…in English, it’s a team. Either way, it’s tough to build.

This Inc. article covers the things XPLANE has done to connect our global offices.

To make communicating easier, XPLANE switched to Web-based phone service; now, co-workers dial only four numbers to call one another instead of 13. [CEO Aric] Wood set up a wiki with pictures of employees from all three offices. [Project manager Stephen] O’Flynn became an unofficial ambassador to the U.S., going out of his way to call colleagues in Portland and St. Louis for input and urging his office mates to do the same. “I did a lot of brokering to get people talking,” he says.

The technology has improved communication, but it’s no substitute for face time, Wood says. Instead of spending money on a one-off team building trip, Xplane started a year-round employee exchange program. Last year, the company rented apartments in Madrid and Portland and spent $20,000 flying employees back and forth for weeklong visits. About 16 employees have crossed the Atlantic. “We tried to close the gap through technology,” Wood says, “but ultimately we had to buy a lot of airline tickets.”