How to Get Closer to Your (Distributed) Team

If you’re a software developer, you have most likely worked with people who are not in the same office as you are. And you’ve probably not liked it.

To improve communications with your distributed team make it fun and make it work. You have to go beyond simply being “a Skype profile image.”

Here’s the secret: meet your teammates in person. That’s it.

Chatting often is good. Video is better. But there’s no replacing that face-to-face connection.

At Nearsoft we are accustomed to working in distributed team with our clients in the United States, as well as with our other offices in Chihuahua and Mexico City (and by the time you read this, we might have already opened an office near you: we’re hiring :).

Getting Together

At Nearsoft we do several things to connect in person,

  • We go to our clients offices
  • Our clients come to our offices
  • We all come together during Team Building Weeks

Office Visits

On occasion, groups of Nearsoftians spend time at our clients’ offices in the US. At other times, our clients spend time in one of our offices in Mexico.

Besides the technical work, during these get togethers we learn about each other. We exchange best practices and also enjoy friendly outings and unique culinary experiences.

One time, while eating churros in front of Hermosillo’s Cathedral, one of our colleagues, Annie said, “It’s great that we’re no longer just a Skype profile image.”

This pretty much said it all.

When I had the opportunity to visit my team’s office in San Francisco, I was amazed to feel so accepted, with so much joy and enthusiasm.

“Make yourself at home,” they said.

As a result, my communication with them improved many times fold. I now know my colleagues much better and this makes it easier to feel closer as a team.

Team Building Weeks

Twice a year we enjoy a Team Building Week (TBW), one in Spring and another in Winter.

All Nearsoftians get together at a single location for a whole week to strengthen ties among us. We do a lot of social stuff as well as real work about company strategy, etc.

Our client also participate in these TBWs. They come to experience our unique culture and be part of it all.

We do things that together that we might never do otherwise (in my case, go to a baseball game) while making friends and you make friends in other parts of the world!

What Makes Remote Work Work?

Working in a distributed team takes work, but you can do it. Find ways to meet with your coworkers in person to enjoy each other’s company. Hang out while munching away at great goodies. Chat about non-technical matters. Go sightseeing together. But whatever you do, create a personal bond.

We are first and foremost human beings. We need to make a deeper, more meaningful connection with the folks in our teams. We need more than “a Skype profile image” to make that human connection.

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