PR From Afar: Tips for Effective Cross-Office Collaboration

Remote working – whether from home, the local coffee shop, the airport or even from an office in a different city – can offer attractive flexibility for employees. And as companies accepted this change and redefined the ‘what’ and ‘where’ of a workplace, I’m thankful SHIFT Communications is on board.

I recently made a personal decision to move to Austin, Texas (keep it weird, y’all) while continuing my role as an account executive at SHIFT. Working from our shiny new office in the ATX has been an exciting and challenging adventure, especially with the rest of my team in San Francisco.

When I made the switch to Texas, I had the chance to speak with many individuals at SHIFT who have worked remotely. For your reading pleasure, I’ve gone ahead and assembled their advice, plus a few additional tips and tricks.

Communicate like it’s your profession

As we all know, it’s vital that any and all directions, questions, ideas and feedback are communicated to teammates clearly and effectively. It can be easy for certain subtleties to slip through the cracks of email correspondence. The most useful piece of advice I’ve received is to over communicate in every aspect of your cross-office experience. Ask questions as soon as you have them and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone for clarification. Remember, it’s always best to over communicate and ensure everyone is on the same page than for projects to get done incorrectly due to a lack of understanding.

Get ready for your close up

Working in a cross-office environment has taught me the benefits of using video chat and video conferencing. Each morning, our team starts off the day with a quick tasks meeting using video. It’s a simple and easy way to feel closer and more connected to your team. Another fun idea is to hold a happy hour with your team using video conferencing. Depending on the time difference it might need to be a mimosa, but it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, right? I know it sounds hokey, but it’s an easy way to enable small talk that wouldn’t be had in a task meeting or client call.

Let your team know your whereabouts

Be diligent in letting your team know your whereabouts – even something as simple as where you went for lunch or when you’re grabbing coffee. When you work with a team in the same physical location, it’s easy to take for granted the ability to see if your teammate is at their desk, stepping out to lunch or heading home for the day. Giving your team the heads up of what you’re up to may seem excessive, but it’s a helpful way for your teammates to feel even more connected.

Keep it real

When you don’t work in the same office as your team, it can be easy for all of your conversation to be stiff or to just focus around work. We all get caught up in our busy days, but I encourage those working remotely to make the time to catch up with coworkers. Talking about the weekend, asking about dinner plans or talking about how many times you cried in the new Star Wars movie are great ways to build in some friendly conversation.

PR Without Borders

When you love your job but are looking for a new city experience, cross-office collaboration can offer the ultimate work/life balance scenario. While I was uncertain at first, I’ve learned that with a few best practices in mind, I can maintain strong relationships with coworkers from afar and continue to work productively with my teammates – while at the same time living in a new city and working for a great company. For all those cross-office collaborators or those considering cross-office collaboration, I’d highly recommend these quick tips for a more seamless work experience.

Andrew Smith
Account Executive

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Posted on January 7, 2016 in Agency Life, Professional Development

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