Growth in Distributed Teams
The shift towards distributed teams poses unique leadership challenges for managers accustomed to in-person workplaces. In our exclusive interview, Oleg Danylenko, CEO and Co-Founder of virtual office platform Teemyco, explains that facilitating an inclusive “one team” culture can be difficult when employees are dispersed across locations. However, he offers practical strategies centered on intentional communication, visibility into work contexts, and technology infrastructure optimized for distributed teams.
Onboarding and Culture Challenges
In my interview with Danylenko, he outlined several vital obstacles managers face in leading remote teams:
”Onboarding – New hires may feel disconnected from the organization and team.”
Without conscious efforts to welcome remote workers, onboarding processes designed for office-based teams fail to make virtual hires feel included. Danylenko notes leaders must intentionally foster human connections for distributed new employees. Teemyco's customizable digital workspaces allow managers to build team culture, improve collaboration, and boost engagement across remote teams.
Additionally, managers accustomed to in-person work struggle with team cohesion when people are geographically dispersed. As Danylenko summarized:
“People who are individuals working maybe from South America or from another country in Europe, they felt that, okay, headquarters is where people meet, it's where things happen. And… they didn't really feel included in the same way.”
Tips for Fostering Connections
However, Danylenko offers practical tips for managers to facilitate human connection amongst distributed teams:
Kick Off Projects With Virtual Team Building
Teemyco equips remote team leaders with analytics and tools to track participation, facilitate activities, and nurture relationships between distributed colleagues. Dedicate time at the start of new initiatives or member additions for relationship building:
- Icebreakers and get-to-know-you questions
- Personality assessments
- Team charter creation outlining values and goals
Teemyco creates inclusive virtual offices where managers can motivate remote employees through games, events, accessible communication, and interactive features that foster community.
As Danylenko explains:
“Use virtual team building activities to set the stage for psychological safety and cohesion.”
Create Welcome Spaces for Onboarding
Designate unique virtual spaces for new employees to mingle with team members:
“When you onboard new people, for the first week or two of this person's work, create a room called Welcome John and ask the person to hang out there from time to time in the first weeks.
This gives opportunity for other colleagues to jump in, say hi, introduce in kind of informal way not by scheduling one-on-ones with every single person in the company but in an informal way just making themselves available, signaling, hey I'm open too.”
Set Up Mentorship Programs
Pair new hires with tenured team members for guidance and connections:
- Tailor mentor selection based skills, interests, location
- Provide guides for suggested mentorship activities/questions
- Check-in regularly on progress and challenges
The Role of Technology
In addition to human-focused recommendations, Danylenko emphasizes technology infrastructure plays a crucial role in effective remote leadership:
Specifically, he highlights how Teemyco's virtual office platform provides:
Visibility into team member availability and status
Enables spontaneity to replicate watercooler moments. Knowing if someone is focused or open to chat makes distributed teams more approachable.
Integrations with existing tools
Allows using familiar platforms like Slack without switching technologies. Provides centralized access from the virtual office.
Customizable virtual office design
Mirrors company brand and ways of working. Fosters inclusiveness by allowing remote workers to shape their digital space.
Analytics on engagement
Tracks interactions and surveys engagement over time to gauge connection levels. Refine approaches based on complex data.
Additional Tips for Remote Managers
Teemyco facilitates remote team management by mirroring a physical office's spontaneity and social aspects to unite distributed groups. Beyond the above, Danylenko shares further advice for leaders striving to unite distributed teams:
Encourage Informal Social Interactions
Don't limit conversations to structured meetings. Provide channels for casual socializing:
- Have a virtual watercooler channel for fun conversations
- Start video calls 5 minutes early for casual chat
- Share photos from company events across locations
Clarify Roles and Responsibilities
Ensure everyone understands how work crosses over between team members:
- Document responsibilities for each role
- Discuss which tasks require cross-collaboration
- Share org charts and key contacts
- Cross-train team members where possible
Send Team Recognition
Public praise makes people feel valued and builds camaraderie. Danylenko advises managers to:
- Recognize contributions to key results
- Celebrate wins and milestones
- Show appreciation for collaboration
Measure Progress with Surveys
Quantify engagement and connection levels over time. As Danylenko explains:
“We launched a survey that where after a few weeks of using Teemyco, people responded to a number of questions and rated how much certain aspects changed since they started using Teemyco. And there we actually got really exciting results. So 91% of people reported that they feel more connected to their team.”
Leading distributed teams requires adapting management approaches to focus more on human moments, clarifying direction, celebrating successes, and gathering hard data. With these insights from Teemyco's virtual office platform, managers can nurture an inclusive “one team” culture even with remote employees dispersed globally. As Danylenko aptly summarizes:
“Distributed teams perform best when people trust each other, understand how their work fits together, and feel comfortable being themselves.”
Listen to the Software Spotlight Podcast with Teemyco: In this episode, host Michael Bernzweig interviews Co-founder Oleg Danylenko. The virtual office platform Teemyco aims to facilitate spontaneous interactions and relationship-building between distributed colleagues. Integrations with popular business tools allow users to collaborate in customized workspaces with visibility into team members' availability and status. Over 90% of survey respondents said Teemyco makes them feel more connected to colleagues. With simple per-user pricing, the platform helps unite hybrid and remote teams.