Even if you work remotely, personal meetings are really important. Sometimes you have to travel and meet your colleagues personally. In that term, there are only two differences between a regular job and working remotely: first, you have to meet your team – rarely but regularly – and second, you have to use your time wisely.
I work in a small city and it takes me about 3 hours to meet my co-workers personally. But also, our team works together with an other team that is on the other side of the planet: we work in Hungary (UT+1h) and they are working in Santa Barbara (UTC-8h). That means, we have no common time window during our regular workday at all. They just woke up when we go home. It is somehow horrible because it takes one day just to answer a single question. Actually, I am going to write about the time zone problems later, now let’s see how important the personal meeting is and what are my personal goals for this week.
The Importance of Personal Meetings
If you never meet your team at all, you are something like a robot. You get the task as and give the solution as an output. Actually, in real life, you have to deal with real people. They breathe, eat, and they have feelings. They are not robots.
When I have a chance to meet a team personally, the most important for me is to get familiar with the people. I watch them as they speak, I want to know about their family background, their relationships, hobbies, caffeine habits, sports preferences and so on.
You could ask me the question: why I deal with all of these and the answer is very simple; I have to do anything that is possible to make our future work more efficiently. It is a lot more easy to start a conversation with somebody if I know him. I know where they take a small rest in the middle of their sentence, I know when I must not disturb them and I am able to just talk with them how to make our possible professional arguments less painful in the future.
Every single person in the team that I have to work with counts. Also, I need to know how to pronounce their names. For the first sight, it sounds strange but it is more comfortable for them if I call them by their names not just wondering what I should say.
My first-day results
Just during the first two days, I have collected a lot of information.
I know that my boss likes to play ultimate frisbee (that is a crazy sport if you have never had to run in the sand of the seaside). I know he has a son who plays in a rock band and he has to carry instruments in his car.
Our architect is going to be a father in about two months and likes to fly. He is a member of a local airplane group and he flies regularly. He also likes to drink a beer and has been working with the fellow engineer for about 10 years. They can understand each other’s thoughts in a second without saying any words.
I could write a long list about the rest of our team, but I think you already got my point: I make personal connections to make our work easier. And that pays off in the future!