Why a Distributed Team may be the Best Setup During a Pandemic
6/30/2020 | By Marella Gimenez
The current pandemic has certainly caused businesses to take major hits from halting operations, which has caused relatively big revenue losses and no new business activity coming in. However, businesses and companies have quickly adapted to this difficult situation by letting their employees work from home, only letting an essential skeletal workforce come in to the office for tasks that can only be achieved in the workspace. Though they may have suffered significant losses, this type of setup has been what’s keeping companies’ business operations alive and smoothly running despite the heavy restrictions that have been put in place to decrease infection rates. A majority of companies are now running a large part of their operations and activity online, conducting business virtually with their staff working from the safety and comfort of their homes. Although this is a new learning curve for several organizations, there are already others who have adapted this type of setup since the preliminary stages of setting up their business.
What is a Distributed Team?
Distributed teams refer to this setup in which employees work remotely from their own preferred location, which sometimes even span beyond international borders, instead of being centralized in a single headquarter. Before the need for work-from-home orders, this setup was also used by business owners that may have outgrown their space and can barely keep up with their rapidly expanding team.
This arrangement is more commonly used in tech companies where they have advanced infrastructures in place and startups who are looking for ways to be cost-effective and may still be finding their footing. Because of the current global situation, a large majority of companies are practicing this new arrangement as well and have found it to be quite advantageous to both their employees and their growth as a business. The main advantage of working through distributed teams is certainly the flexibility it affords to both the employer and their employees.
Advantages of a distributed team to employers:
- Businesses have the freedom to recruit their team from anywhere around the world, tapping into other countries’ talent pool who may be especially skilled in a specific area.
- They do not have to go through the hassle of finding an office space and shelling out funds for long-term leases.
- They have an edge up in the labor market, being able to offer candidates more benefits, freedom, and flexibility in where they want to work.
Advantages of being part of a distributed team:
- Employees can enjoy the comfort of working from their own home or the convenience of working out of other nearby locations such as coffee shops and coworking spaces.
- Nobody has to worry about the daily commute to work, budgeting fares for public transportation or gas, or braving the everyday heavy traffic of highly congested and urbanized business districts.
- Distributed team members also get more control of their time and schedule, making it easier for them to utilize paid leaves, choosing a schedule that works best for them, and practicing a healthy balance with their personal lives.
Are there disadvantages?
With the absence of idle hallway chatters and face-to-face interaction, this leaves a lot of room for things to get lost in translation especially for workers who may need more direction. It is the supervisors’ and managers’ job to create effective and deliberate communication strategies with their team. Thankfully, there have been digital and virtual channels to aid in making daily, real-time touchpoints with your team easier and an array of online tools that help in sharing files and storing data.
If there’s anything the pandemic has taught companies and employers, it's that there is a lessening need for traditional setups when it comes to working with their employees and maximizing productivity. The booming industry of flexible workspaces prove that employees don’t need to be seated in a cubicle all day and distributed teams prove that they don’t even need to come into the office at all. With the health and safety of employees being the number one concern right now for business owners, being able to easily adapt to their people’s ever-changing needs is what truly keeps businesses effectively running.