Do you build inter-office interaction?

Last updated by Brady Stroud [SSW] 6 days ago.See history

When a company has many different office locations, often people in one office aren't familiar with people in other offices due to a lack of interaction. This problem is particularly pronounced where you have offices that span multiple time zones or countries.

Tip: You can use the website timeanddate.com to know the time difference between offices. You may also install one of the numerous apps to help with that info.

What can be improved?

It is crucial to build interaction between all company offices because it often improves the following:

  • Communication
  • Relationships
  • Technical Skills
  • Access to resources

    • Knowing who has certain skills
    • Knowing who can provide you with localized or domain specific information
  • Cooperation
  • Confidence
  • Knowledge of alternative approaches
  • Cultural understanding
  • Understanding of foreign perspectives

    • Knowing why someone from another culture responds to questions in a different way to what you are used to

Methods

Think about what your company can do to increase interaction. There are tonnes of unique ways that interaction can be developed. Examples include:

  • Team building activities

    • Playing a game together
    • Solving a puzzle together
    • Reviewing/updating a company standard together
    • Go on a group trip to the Great Wall of China
    • Visit local companies together
    • Retreat - Have a company retreat to bring everyone together
  • Cultural Exchange programs

    • Having employees from China work in every Australian office for a month each or vice versa
    • Having developers from Brisbane spend a week in Melbourne
  • Mentoring
  • Working together

    • Pair programming
    • Mob programming
    • Sitting together to work side-by-side
  • Cultural events

    • Celebrating holidays from other countries
    • Having a cultural performance day where everyone chooses something cultural to perform such as a culturally relevant poem
  • Creating cross-office teams

    • Putting developers from the China office onto a project with Australian developers
  • A fun weekly company meeting

    • Everyone meets on Friday for 30 minutes to discuss a fun question
  • Rotating Daily Scrum

    • Each week, 1 person from each office is paired up to do a Daily Scrum with others
  • Virtual coffee events

    • People from different offices are paired up to have virtual coffee
  • Get people involved with events for others offices (especially other countries)

    • A Chinese dev does a presentation at the Sydney User Group
  • Organize meetings to discuss culturally different issues

    • Everyone talks about localization or WeChat Mini-Programs
    • Have a weekly language exchange catchup
  • Film videos about other offices

    • What is it like to work in the China office?
    • What are the differences in the app market in China and Australia? I.e. WeChat vs Facebook etc
    • Localization - What is your reaction if you see Chinese on a web page?
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