Step-by-Step Guide Managing Distributed Teams in 2021

by Naveed Ahmed
managing distributed teams

Following the Covid 19 pandemic, globally businesses and organizations have devised new and innovative ways to ensure the survival of their operations. As with the pandemic, companies that have failed to analyze the changing trends and did not adopt new methods of doing business have faced unimaginable losses. It was equal to another wave of economic depression for people such as company owners, employees, and others. Moreover, when it comes to the online business, there are a variety of options available. 

For the convenience of online business, some wonderful and simple-to-use programs have been launched. Remoty is one of them. This application enables employees to communicate with each other across many other applications.

Remoty will assist you in assigning work and allowing staff to check-in online without difficulty. It allows you to keep track of your staff and see what they’re up to. Aside from that, there’s a lot more. Remoty is the best managing tool for all the distributed teams out there.

Although known before, amidst the covid 19, the revolutionary concept of remote and distributed teams has taken the world by storm. However, those companies who adapt to it the fastest will thrive the fastest. 

So, let’s explore what is the system of distributed teams, how much potential it has and how you can manage distributed teams with ease.

What is Distributed Team System

Prior to covid-19, the traditional methods of work that everyone is familiar with were prevalent. All employees were required to arrive at the workplace at a predetermined time and begin working on their assigned tasks. They had to stay for a certain amount of time, finish their work, and then leave the workspace. This type of work model had been used for generations until the Covid 19 pandemic hit the world.

The announcement of lockdowns and social isolation made it critical to find a new solution to this problem. Businesses need to remain vigilant to all types of hazards and natural disasters to avoid future disadvantages. 

For many businesses staying vigilant and alert can be a thought-provoking task, and if done accurately the businesses can flourish even in the hardest of times. Having said that, because of the availability of new innovative tools and technology available today, many businesses have chosen to implement distributed team systems.

So, what is the distributed team system? When employees of a single company exist in multiple places, such as their homes, other cities, and countries. 

In other words, the company’s teams and employees do not share a common real workstation and can work from a coffee shop, a mall, a café, a cabin, a hotel, or a library. They can be working in an office as well. So, this is a company’s distributed team system.

If explained in other words, the distributed teams can be similar to a hybrid team. Some employees of the company will be working offline on the workspace. While the others will be working from any other location that they seem fit. 

This is a practical solution that many companies have come up with due to the pandemic. Many employees who work remotely are mostly the ones who prefer to work remotely. 

While the ones who desire to work on the workstation work there by their choice, that is if not restricted by the lockdown.

How does this system help the companies to prosper today?

The system of telecommuting is a major hit because it offers you work flexibility, employee empowerment and makes the global workforce accessible.

1.Employee Centric Culture

Companies have also learned to adapt to a new and more accepted culture known as the employee-centric culture as a result of the distributed team model. 

This culture is currently considered to be very popular. It is the type of work environment in which ideas, open communication, and creativity are highly encouraged.

 All employees will have a voice and will be able to freely share their ideas with the organization. People in this type of environment will not feel restricted and will have a sense of identity as they work with other employees and the team.

 When employees work remotely, they are encouraged to work efficiently and are sometimes allowed to add their creativity to the task, which increases their interest in doing the task. 

Furthermore, following Covid 19, many companies realized the importance of being a better listener and being more open to accepting innovative ideas from their employees to perform better in this new world. Thus, adopting an employee-centric culture.

2.Worldwide Online Presence

Essentially, in the distributed team structure, the company’s teams can be found anywhere in the world as long as their internet connection is stable. 

The system of distributed teams is a new innovative idea that is gaining acceptance in the smart business culture. Many new companies and startups are accepting it, and many giant corporations are attempting to adopt it as well.

Keeping in mind the list of problems that have arisen due to the pandemic, this system has created the effortlessness required for company hirers and staff in finding the right talent and the right people from all around the world. 

Through the implementation of this model, they can hire freelancers, job seekers, and volunteers as well. They can have meetings through applications like Zoom, google meet, and Microsoft teams. They can manage their teams through applications like Remoty.

 In today’s day and age, due to technological advances, many things that were not possible before are possible today. These technological advances have made things easier and less expensive for all the executives and hirers out there.

Furthermore, there are more advantages to these distributed teams that the companies, startups, businesses, and employees can get used to.

Advantages of Having Distributed Teams

Distributed teams bring a lot of advantages with it that the companies can find useful. They are given below:

2.1   A Large Pool of Candidates to Scout Talent from 

When the company has decided to go for a distributed team model, they are not just looking for employees from their region for example USA, Australia, etc. They will be looking for employees from all around the world. It means they will be exploring different levels of talent from all around the world. In this system of hiring employees, there are no boundaries to where you can get them from. Moreover, where the level of required talent is high, the hiring manager can select from that pool of candidates. 

In other words, if someone wants to hire a team member with a high level of the required skills, he can look at which part of the world or geographical area that particular required skill is in high demand and decide to hire people from there. 

Because there is a good chance, they will be more skilled. Aside from that, the person can hire a good-rated freelancer from Fiverr, freelancer, or Upwork based on their needs.

2.2  Productivity Enhances

 In the traditional method of working, people were assigned tasks to complete during working hours, after which they were required to leave. 

Due to the presence of flexibility, workers in this model can work at any time and deliver more work with ease. They can work from any country and in any time zone.

 In this way, they will not need shifts to provide an adequate amount of coverage for the brand or company.

2.3   More Freedom for Employees

Employees appreciate having autonomy over their work and not feeling pressured by the company.

 The younger generation, in particular, does not want to be bossed around and does not want anyone to tell them what to do. What they prefer is a high level of flexibility in their work.

 They want to be able to do their work whenever they choose and at whatever time they would like. With the right amount of autonomy, they will undoubtedly be motivated to provide and deliver with ease, as well as contribute to the organization’s success.

2.4   Highly Affordable 

 Today, every company is attempting to reduce their total expenses and costs to ensure that their business thrives without incurring any losses.

 Today, many working spaces are quite large and expansive, making it difficult for a new company, in particular, to provide for all of its employees. 

So, to solve problems like this while remaining as efficient as possible, businesses must accept the distributed team structure and work accordingly.

2.5   Encourages Diversity and Out-of-the-box Thinking

When team members are hired from various parts of the country or the world, the team is exposed to diverse ideas and has the opportunity to learn new things. 

The entire team is encouraged to think outside the box and to accept the ideas of other team members. This also encourages the team to generate new and innovative ideas.

2.6   Flexibility for the Employees is Ensured

When the team member needs to travel due to a family emergency or has to travel due to something else like attending a private errand.

The company will not lose the team member and the team member can freely work from wherever they are traveling, as long as the person has the right gadgets for the sake of online work.

2.7   The Office Costs are Low

Due to the employees working from multiple locations it becomes possible for the company to keep the costs of the office down.

 Because less employees have less work desks being used. So less the cost for the company.

2.8  Work Life Balance is Easier to Maintain

Distributed working environment means that the people work according to how they like it. they can spend better time with their family and work both. 

They can give more time to their family, and also work according to how they want.

2.9   Employees Exhibit a Higher Level of Productivity

When the employees have the freedom to choose when and where they work, they show a higher level of productivity. As a result of this freedom, they will begin working whenever they want. 

They will work more efficiently and productively if they can choose when they want to work. Which is a benefit for the company.

How to improve productivity at the workplace?

2.10 The Level of Focus is Higher and Distractions are Lower

In a working office, many distractions ruin the person’s focus, such as meetings, colleague meetups, and other similar distractions that occur frequently in a working environment. 

These types of distractions, however, are eliminated in distributed teams, and team members are more focused on completing the task at hand.

2.11   Employees’ Daily Travel Costs and Other Issues are Resolved

For distributed teams, employees do not need to be concerned about the cost of travel to their workspace. They don’t need Uber or any other expensive mode of transportation. As a result, their expenses are reduced and they can save more.

Problems in Managing Distributed Teams

Teams might take time to adjust to the system of telecommuting. Hence it is crucial for management to proactively resolve workplace conflicts and remove obstacles members face in this mode of working. Also, the teams should embrace the attitude to learn and make this working arrangement a success.

Although numerous software tools provide excellent services to make virtual workplace management a breeze for users, managers and members in distributed systems might face challenges because of the ineffective strategies and reluctance for ‘change’ in workstyles. Some of the issues that might arise are as follows:

3.1 Lack of Social Interaction

The distributed teams are like virtual teams where the in-person experience is eliminated. The people do not know what the person looks like in actuality and do not know them in any way other than a person that they communicate with virtually.

3.2 Miscommunication due to Only Virtual Communication

 Technology is the sole means of communication. People will never get to know each other and have in-person conversations or communication.

This can lead to a sense of miscommunication as well as some work loneliness for people who enjoy working with people in a work environment. Such emotions will be felt because there will be no interaction between people in a workstation through a distributed team system.

3.3 Lack of Availability on a Particular Time due to Different Time Zones:

 The team members do not work at the same time because their time zones may differ, so they may not feel like they are doing any teamwork, thus the teamwork experience is lacking. 

In other words, an employee from America may work at a different time than an employee from Africa, and an employee from Asia may work at a different time than an employee from Australia.

3.4 Lack of Office Culture:

The office culture is absent, and you do not feel strongly connected to the company- When working in a distributed team, there is no sense of connection to the company and its people. 

The entire office culture is missing, where people hang out in breakrooms, play ping pong with their coworkers, have a chat with the boss or team lead who visits them to check on them, and so on.

 So, with these things absent, in the future, the team workers may not at times take the work seriously.

3.5 Dependence on Internet Availability 

 When people work in a distributed manner, they must stay in touch with the company online. They need a good internet connection at all times for this purpose, or else this way of working will not work for them. 

So, for the ease of teamwork, online a good internet connection is essential.

3.6 More Vulnerable to Cybercrime and Less Secure

When a company works online, it is vulnerable to any type of cyber-attack. Every business wants their critical and confidential information to be secure on the internet. 

To ensure this, they must use any type of cloud application that allows them to protect their company from online cybercriminals.

3.7 Difficulty to Know What is Troubling the Employees:

It may be difficult for the team’s leader to communicate with their team members. When a team member is struggling and does not communicate with the team lead, it is difficult to solve problems for the team lead online.

 In a physical workspace, the team leader can approach that person and inquire about the problem; however, in a virtual environment, this becomes difficult. 

It is due to Covid and the policies that came with it, it has become critical for businesses to go remote and distributed to survive in today’s day and age. Having said this, managing these teams can be extremely challenging for some businesses.

 But don’t worry, we’ll tell you the best ways to make it possible for your company to be the most profitable in this blog.

Best Tips and Tricks for Effective Management Distributed Teams

Hirers or the company needs to know what type of people they want to hire for their team. Moreover, with a distributed team, for some companies, it can be hard to stay organized and maintain productivity. 

We’ve provided some tips to help make the process easier for you and your coworkers.

4.1   Choose Right People for your team:

When hiring, make sure to hire the correct individuals for your company. People who are motivated to do the job and are well equipped with the skills. To make the right decision, you can take interviews, have a discussion, or any other ways to get to know them, before hiring them.

4.2   Encourage Diversity and Inclusion:

Have a mix of locals and non-locals in the team. There should be some people who you can meet face to face, and some people who you can have a meeting with zoom.

4.3   Select Right Technological Tools

You need to make good use of the technology available today. Having said that, you need to use good and joint software that will help you stay active and work accurately with your distributed team. 

Some of them are Remoty, Slack, Microsoft teams, WhatsApp, etc.

4.4   Re-evaluate and Tailor Work Priorities

When it comes to distributed teams, you must shift your priorities. In the traditional way of working, what made a good team was an employee’s ability to work with their peers while also adhering to the work ethic.

However, in a distributed team, what must be prioritized is the worker’s ability to meet deadlines, how quickly they deliver, and the quality of their work.

4.5   Be Accommodating to your Team

In today’s day and age, it has become crucial to trust others to get the work done. The same way is with the distributed teams.

The team leads or the companies need to trust their teams to deliver the work in their assigned time. So, another tip to give you is to have some patience and trust your employees that they will deliver.

4.6   Have Face to Face Meetups

Have a once per week or twice per month meeting with your team(s). To keep them motivated and feel like they are a part of something team meeting is a must.

 You need to make sure to schedule team meetings that are in-person or virtual to build the team’s motivation to work and also to build team unity and connection.

4.7   Know Your Team Members by Holding Individual Meetings

It is important to know all the team members and how they handle the distributed work. So, the team lead should ensure this by meeting the members individually and having a chat with them regarding their work at least twice in two weeks.

 They can structure virtual meetings with the team members to get and give feedback.

4.8   Keep Check on Work Progress

Remind the teams on a regular basis of assigned tasks. For some people remote work may seem daunting and confusing. To help them out you need to remind them regularly of the task they were assigned so that they may deliver.

Check out how Daily Standup feature of Remoty helps your team productive at work!

4.9   Choose a Convenient Mode of Communication for Your Team

Avoid the use of email. Emails are hard for employees to look at and keep track of. Use other ways of communication. Any kind of chatting or communication software might work, for example WhatsApp.

4.10   Connect with your Team

Other than the work experience, try to offer light bonding occasions or events to help keep the employees motivated, less bored, and active. Offer multiplayer game plays, some discussion about hobbies, some other good activities that the employees may show interest in.

 Keep one day in a week or month for this so that the employees may look forward to it after a week or month of hard work.

4.11   Keep it Real and Have Real Expectations

Have a realistic mindset with realistic expectations in the virtual working environment. Thinking that the employees know what the boss wants in the virtual environment is unrealistic. 

Make sure to communicate the needs and the requirements and keep asking if they have understood. Encourage them to ask you for a better understanding of the task.

As in the virtual working environment, it is usual for the employees to misinterpret an instruction.

4.12 Help Out the New Recruits

Appoint a mentor with the new employees that are hired to do the remote work. The mentor will guide them to do the work efficiently and in the best way possible. Once the new workers understand they will be able to deliver efficiently.

Also see: 20 Remote Teams Best Practices for Managing Work in 2021

Final Thoughts for the Day

The pandemic has unleashed the potential of distributed and hybrid work setups. Research believes that telecommuting is here to stay. A sizable population of the global workforce will prefer flexible work arrangements.

We hope this blog was helpful. For more information on related topics, we encourage you to check out our other blogs today.

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