LinkedIn Live recap: How remote teams can work smarter, not harder
6 Sept 2023
We recently hosted a LinkedIn Live with Distributed Founder Cal Adamson interviewing two Elastic Team members: Temi Oritsejafor and Brian Njogu. During the chat, they talked about their experiences as remote freelancers collaborating with teams across time zones and geographies. They brought insights to the conversation that will hopefully help other remote teams work with more ease, productivity, and empathy. If you missed it, don’t worry. Check out our main takeaways and watch the full recording on our LinkedIn page.
Be conscious of your teammates’ environments and experiences
Brian Njogu: For me, I guess the biggest challenge that I have faced from time to time would be power issues. So for example, the places that I have lived before have been plagued with power surges, whereby you could be working with your teammates, and all of a sudden the power goes off. And you don't know why. But you have to deal with it. It’s something people from other parts of the world maybe don't really face as often, but it does happen a lot in some countries. So I think for the most part, it's learning how to deal with that, that usually helps the entire team pull together and stay in sync.
Temi Oritsejafor: Power issues and connectivity. Your Wi-Fi might turn off anytime so always make sure to have backup and a backup of your backup because it could happen in the middle of a meeting.
Cal Adamson: For western based companies, there's not a lot of consideration or understanding of different infrastructure capabilities built into their ways of working. It's one of the reasons why I love asynchronous communication, because it doesn't rely so heavily on energy or on internet connectivity, because it's mostly text. You have to be culturally onboarded into understanding that when you're working with a distributed team, you need defaults, you need rollbacks.
Temi Oritsejafor: It’s just about being flexible. Anything can come up at any time. You should actually make your team members comfortable enough and trust you enough to actually communicate with you right? You need to have the understanding that if they can’t make a meeting, the recording gets passed to them, so they can get self-managing rights.
Lead your remote team with empathy
Brian Njogu: I don't really think a lot of companies do take that into account. But at Distributed I've felt the encompassing love, I would call it that. Last year, I went through a difficult moment where I lost a family member and Distributed actually sent me flowers. It really blew me away because I didn't expect it, it just came in the mail, and I got it. This year, I was in another contract and I did that for about a month. Within that month, one of our family members became really sick and ended up passing away. I was accommodating family members in my house and my employer didn't understand that, even though I was delivering. I was let go on the day of the funeral.
Cal Adamson: That's a big difference between working remotely and working in person. Because a lot of the times when you're working in person, you can see somebody's upset or they're struggling or they're tired when they come into the office. When we work remotely, we need to be on and present and smiling for the half-hour video meeting. A lot of human things can happen and be hidden. Ensuring people feel safe to be human to bring their whole life to work is a big part of what we're trying to build at Distributed.
Accountability is key in successful remote teamwork
Temi Oritsejafor: If you’re working with other teams remotely, just make sure that everyone knows what they're each meant to do. So even if you have a lot of communication and information going through the chat, at the end of the day, make sure that you have a timeline for your team’s deliverables and then make sure that you follow up with them on that. Work with the understanding that some people can just get lost in working and then you forget some things or they might not really know how to communicate.
Brian Njogu: In the remote setting, integrate the team into remote accountability step by step and not just bring them into it. You want the team to feel safe, and to come to an understanding for a way that works with them. So I think that gradual introduction into that way of working is really essential for the team to really adjust. And I think it also goes back to communication, because you have to establish channels of communication and ways whereby you can learn about their progress to combine the team's efforts towards the end goal for the project.
Looking for the full LinkedIn Live recording?
Find the session on our LinkedIn page to watch the conversation in its entirety.