Life on the Road: The Ups & Downs of Managing Remote Teams

As the CEO of a company with teams in Medellin and New York, working remotely in cafes and hotels and juggling Skype and Gmail is an art form I’ve have come to master over time.

My partner Eddie Arrieta and I recruited a team that is multinational and as a result, travel and remote work has been imbedded into our company culture. However, as our team expands and company grows, we’ve learned to set more realistic limits on working away from the office. Here are some things we’ve learned over time:

A-player or not, accept that travel does affect productivity

Regardless of how seasoned a traveller you are, days spent in airports and in different time zones can be draining.

For this reason, it’s important your team plan ahead of time to travel effectively and that they are realistic about the amount of time spent in ‘dead zones’ that different modes of transport will entail. Flights are generally least expensive on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, however this also means time lost during the middle of the work week. I generally try to plan long flights over the weekend.

If you’re traveling for shorter distances, I find buses or trains to be best for getting work done, as there’s more space and often is wifi. Most international airports have reliable wifi, however not in all cases — I’m looking at you JFK airport.

Then there are the distractions. If you have a team member visiting Paris for a 48 hour trip, the reality is he or she won’t want to spend time stuck in a cafe working. If you don’t want work to be affected, I recommend at least a week minimum in each location. If a team member mentions he or she wanting to spend a handful of days in each city, prepare for a drop in productivity.