laptop screen divided into 4 quadrants showing 4 different people at different times of day
Categories: General

Working on distributed teams

We have over 1,000 people who work at Mozilla. But, “at” Mozilla means a lot of things, as we have ten offices spanning seven countries and six time zones. And, not all of our staff even work in an office (or in a country where we have an office, for that matter): 46% actually work out of their homes, coworking spaces or other remote alternatives (even yurts). Our products touch everyone around the world, and we think it’s good that they are made by people from around the world, too.

This distribution of our talent gives us a lot of flexibility to find the best people, wherever they live. And it importantly allows us to represent a broad group of people in our product design. But, it’s not all roses. Being this globally distributed also poses challenges to how we work, and forces us (in a good way, we think) to be more intentional about how we communicate.

Because Mozilla started in open source, we have much practice at doing this, and we began sharing out some of our best practices with our new hires during the four-day Cultural Onboarding program that we started in 2015. Our goal was to equip our staff to work more effectively and inclusively together on teams that are not physically co-located.

Mozilla video about working on distributed teams

It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it

But we soon realized that this content would be helpful not just for new hires, but for everyone at Mozilla. So we made this video. And we encouraged managers to share it with their teams, and task them with trying out just one or two tips mentioned over the ensuing few weeks. The teams benefited greatly (based on the surveys we sent).

So we thought others may also find it valuable. We got an honorable mention in Ragan’s 2018 Employee Communications Awards for it and we’d love to hear your reactions. Do your teams do these things? Do you have other tips we should add? Or, maybe you want to work here, a place that’s so global? Let us know.