Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute is headquartered in San Francisco, but we have teachers and program coordinators all over the world and also work with telecommuting colleagues. We’ve found that collaboration in the digital era has logistical challenges, but “distributed work” (when team members are not in the same physical location) includes another level of complexity: How do we establish a feeling of connection with coworkers who aren’t around for an impromptu cup of coffee or a quick deskside chat?
In their findings, Google reports “no difference in the effectiveness, performance ratings, or promotions for individuals and teams whose work requires collaboration with colleagues around the world versus Googlers who spend most of their day to day working with colleagues in the same office.”
We’ve discovered, however, that it’s more difficult to establish a connection with faraway team members. The logistical efforts required to coordinate across time zones or book a video chat are greater and more distancing than in-person connections. These elements, as well as the actual lack of face-to-face time, can create barriers that inhibit the bonds we make more easily with coworkers in closer proximity. Google experienced the same problem. To help teams feel more connected, Google highlights three recommendations:
In addition to Google’s recommendations, we’ve discovered a few other practices that help us connect with remote colleagues at SIYLI: