What’s it like to collaborate with a global team, spread across seven different time zones, with customers in every reach of the world?
There’s actually no reason why it shouldn’t go smoothly, so long as there’s a defined team structure in place, with every colleague knowing his or her role. Throw in a bit of flexibility among the team, add some sense of humor and patience for the occasional blunder and you’re basically ready to go.
Daily – Video calls and Slack channels
So, what’s the reason the Framery Sales team is so spread out? To be closer to our distributors and customers, no matter where they happen to be. Each member is the go-to representative of Framery for his or her own market area.
This could mean a specific city anywhere in the world. Or it could mean an entire state in the United States. It could even mean the responsibility for being Framery’s go-to person for an entire country.
For us, we rarely get to see one another as colleagues in person, so we make video calls a daily routine. Framery has tens of different Slack channels, which are seemingly more and more active at all hours of the day and night. On the Sales team, we have our own Slack channel to share information and thoughts. And for more informal business to keep it a bit lighter, we even have channel names like #propellerheads, #framery_dogs and #random.
Weekly – Sales Monday meeting
Many workers out there may not agree, but it’s not unusual for the best time of the week for us to be Monday mornings. This is when we get to see our one another. Not only is coming together weekly at our Monday meeting necessary for team management and organization, it’s also important and vital for keeping the team spirit soaring.
“Not only is coming together weekly at our Monday meeting necessary for team management and organization, it’s also important and vital for keeping the team spirit soaring.”
Time differences are just a reality with any global team. So, to make things more practical for all and cut down on late-night calls for some, we decided the US team would host their own Monday meeting, while our colleagues in Europe and Asia would hold theirs. Notes from each and every one of our team meetings are then shared into our company’s Wiki, for everyone in the company to have access to.
Monthly – Sales team meeting
Once a month, the whole global Sales team shows up. Virtually, that is. In the one-hour session, we’ll typically go through important information to share with one another, while the topic of training might come up. As in the Monday meetings, the notes of these monthly meetings are then shared to Framery’s internal Wiki.
Quarterly – Sales team meeting
Four times a year, the global Sales team get together in person. No, it’s not a lot. But we’re committed to supporting our customers, so our own get-togethers will always need to take a back seat to their requests and needs.
Each quarter we focus on a different theme. Sometimes it’s training for new skills and sometimes we’ll bring in and meet with different teams from Framery’s headquarters in Finland.
Across all our regions, we’re always cooperating in a range of areas, wherever it makes sense to, including meeting times. This could mean early mornings and late evenings for everyone. So, flexibility is key. Everybody makes room to stretch their calendars, ensuring our common meetings can take place with all of us in attendance. No question, these can be challenging with the time differences, but we typically make it work.
And mistakes happen, from time to time. After all, we’re human. Even if a one-hour time difference sounds simple, we’ve noticed just that single hour can be the trickiest one, as there’s no way to see on the surface which time zone your computer or smartphone have chosen. So, did that calendar booking really mean 10:00 Eastern European Time? Or was it Central European Time? Flights times, flight delays, jetlag and other realities of global travel also bring their own challenges during these four-times-per-year meetups that typically take place in just a day.
Benefits to our advantage
All in all, though, even while Framery prides itself in streamlined, flexible and bureaucratic-free ways-of-working, having these team structures in place truly benefit. The combination of having local customers, regional colleagues, a global team, and the Tampere, Finland headquarters give us not only the best of both but the best of all worlds.