One of the greatest benefits of the office workplace is said to be the natural creativity that occurs among colleagues everyday social interactions with each other. Spending 8+ hours in an office with the same people every day naturally means relationships develop. When coworkers and even members of different teams become comfortable with each other and comfortable working in the same space, synergy between teams can occur naturally. Synergy in organizations is the value each individual member has coming together to form a more perfect product. Essentially, does the team, or group of teams, bring together their varied skills to serve their common goal. Particularly in the tech space, it has become more common to have remote or partially remote teams spread across the globe. This presents a number of difficulties. Synergy within teams and among different teams is paramount to a startup tech company that is hoping to grow. Different departments thrive on their ability to communicate and take the best of each team. How do remote and international teams promote and foster synergy?
One of the most important ways to create better synergy between remote and international teams is to make sure that communication and the opportunity for collaboration exists. Setting clear moments where teams come together to speak via videoconference can achieve this (Cigano, 2018). However, it is important to make sure that remote teams do not fall into the same trap that in office teams often do–which is scheduling meetings for the sake of having meetings on the calendar. Meetings should have a clear goal and all members should be asked to contribute. These meetings should always be conducted via videoconferencing rather than just emailing (Cigano, 2018). Videoconferencing can help remote teams associate their team members as real people behind their ideas.
Team synergy is something that comes from the leadership. This does not change if a team or entire company is remotely distributed. This means that leadership must set the tone for team synergy. Consistency is a key that a leader must reinforce in how remote synergy is fostered. This means that if a remote team meets every week on Monday at 3pm, that is the meeting time they all meet (“Steps to Build Remote Team Synergy”, n.d.). This means that team members understand the expectations around the way they work together as a team as a whole. A leader must reinforce that these expectations do not fall away as time goes by and member become more independent. Team members should have a clearly defined and consistent understanding of how they are expected to collaborate on a regular basis. Doing so will help create more opportunities for synergy.
Another factor that can be an added difficulty for remote teams is if they are also from different cultures. In my own small business of 12 people we have people from the United States, Slovenia, Spain, Romania, Hungary, The United Kingdom and Russia. Not only is there difficulty of not being in the same place at the same time, but there is added difficulty of being from different cultures. Synergy in and of itself is a way to help solve this issue. Creating a singular goal that multiple members of the team from different countries are all working towards, can help build synergy (“Cross-Cultural Conflict and its Resolution”, n.d.).
Ultimately, synergy is not impossible among remotely distributed international teams. Just as covid-19 has changed the world, so has the introduction of technology that allows businesses to save money by having more employees work remotely. In fact, many employees see this as a benefit. This means that leaders must work hard to create the opportunity for synergy among their remote teams.
Cigano, S. (2018, December 3). How to Drive Synergy Between Remote Employees. Loom. https://www.loom.com/blog/how-to-drive-synergy-between-remote-employees.
Cross-Cultural Conflict and Its Resolution. Penn State Canvas Login. https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2075490/modules/items/29697182.
TelecommutersTalk, & *, N. (2018, November 12). Steps to Build Remote Team Synergy. TelecommutersTalk. https://telecommuterstalk.com/steps-to-build-remote-team-synergy/.