How fun would it be to work in a company that has staff scattered all over the world? Over the past three months, I had the privilege (or headache) of leading a team with employees in London, Tel Aviv & South East Asia. Despite the pitfalls, we took the decision to relocate MyCurrencyTransfer to Tel Aviv, one of the startup capitals of the world. It was a tremendous experience & one we would never have changed. Today, I’ll share some of our experiences of how to shine as an employee in a distributed company.
Align to your company culture
When working in a distributed team, it’s important to complement rather than disrupt the company culture you are part of. During the interview the hiring manager will be thinking ‘‘will this candidate seamlessly integrate with our existing, distributed team.’’ Remember, personality counts for as much as talent! You will be assessed on how well you fit into the existing cross-cultural infrastructure.
Build trust with your colleagues & managers
As an employee, earning trust across a distributed team is absolutely paramount. At a core level, the team you will be part of all need to buy into the vision and mission of the company. Embrace team bonding exercises, it helps nurture a sense of shared vision and re-enforced the company values. Some of the exercises may seem trivial & irrelevant to the core business, but they’re done for a reason! Expect trust from your colleagues and managers to be built over time, not overnight.
Live Chat Running Permanently
Expect to be part of permanent group chats. This is a place where any team member can contribute, share thoughts, ideas and get points across. It breaks boundaries and makes staff feel close. When you communicate with your colleagues or superiors,
try to treat e-mail as pretty much the last resort for ongoing communication. It’s not overly transparent nor accountable.
A well run distributed team meets as frequently as possible. If you have the authority to do so, suggest to meet your workmates daily. Working in a distributed team requires careful attention. Don’t mistake questions like ‘‘ What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? How long will this take’’ for pressurized micro-management. Creating the right feedback loop is absolutely imperative. Being helpfully nosey is absolutely acceptable so feel free to ask questions! You won’t be looked down upon.
Don’t Be Put Off By An International Company
Working in a distributed team can be a tremendously worthwhile experience & bolster your resume. It’ll make you a more well-rounded employee. While at times you may feel lonely and isolated from colleagues, don’t be afraid to give it a go. With a little empathy for the situation and embracing the right structure for communication, you’ll see tremendous personal benefits in working for a distributed team. Chances are you will get to travel the world & make friends from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Daniel Abrahams is the Co-Founder of MyCurrencyTransfer & MyTravelMoney – a network of award winning foreign exchange comparison websites. The platform helps individuals & businesses find a fairer and cheaper deal on currency. In April 2013, the company decided to relocate its management team from London to Tel Aviv.