Canva’s mission as a global company is to empower anyone to design anything and publish anywhere. For this reason, distributed teams have been a huge contributor to the internationalisation of Canva and our growth. With different time zones, language barriers and cultural nuances, there’s a lot to consider to make remote work run smoothly. It’s been really important to ensure everyone working remotely feels as integrated into the team as our people do in Canva’s offices.
Great communication for us will always be key: now, in 2020 and well into the future. Whether it’s via Slack, Zoom meetings or traveling for face-to-face meetings, it’s imperative that everyone (wherever they are in the world) has the same context and level of communication as much as possible. Company-wide announcements are often held in Sydney, Canva’s HQ, and whilst it’s not always convenient for remote members to dial-in due to time differences, we find it really important to ensure these meetings are recorded and shared globally within the business. We have an internal team dedicated to recording and sharing every important update.
We also launched our International (i18n) Group Canvazine, which is emailed monthly to distributed team members throughout the world. The newsletter informs (and celebrates!) the various wins, launches and learnings within Canva over the previous month.
The Canvazine sheds light on new product features which may be of particular value in a given market. For example, our Brazilian team was thrilled to learn about our Sticker Library and Search rollout. They’re especially great for tapping into our Social Media user base, which is fairly large in Brazil, and should give doctypes like Video, Instagram Stories, and the like an extra visual boost.
The Canvazine also features a different distributed team member every month, which is a great way to help put names to faces! In each monthly profile, the team member shares a bit about themselves (what they do at Canva, what they’re passionate about, their favorite place in the world, and other fun facts).
Having a centralised Confluence page for all things i18n has also been valuable for our distributed teams. They’re able to access information on ongoing projects initiatives, team structures and resources 24 hours a day, rather than having to wait for their Sydney or Manila counterparts to be online (which doesn’t always align with time zones across the world). It also breaks down the knowledge “black box” that can often occur with a HQ framework, and empowers all team members to take initiative and be proactive.
Lastly, we also try to provide frequent opportunities for distributed team members to present their own work, learnings and market insights to Canva at large (usually via video conferencing). This has been super engaging for team members in Sydney and Manila — it’s so easy to fall into the trap of wearing our own project “blinders”, when there’s actually so much interesting and cool work going on throughout the company, and the world!
By Rachel Carruthers, International Operations Manager
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