I have been working remotely with my office colleagues in the same timezone but 2,500kms away for about 2 years now. I work from Delhi and my office is in Bangalore. I have been visiting Bangalore no more frequently than once every 8 weeks for a week or two.
But there are quite a few things which can help you sail through:
- Build Trust – this is the MOST IMPORTANT thing.
- Make yourself available as much as you can – over IM / email / Phone. Let your colleagues know that they can call you anytime, so that they get a feeling that you are just a phone call / ping away.
- Visit frequently and utilize it in relationship building, making folks comfortable. Go for coffees, lunches, dinners with key people every single day when you are at the office site.
- Manage your emotions – phone audio and emails do not convey the body language / tone of the conversation very well. You can easily upset your counterparts and vice-versa. Learn to manage that – be extra cautious.
- Find a way to whiteboard remotely –
- My method was to have lots of re-usable diagrams already prepared which I could use while talking to different people. This became easy with the help of google docs – drawings. All my drawings were on Google docs and I could just send across a link for the other person to open and see. AND you could actually edit the diagram / highlight / color it in real-time while explaining it over phone.
- A whiteboard type setup – Wacom tablet for drawing on Microsoft OneNote with a screen share. This is the one I have. It worked wonders. I could always open up OneNote and start drawing what I am thinking in the middle of a discussion.
- Faster turnaround on emails – make folks comfortable. Decide your own turnaround. Mine was max 1 day. In special cases – 2 days.
Would love to hear your thoughts too :), share them in the comments section below.