7 Amazing Ways To Cultivate Team Collaboration Across 3 Time Zones

January 9, 2016

by Jilayne Lovejoy | Director of Marketing, CLICKON Media

Most companies don’t have to grapple with organizing multiple teams on different continents until they grow up a bit. At CLICKON we have been fortunate enough to expand our team quite quickly but with that also came the need to be present in new time zones. The immediate challenge of ensuring a strong team environment spread across three cities and two countries was not something that any of us had encountered before.

Our two main concerns quickly became successful internal communication and representing our brand consistently. We knew from the start that email and phone calls alone were not going to cut it. We are still far from perfecting our strategy but have come a long way in the past 6 months. Here are a few of our favorite ways to keep the lines of communication between team members not only open but facilitating killer collaboration.

1. Slack

Main benefit: central hub of communication across all devices
At first it seemed like Slack might just be yet another instant messaging system to log into but oh it’s so much better than that. Our CEO, Richard, got us all grooving on Slack last Spring and it quickly became our central hub of communication. The ability to have everyone in one place and divide teams into specific threads is a huge help. Possibly the biggest bonus of Slack is the ability to sync it across all devises and receive push notifications of new messages. This separates out a lot of important team messaging from the endless emails coming through from all over the place.

2. Dropbox

Main benefit: organization & easy view of recent documents
We use Dropbox as our hub for all documents and our favorite feature is the most recently added/edited drop down & notifications. This feature makes it super easy to see the latest work from fellow team members and work on the same documents. The other obvious benefit of course is not needing to email documents back and forth.

3. WhatsApp

Main benefit: quick messaging from continent to continent
We used to use WhatsApp more often before Slack came along. It hasn’t completely been abandoned though. We still message on WhatsApp when on the road and in different countries. It seems to be a bit quicker and more user-friendly than texting.

4. Skype

Main benefit: “face time” through video chats
There is NOTHING as good as a face-to-face visit. Skype is therefore our best option. Our team makes a conscious effort to click that Skype video button instead of constantly texting on Slack. It’s so easy to get in a rut of only texting/emailing which is dangerous because so much information gets left out. Just like a normal in-person meeting it’s always a good idea to follow up video calls with a summary of topics covered so that you can refer back when needed.

5. Trello

Main benefit: project specific communication
None of the platforms listed above can do what Trello does. A place to keep a funnel of tasks and files for specific projects is essential. Trello has been our favorite tool for this so far.

6. Pipe Drive

Main benefit: sales specific communication
Pipe Drive is really similar to Trello but specific to the sales process. Our team needed a replacement for Sales Force. We didn’t like the UX of Sales Force and it was a bit too complex for our needs and small team. Pipe Drive is a perfect alternative as it has a nice and clean interface.

7. iDoneThis

Main benefit: visibility
This is the latest addition to our arsenal of communication tools. It hasn’t become a regular habit yet but is already becoming a helpful tool. Each team member gets an email at 7pm asking what they were up to that day. Once you click reply it prompts you to list out each item that you got to. iDoneThis seems to be helpful for both user and viewer as it gives you a moment at the end of the day to think about what you were able to accomplish and what should be top priority the next day. As a viewer it is helpful to have a better understanding of what people are up to in other offices so that everyone can be sure to stay on the same pace with projects and in-the-know about new projects.

For more information, get in touch with us at agency@clickon.co