Following the pandemic, many of us have enjoyed and held onto our ability to work from home. Most members of the workforce will spend around 90,000 hours of their lifetime working, so it’s no wonder we want to find ways to avoid commuting and having to go into an office. There's a reason why more companies are building distributed teams and embracing a distributed workforce model.
Even before the pandemic, Forbes stated that 70% of the workforce in America didn’t think it was necessary to complete their day-to-day tasks in the office. Now, many companies have begun to rethink how they can optimize attracting talent from outside of just one location.
In this guide, we’ll break down exactly what distributed teams are, and 5 reasons why they are essential to companies looking to prepare for the future of work.
Distributed teams are made up of employees and contractors who work all over the world with no central office location. The distributed work setup challenges the traditional in-office setting and gives employees a different experience in their day-to-day lives.
Many companies, not only in the US but around the world, have had issues finding the right talent for key positions. Not only that, but attracting the right talent and retaining this talent has become a huge cost and issue. Companies have bridged this recruiting gap by structuring their team as a distributed workforce.
Distributed teams are different from remote teams as they don’t have a centrally located headquarters or locations. This means that they are based in different locations, even though they might be centered around certain geographies (we call this a "hub"). This means you could have a marketing director living in London, an SEO consultant working from Miami, and your content writers based in Mexico.
Most remote teams still have to go into the office sometimes, while members of distributed teams can usually avoid in-person meetings all together.
One of the biggest reasons that distributed teams have become so popular is the workforce itself. 76% of millennials agreed that they place flexibility in the workplace, above even their salary, as one their biggest draws when applying for jobs.
Many members of the workforce have begun to adopt a digital nomad lifestyle and want to be able to travel and live free while still being able to work. Most importantly, being able to work for a distributed team allows you to save money by not having to pay for commuting and all the other added expenditures of working in an office.
Gone are the days of working to live. Today, there is a much greater emphasis on having a good work/life balance.
Today, more than ever, we have the technology to make communication and collaboration between distributed teams possible, though the fully distributed model has its drawbacks as well (people still crave in-person connections, even if they are occasional).
Advancements in software have made just about anything possible, including:
Video conference calls
Instant messaging through applications like Slack
Businesses have everything they need to set their distributed team up for success. If you are building a distributed team, setting up a project management system for your employees is a must. That way, you can have visibility into what team members in different time zones are doing throughout the day.
Here we'll share 5 reasons why distributed teams are the future of work and tips on how to make them successful.
Structuring your workforce as a distributed team gives you the largest opportunity for acquiring talent. Instead of only being able to hire from your own city, you now have access to not only top workers in a given field, but independent contractors and freelancers working around the glboe.
You should tailor your company culture to help you manage a diverse distributed and remote team.
Giving fully remote teams the opportunity to work from anywhere and have a part in structuring their workday can seriously boost employee wellness.
Traditionally, if you wanted to travel or relocate, you had to either transfer somewhere that also had a company headquarters or find a new career entirely.
Working remotely for a distributed team, on the other hand, gives you room for more flexibility on how you plan out and manage your workday. You might take the extra time to cook yourself a healthy meal, fit in time with your family without adding commuting, or even factor in time to exercise–all things that lead to better emotional stability and prevent burnout.
Moving away from having an office setting allows companies to give up their office spaces and reduce overhead costs.
Many companies try to repurpose this extra budget by giving better employee perks for their distributed team members, which leads to happier employees. Not having to pay for an actual headquarters for employees to report to everyday makes it easier for companies to use that extra money for other, more productive, avenues in their business.
If you have employees based in the same city, on the other hand, consider investing in a co-working space so that your hub can meet up once or twice a week. It's cheaper than renting an office space, and you're team can still greatly benefit from face-to-face interactions.
Distributed teams help businesses move with agility. With technology moving at such a fast pace and businesses needing to keep up with that demand, having distributed teams working at all hours of the day opens up more opportunities.
Having team members all over the world working 24 hours of the day, for instance, allows them to answer customer support and calls and complete projects at different times throughout a 24-hour period. You’ll have enough support from your distributed team to give you everything you need to satisfy your customers.
You also have the ability to test out different markets around the world, especially if you’re planning to expand your business across borders.
Although working remotely is not for everyone, this method of work generally Business increases employee productivity.
Those in favor of in-office work argue that working from home would offer more distractions. However, if you properly guide your remote employees and can quantitatively measure your distributed teams progress, you’ll easily be able to tell who can work at their own pace. Try to avoid micromanaging employees and instead gauge their overall productivity.
Employees can use their extra time to get a head start on projects or take time to process their work without feeling rushed.
If you’re thinking about cutting out the cost of paying for office space, or if you simply want access to remote team members from all around the world, you’ll likely want to consider the pros and cons of a distributed team.
Larger access to talent
Increased employee wellness
No central location
Conflict with time zones
Lack of face-to-face interaction
Distracting home environments
Lack of company culture
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