And that gave me a flashback about a problem that happened to me when I started as a remote developer for the first time in a new startup.
In April 2020, I joined a remote international team with 6 nationalities operating in 4 different timezones. I did not have a proper onboarding process. As I previously meet all the team members many times in casual meetings.
We all thought that should be okay joining and working directly. But it was not.
We did not know each other enough to work together and we did not have team rules for communication and work organizing.
Given that we were working in a startup moving fast to survive during the COVID-19 global pandemic. We faced a lot of communication, behavioral, and organizational problems which led me to leave in less than 2 months.
Although it was a long time ago, I kept thinking about the reason behind this problem. And I found that my teammates did not know me and I did not know them. I did not tell them enough about myself and I did not ask them to tell me about their preferences. We did not set rules.
Eventually, It turned out that we all were having different ways of handling communicating, organizing, and doing work.
Personally, I used to do face to face communication in all of my life. I was bad at expressing my ideas and feeling in writing. Also, I do not like doing work without taking care of planning, process, and organizing tasks flow.
On the other hand, others were less organized but they knew how and where to move their steps with minimal planning. And they preferred writing over face-to-face communication.
With that said, I think it would have smoothed the onboarding process, reduced communication conflicts, and increased the quality of the team environment if we have shared a Work With Me Guide together.
These guides should work as bases to set some team rules and as references to tell more about each team member in the work environment. They should be small, readable, and accessible. And should be used to tell how we work, what we like/dislike, what is the preferred way of communication, ... etc.
One other solution could be a Kick-Off Meeting between team members to know each other and to set some guidelines in the work environment.
Finally, Working in an international environment is challenging. We meet different people from different backgrounds. And these backgrounds affect heavily how people communicate, react, and respond. Even in local teams we can see differences but on a smaller scale.
What may be obvious to you, may not be obvious to your teammate.