When the team was much smaller (like 7 people), Buffer held daily standup meetings with the whole team. Eventually time zone differences between the US, UK and Asia made it impossible to find a good time of day to meet.
We thought about how we could keep the face-to-face aspect that is so key in a distributed team, and from that thought process the idea of the pair call was born.
How the pair call works
It works like this: Each week, through a round robin algorithm, each member of Buffer is paired with a different teammate. On Sunday or Monday we’ll get alerted to a Google Doc that looks like this (sorry, there are so many of us now that I can’t fit the whole team in one screenshot!).
Once we find out the week’s pairs, one member of the duo will get in touch with the other to set up a good time to chat. Then we sync daily for about 10-20 minutes via a Sqwiggle video call, to talk about what we’re working on that day and what improvements we’re hoping to make that week.
What we’ve found is that if you pick any two places in the world, there is usually a time that works well for both that sits within “normal working hours.” Extreme cases can be 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. or so, but generally it has been very manageable.
Even timings that are difficult are often worth negotiating around as they give us a chance to connect with some of our faraway teammates we may not have touched base with in a while.
Building these relationships and friendships is really worthwhile, and it’s great to support each other in our work and personal lives and take time to get to know each other better!
Here’s an inside look at a pair call I recently did with my awesome teammate Nicole:
Do you think a process like this could make sense to help connect you to team members at your workplace? Do you have questions about the pair call we didn’t get to? We’d love to hear your thoughts on pair calls in the comments.