ensure they are able to monitor all the websites and also their own reputation, they are going to need to be sure they will utilize a reputation management platform just like Chatmeter. The services automatically examines all of these sites for them as well as informs them when a brand new review is posted.
Along with the ideal assistance, it really is less difficult for a business owner to find out when there’s brand new reviews so they can look at the reviews and also attempt to make sure they have a fantastic reputation. To discover more with regards to precisely how this operates, check out Chatmeter now.
Once upon a time, there ended up being a small girl that dwelled within a huge metropolis. This little girl had a Mama along with a Pop which both labored extremely hard to support her. Both the girl’s Mommy and her Father would wake very early each morning ahead of sunrise and got ready to go to head to work. They’d get up their sleeping little girl and even get her outfitted plus take her to child care, the place she would finish awakening and eat breakfast with all the other kids whose mothers and fathers were doing exactly the same thing. She always would stay in that location with the different young children and additionally daycare workers all day long. Often, by the time the child’s parents came in order to retrieve her at night once they got released from work, she’d See that it absolutely was dark.
As the actual little girl was raised, she proceeded to go from spending her times within the child care to sharing them among school and additionally after school programs and additionally nannies. It always made her sad that the little girl’s parents each seemed to function constantly, and that after they had been at home, they were more often than not worn out and ended up being almost total strangers to her. This little girl occasionally would occur downstairs to have a peek here from precisely what these individuals at that time were carrying out, and might observe that they had both apparently fallen asleep once again before the television. As the time of her childhood proceeded, this sweet little girl frequently regarded the longer term plus decided Right Here and today that the girl was going to spend more time with the child’s children in case she ended up being actually to have any.
Needless to say, this sweet little girl did mature to get wedded plus then have a number of lovely kids. Her partner worked and she remained at home plus expended her days or weeks Over Here rearing her children herself. This lady educated them the way to do chores and also arts and crafts and ways to make meals. She was there as soon as they took their own beginning steps, said their own primary words, and even shed their very own first tooth. This resourceful lady found many ways to supplement her income right from her own home. She took in canines for her family and friends once they were travelling on the holidays. She launched your blog post experienced a quantity of site advertisers. She in addition sold her and also her various children’s handiwork with her Etsy retailer! She by no means regretted her selection to stay home with her young children.
When it comes to heating and cooling, having a operating system is important. It’s crucial for a person to be able to be sure they are having their system checked out no less than once a year to keep it in fantastic shape. Even so, anytime things commence to stop working, it may end up getting pricey in order to keep fixing it. An individual will desire to make sure they will talk to a qualified professional to find out more about their choices as well as to be able to discover exactly why a new air conditioning system might be a good idea before it gets too hot outside.
It is crucial to keep the complete system working correctly by having a specialist carry out upkeep a minimum of once a year, yet that doesn’t suggest there will not be any kind of troubles. Anytime a person starts to experience virtually any issues with the air conditioning or heat within their particular house, they are going to need to speak to a specialist for assistance straight away. Often, the system can be mended speedily so they are able to begin utilizing it once more quickly. There are several times when a person might need to explore purchasing a new one, however, and they can see more here in order to find out about the new systems.
When a system is actually more than 10 years old, the home owner will need to take into account purchasing a brand new one as opposed to having theirs restored. The individual ought to read this page in order to discover more regarding their own options and also exactly why buying a new one will be an excellent choice. Generally, 10 years is the lifespan for these types of systems, and they are going to start needing more and more maintenance at this time. Moreover, a person could desire to start considering acquiring a new one if the fixes required will cost a lot more than half the price of the newest one. This way, they are able to get started taking advantage of the energy efficiency of the brand-new versions to be able to cut costs on their particular utilities.
If you happen to be worried about the age of your system or you are having difficulty with it demanding a lot of repairs, ensure you check into investing in a brand new system rather than throwing away money continuing to restore the older one. You’ll be able to click this link to receive the information you are going to have to have in order to make a sound decision.
Search engine optimization is not the same as it was in the past, but this does not mean that any digital agency can afford to ignore it. Years ago, many digital agencies could achieve results for their clients by making use of some fairly straightforward, relatively crude approaches to SEO. Since then, search providers like Google have become a lot more sophisticated and smarter about rooting out these blunt ways of ranking higher in the results. While the right form of SEO can still deliver unquestionable value, many agencies find it difficult to keep up with the standards that must be met in order to achieve success. While that could be taken as a reason for pessimism, the fact is that providers like PosiRank.com are even now filling in the gaps for those who seek out what they have to offer.
In fact, this more modern approach to SEO often turns out to be quite a bit easier to manage and live with. Instead of needing to keep up with each and every associated requirement on their own, agencies that work with such providers find themselves merely giving directions and waiting for the results. Thanks to a focus on centralization and simplification that has produced benefits of its own, arranging for this style of SEO on behalf of clients often turns out to be exceptionally easy and straightforward.
This is not to say that flexibility needs to be sacrificed in the process, however. In fact, this actually turns out to be another advantage of this more advanced way of providing SEO services. Instead of being forced to handle every detail of recalibrating a given SEO campaign, an agency that makes use of a service of this kind can merely describe the desired destination and rest assured that all the related details will be handled.
While some have come to think of SEO as something too technical and complicated to be mastered, others have therefore discovered that merely making use of the what the right partners have to offer can be all that is needed. Given that SEO is every bit as critical today as it was in the past, keeping up with the best available options can only pay off.
Economics can be found at the center of the web of world. Everything that certainly occurs every day may have a significant relation to the market. This could cause investment on stocks and shares a fairly risky endeavor because individuals can’t predict if his or her luck is going to modify for the positive or negative. These effects may also happen with hardly any caution even while making hardship into their wake. A straightforward alternation in corporate and business or country wide plan will see millions or perhaps billions of bucks fly out the door. Thankfully, there are several locations that will help folks constantly look out for these adjustments.
A lot of people do not have the time or perhaps strength to spend every hr of their lifestyle hunched over a newspapers or perhaps online racking your brains on which catastrophe may affect the stock market. Nevertheless, there are several places which carry out provide this particular vital services. You need to have a peek at this web-site to check out how a small differ from a small company will have a substantial impact on a stock exchange. It should even be acknowledged that just what appears like a monetary devastation to one is a good potential for another. Check This Out to find out if you will find there’s substantial firm can plummeting values that could be an ideal demonstration of acquiring shares if it is minimal and then sell it off if the shares value equalizes with the stock exchange. These types of instances is usually a significant prospects for any investor, no matter what size, to generate some really serious income.
In relation to your marketplace nothing is specified; a significant corporation might go from being worthy of billions of dollars to completely nothing in only a few hours. Understanding whenever and precisely why a business does this is vital to accomplish properly on the currency market. Fortunately, you’ll find places such as this Source which help people discover the tiny or even considerable events that will have a devastating impact on the economy. You should have a peek here to determine if there will be virtually any businesses that are bottoming out prior to growing back in value to help you come up with a fast and tidy income.
Nowadays, it is easier to seize the attention of a possible purchaser with a digital video rather than text, email, and photos. A video clip may be used to tell the probable buyer much more with regards to an item, for example why they could need it, exactly where they can buy it, and also precisely how it’ll help them to clear up a challenge they have. Nonetheless, not just any digital video will deliver the results. A small business is going to need to make certain they’ll have a professional video clip developed in order to help tell potential consumers about their items.
A business proprietor will wish to make the most of a video production company to be able to have a custom digital video created for their particular products. They’re able to feature one of their top goods during the video clip and also include information about the merchandise as well as more information about their own company. They’re going to have a number of possibilities to choose from in order to be sure the digital video is actually tailored to precisely what they want. They can also offer their very own script for the video clip along with clips of their particular business, or even have the expert create a script for them. The details will need to be supplied by the small business, but the expert will guarantee it is all assembled in a comprehensive, properly designed video which is going to inspire clients to get in touch with the business.
A small business owner who’s thinking about having a digital video made for their goods will need to look at the video production rates. They are going to have the ability to discover a lot more regarding what exactly is included in the fundamental video clip, precisely what could be added on, and also what they can do in order to make sure their particular video will look wonderful, be skillfully carried out, and enable them to get the brand-new shoppers they’ll require. They ought to take the time in order to check into all the specifics in order to make certain they will be working together with an expert to be able to create the video clip they need.
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It has rather long been asserted that elegance is within the vision associated with the actual beholder, which is as legitimate exactly where residences are engaged since it is with individuals. It’s the homeowner who identifies precisely what will make his or her heartbeat more quickly. Regarding a single man or woman, it’ll be some sort of luxurious estate, complete with soaring, circular stairways, crystal light fixtures and gold inlay within the marble floors. For yet another, it’s a lowly cottage, tucked away on an off the beaten route somewhere, a location with trees and shrubs and heavens over head, few nearby neighbors, probably the chat of your river burbling over stones as well as the music involving birds each morning.
Regardless of which of these two varieties of residence tickles a person’s fancy, and even if it’s a thing in between, various good advice to possess would be to talk with your community SMBIA brokers whenever on the point of finance this house you’ve always dreamt of. Simply because it doesn’t matter what taste the particular dream, cash is nevertheless essential to make it happen, and also not many people ever properly save sufficient funds to cover cash to buy a residence. A vehicle? Perhaps. However, a home generally must be financed, and you’ll get pleasure from your brand-new dwelling even more whenever you can secure an advantageous deal when buying it.
Imagine a morning as a remote worker: You sit down on the couch with your laptop, start running through your to-do list, while slurping Lucky Charms out of a bowl and watching Survivor reruns. Spoiler alert: That is not what it’s like to work virtually—not even close.
However, bosses who have limited experience with virtual teams (cough, you) might assume that’s how employees would spend their days working remotely. If your employees have asked you for the flexibility to work from home, but you feel a bit wary, I’m here to show you how you can make it happen.
1. Prioritize Transparency
When managing a remote team, it’s important that your organization has a high level of transparency across projects, tasks, and individual goals. Therefore, it becomes crucial that you use (or begin using) project management systems that can be accessed from any location. The right system should also allow team members to see what their co-workers are accomplishing.
These kinds of management systems allow supervisors to track their teams’ progress and hold individual employees accountable for their work. Not to mention: This transparency makes virtual teams more productive than their in-office counterparts—by an increase of as much as 43%.
My organization utilizes Basecamp to manage various projects because it allows for a high level of transparency within and among different teams. It also keeps file uploads in convenient locations that can be accessed from any device that’s connected to the internet.
Similarly, my company encourages employees to use Google Apps to share our phone conference lines and meeting room schedules, so no shared resources become overbooked.
2. Integrate Communication
Unlike employees who work side-by-side, virtual employees may have a harder time receiving timely answers to questions or gaining clarity on a matter they may not fully understand. To solve this problem, include a few preferred communication methods with your employees’ virtual setups.
For example, many companies embrace social intranets like MangoApps or messaging apps like HipChat to keep in-office and virtual employees connected to one another throughout the workday. If anyone—across any team—has a question, he or she can quickly chat another team member and get an answer.
Some might worry that such tools would hinder company productivity when they’re misused. However, if you’ve already taken the necessary steps to create transparency, you’ve minimized the likelihood of people chatting away for no reason—employees are aware that their efficiency (or lack thereof) will be noticed.
Additionally, studies have shown that many virtual employees feel lonely and overlooked as a part of the larger company. Messaging apps and integrated communication can help your team feel more connected to the actual office.
3. Think Ahead
Certainly, working virtually isn’t without its challenges. But thankfully, there are already tried-and-true strategies to deal with the most common problems.
An obvious question is: What about bad internet connections? Well, that question also has an obvious answer: Only employees with stable internet connections should be allowed to work virtually. And in the event there is an issue with their home internet, they should know that the expectation is that they’ll go to a local Wi-Fi hotspot or come back into the office (assuming it’s nearby), rather than blaming technical difficulties and taking the day off.
Another common concern is miscommunication. But this problem is pretty easy to solve, too. If something gets distorted via email or chat, set up a Skype call or Google Hangout to explain it in a “face-to-face” format. Even a simple phone call can make all the difference. And, if the other person can’t visualize what you’re saying, try Lightshot. It takes and shares screen shots, which can be a huge help when an employee’s trying to make a point and everyone’s looking at a different computer.