Skip to content
Shishir's Guide to Distributed Teams
Share
Explore

4. IRL


Principle: Human connection matters

I've found that the ability for a team to work well distributed is greatly amplified if they have formed a baseline of personal connection and trust. There's just no substitution for face-to-face, "in real life" (IRL) interactions. Interestingly, it doesn't have to be constant; and if done well, an infrequent but memorable cadence can be even more impactful.

There are lots of ways to make your IRL time count. Claire Hughes Johnson, COO of Stripe, encourages teams to focus on
when they meet in person. Claire also has some great
that have been a big hit with my teams. The key is to make them memorable, and to focus on helping your team building connections.

Plan ahead and set a IRL frequency

I would advise teams to set a clear IRL frequency that gets the whole team together on a fixed annual schedule. It should be at least 1-2 times per year, and for teams that can afford it, I would aim for 4. Moreover, I would guide teams to structure these in a regular format that feels different enough from the everyday work experience that the right bonds and connections can be formed.

At Coda, we assemble the whole team together 4 times per year (once per quarter) for a quarterly
. Not only have some of our best ideas come of this tradition, but hackathons by nature also encourage unexpected teams to form. These connections make all the difference as people go back to their home offices.

Below is Coda's actual company calendar (dates and events are slightly modified). It sounds small, but planning the year out like this makes a big difference for members of your team. We also like to see the calendar in a table view to quickly identify periods where we don't have enough IRL interactions.

a version you can copy and use for your own team.

Today
January 2020
MonthWeekDay
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Q1 Week 1 of 13: OKRs
Q1 Week 2 of 13: Execution
Q1 Week 3 of 13: Execution
Q1 Week 4 of 13: Execution


Company Calendar
1
Quarter
Name
Week Start
Week End
Stage
Special Events
Holidays
Q1
Q1 Week 1 of 13: OKRs
1/6/2020
1/10/2020
OKRs
Q1 Week 2 of 13: Execution
1/13/2020
1/17/2020
Execution
Q1 Week 3 of 13: Execution
1/20/2020
1/24/2020
Execution
Martin Luther King
Q1 Week 4 of 13: Execution
1/27/2020
1/31/2020
Execution
Q1 Week 5 of 13: Execution
2/3/2020
2/7/2020
Execution
Q1 Week 6 of 13: Hackathon
2/10/2020
2/14/2020
Hackathon
Q1 Week 7 of 13: Execution
2/17/2020
2/21/2020
Execution
President's Day
Q1 Week 8 of 13: Execution
2/24/2020
2/28/2020
Execution
Q1 Week 9 of 13: Execution
3/2/2020
3/6/2020
Execution
Q1 Week 10 of 13: Execution
3/9/2020
3/13/2020
Execution
Board meeting
Q1 Week 11 of 13: Execution
3/16/2020
3/20/2020
Execution
Q1 Week 12 of 13: Execution
3/23/2020
3/27/2020
Execution
Q1 Week 13 of 13: Execution
3/30/2020
4/3/2020
Execution
Q2
Q2 Week 1 of 13: OKRs
4/6/2020
4/10/2020
OKRs
Q2 Week 2 of 13: Execution
4/13/2020
4/17/2020
Execution
Q2 Week 3 of 13: Execution
4/20/2020
4/24/2020
Execution
Q2 Week 4 of 13: Execution
4/27/2020
5/1/2020
Execution
Q2 Week 5 of 13: Hackathon
5/4/2020
5/8/2020
Hackathon
Q2 Week 6 of 13: Execution
5/11/2020
5/15/2020
Execution
Q2 Week 7 of 13: Execution
5/18/2020
5/22/2020
Execution
Q2 Week 8 of 13: Execution
5/25/2020
5/29/2020
Execution
Memorial Day
Q2 Week 9 of 13: Execution
6/1/2020
6/5/2020
Execution
Q2 Week 10 of 13: Execution
6/8/2020
6/12/2020
Execution
Q2 Week 11 of 13: Execution
6/15/2020
6/19/2020
Execution
Board meeting
Q2 Week 12 of 13: Execution
6/22/2020
6/26/2020
Execution
Q2 Week 13 of 13: Execution
6/29/2020
7/3/2020
Execution
Q3
Q3 Week 1 of 13: OKRs
7/6/2020
7/10/2020
OKRs
Independence Day
Q3 Week 2 of 13: Execution
7/13/2020
7/17/2020
Execution
Q3 Week 3 of 13: Execution
7/20/2020
7/24/2020
Execution
Q3 Week 4 of 13: Execution
7/27/2020
7/31/2020
Execution
Q3 Week 5 of 13: Execution
8/3/2020
8/7/2020
Execution
Q3 Week 6 of 13: Hackathon
8/10/2020
8/14/2020
Hackathon
Summer trip
Q3 Week 7 of 13: Execution
8/17/2020
8/21/2020
Execution
Q3 Week 8 of 13: Execution
8/24/2020
8/28/2020
Execution
Q3 Week 9 of 13: Execution
8/31/2020
9/4/2020
Execution
Q3 Week 10 of 13: Execution
9/7/2020
9/11/2020
Execution
Labor Day
Q3 Week 11 of 13: Execution
9/14/2020
9/18/2020
Execution
Board meeting
Q3 Week 12 of 13: Execution
9/21/2020
9/25/2020
Execution
Q3 Week 13 of 13: Execution
9/28/2020
10/2/2020
Execution
Q4
Q4 Week 1 of 13: OKRs
10/5/2020
10/9/2020
OKRs
Q4 Week 2 of 13: Execution
10/12/2020
10/16/2020
Execution
Q4 Week 3 of 13: Execution
10/19/2020
10/23/2020
Execution
Q4 Week 4 of 13: Execution
10/26/2020
10/30/2020
Execution
Q4 Week 5 of 13: Execution
11/2/2020
11/6/2020
Execution
Q4 Week 6 of 13: Execution
11/9/2020
11/13/2020
Execution
Q4 Week 7 of 13: Execution
11/16/2020
11/20/2020
Execution
Q4 Week 8 of 13: Execution
11/23/2020
11/27/2020
Execution
Thanksgiving
Q4 Week 9 of 13: Execution
11/30/2020
12/4/2020
Execution
Board meeting
Q4 Week 10 of 13: Hackathon
12/7/2020
12/11/2020
Hackathon
Holiday party
Q4 Week 11 of 13: Execution
12/14/2020
12/18/2020
Execution
Q4 Week 12 of 13: Execution
12/21/2020
12/25/2020
Execution
Christmas
Q4 Week 13 of 13: Execution
12/28/2020
1/1/2021
Execution
New Years
52
Count


👉 Next up:

Want to print your doc?
This is not the way.
Try clicking the ⋯ next to your doc name or using a keyboard shortcut (
CtrlP
) instead.