Setting up a self organising remote team or office

Matt Hallmann
4 min readNov 21, 2020

For most of us, it is already challenging enough to manage one team in one location. Having multiple remote teams or offices creates complications, but also creates opportunity. Growth and internationalisation brings bliss, but very often also leads to problems and challenges that are there to overcome. Mostly, these challenges will revolve around these topics:

  • Communication
  • Performance
  • Company culture

While not all topics might be relevant for you now, most of them will be a talking point, felt tension or issue at some point. In itself, setting up and having one or more remote teams can already stretch the capabilities of your organisation and the humans within. Does self organisation make this more difficult? In most cases the answer is no. I’ve had the opportunity to experience setting up a remote office in a Holacractic environment from 2016 to 2019 for Springest and learning how to deal with the above mentioned topics, in combination with self organisation.

I’ll focus on my experience in setting up and maintaining a self organised remote team.

Getting remote communication started

Remote teams and communication are always a difficult combination. Although there are many tools available these days to make your life easy, it’s never really easy. Combine this with self organisation (and in my concrete example Holacracy) and it very quickly becomes even more complex.

When I moved to Berlin from Amsterdam to Berlin, I had to find a place to work as soon as possible. After a week of sitting in cool cafes, I quickly realised that although it might at first seem amazing, it really is not. Working remotely in a cafe makes meeting and calls difficult (background noise) and video calls with clients or colleagues awkward (why are there people walking around).

Renting a whole office for one person didn’t make sense, but to increase clarity and my availability for colleagues and clients, I had to find a set space quickly. A pro tip is to just ask other companies if you can stay with them for a while. By doing so, you’ll learn so much about a new city, how people work, plus it makes your life easy. I quickly found a desk at…