Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

Holacracy in Distributed Teams?

Greetings, Is anyone part of an organization that practices or is implementing Holacracy where most (or all) members are remote workers? How do they/we connect?

Is anyone part of an organization that practices or is implementing Holacracy where most (or all) members are remote workers? How do they/we connect? Suggestions?



10 Replies
Tom Mulder

Hello Morgan, several groups are doing that and use tools like Zoom for having their meetings and use Slack for communication. With GlassFrog as your core system for registration and processing of Holacracy you will have the tools available to run distributed teams. 


[@mention:523162737680436711] Thanks for your reply.

As a 100% distributed team in 8 time zones, we use lots of great tools for communication and running meetings including Slack and Zoom. I should have been clearer. I meant connecting to others external to us to share best practices or pains that may be unique to our types of organization. Are there Slack groups already set up for these discussions? 

Juliane Martina Röll

The responsive.org community has a channel on its Slack where issues of distributed organisations are being discussed. (I'm active there.)

Kevin Bombino

We are a 12 person distributed team with members all over the world.  We use Zoom and Slack, but I do think it is very key to have at least some in-person meetings as well.  It is a lot easier to learn the process and get good at facilitating when you meet in person.


[@mention:471931473830882854] I agree... although we've not had that opportunity...yet. So many subtle cues from body language are missed from video. How many in-person meetings has your team been able to have? What was the difference? 

Kevin Bombino

We meet in person 4 times a year currently, and we are strongly considering raising that to 6.  It is definitely an improvement, but I also think there is some natural limit to the improvement based on frequency of in-person.  For example, I am not sure that 12 times a year would be twice as good as 6.


Hi [@mention:550748956143473957] - we're an entirely remote organization, currently across 4 time zones and two continents... and working through the difficulties of maintaining connection and regular practices. Our US-based holacracy structure I feel is strong, but I'm working on how even to present the tensions that arise from the time-zone difficulties... issues such as whether to have different circles per region (to facilitate governance in that time zone) etc.  Would love to hear what you're facing, and what you're doing about it.



Hi [@mention:491073019777409299] Brandon, 

We do a lot of the "heavy lifting" in Async through Slack, Asana or video snippets so we can discuss a topic generally. Raising a Tension is done either in the meeting during agenda creation or Async through a "governance out of meeting" process. It seems to work fairly well so far. 

We have rotating Tactical/Governance meetings once a week (overkill for sure) but if the allotted time isn't needed we use it as a "get to know Holacracy" session where people can raise questions about Constitution, vocabulary, processes etc. 

Our first circle is located in two time zones with very little overlap. They use the above tools to communicate as well and have short calls and Circle specific tags in Asana. It's really our trial balloon as we need to find a way to make that work so we can roll it out as we grow. 

In person meetings are not possible at this time, although it's a goal to have them once a year. 


PS: Feel free to PM me if you'd like to dive in deeper!

Jalmari Kivinen

Hello [@mention:550748956143473957], I'm building also a multi-timezone remote team.

My biggest question so far is the onboarding process, when you get new remote team members (so haven't met these ever face to face).

I'm wondering if there are best practices or some kind procedure to follow, so you can ensure that people really engage to this Holacracy model. So have you found or invented any?

So it would be anyway more upfront investments from me, because I have to hire these people and let them to study and internalize this stuff before things are getting businesswise on a productive level.


Great question [@mention:562150194299319857] . We have a process, but I'd say its a work in progress. Part of the onboarding process is a whole section of readings, videos, articles, gifs etc. We also have the new hires sit as observers in both meetings at the first 8 weeks. I then take time right after the meeting with them to answer any questions while they are fresh in the brain. 

I find that since the jobs page has a few links to Holacracy intro videos and we also ask interview questions related to the mindset required, we haven't yet had someone who isn't excited or someone who makes huge mistakes. Sure there are missteps, but we all do it, and we learn from them.