Pros of Having Distributed Teams and How to Support

Any back-to-office strategies being created or implemented had better hit every sweet spot for employees, as many would instead work remotely. According to a Talent Tech Outlook by SCIKEY 2022 study, 82% of employees prefer working from home. Management and leadership teams are left with no choice but to enable remote working options and distributed teams to retain exceptional talent and ensure smooth business operations. Remote and distributed work teams are the future of organisational structure, growth, and employee-centric patterns.

Going the remote path

Early in 2021, technology company Drift, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, announced that all employees would be working remote, full-time jobs. CEO David Cancel said that before the pandemic, they fostered a culture of doing things in person and converging at work for everything, whether it was for meetings, events, or anything else. Organisations worldwide have taken note and are changing by adopting a distributed teams model and already reaping benefits. 

You might also be interested to read: Is Remote Working Buoying Employee Productivity?

Why are distributed workforce beneficial for organisations?

The Gartner report states that over 55% of employees are considered “high performers” when given the liberty to choose where, when, and whom to work with. On the other hand, only 36% of employees engaged in a more traditional nine-to-five job were considered “high performers”. 

Distributed teams: 

  • Are cost-effective and help save tons of money spent on campus spaces 
  • Boosts productivity for the workplace since the team operates in different time zones and contributes at varying times of the day 
  • Eliminates commute and travel time–a double win since it also helps save the planet
  • Facilitates a more diverse workforce 
  • Expands the hiring circuit 

Another Gartner survey revealed that 43% of respondents said that flexible work timings help them become more productive, and 30% said that lesser or no commute time also added to their productivity levels. This shows that a distributed team model also boosts retention rates. 

What are distributed teams?

Distributed teams are groups of individuals working together from different locations and time zones. Yes, team members may even be continents away or two blocks away. A common work strategy among companies that don’t rely heavily on in-person collaboration, distributed teams now seem like the new preferred way of operations after the pandemic and how we view work dynamics. 

What are the differences between distributed and remote teams?

Everyone works remotely in distributed teams, while in remote work, not everyone may work from remote locations. There are no campuses or physical locations for distributed teams. Still, there’s typically a headquarter or central workspace for team members that may want to utilise that space even when working remotely.

A distinct difference between the two is that remote workers can be anywhere but are preferably hired based on proximity to the central location or headquarters.

5 ways to support distributed teams 

By hiring the right people: From the get-go, identify and hire people from different walks of life, geographies, backgrounds, and demographics. Look for people who understand the nuances of working remotely and accept the challenges of working as a physically fragmented team. A diverse workforce brings about cultural awareness and an influx of various skills and opinions. This automatically leads to increased productivity and higher employee engagement. It’s a critical factor in helping distributed teams sustain as communication may not be as abundant as in-office work teams.

A smooth onboarding process: HR professionals must actively find and upskill themselves in learning new and proven ways to create and implement a hassle-free onboarding process. There’s no doubt that meeting in person and making a new member feel welcome is a more straightforward process. However, with virtual tools available, distributed teams can feel equally welcome, if not more. Here’s something to chew on. OfficeVibe’s State of Employee Engagement report stated that 69% of employees are likely to continue with the organisation for at least three years if they have had a great onboarding process. One of the best ways to induct a new employee is to involve other team members from start to finish. It gives the team a chance to get to know each other from the get-go and helps the new employee ease into the process.

Trust your employees: Not just when they do the right thing. No matter where they log in from, give employees and teams more autonomy and the respect they deserve. An Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report shows that 69% of employees think their colleagues are a significant source of community in their lives. Organisations should continue to enable and aid workplace communities by establishing a team culture. The company’s culture should then align with the teams’ culture to avoid friction as much as possible.

Master the art of effective reporting: Keeping track of each team member in a distributed setting is challenging, but they should be managed like in-office employees. If it helps, set up a stand-up meeting only once a day. Always keep the meetings short and structured but ensure everyone has a chance to speak. After daily progress check-ins, set time aside during the end for questions. However, if there’s an unresolved issue about only one employee, take it offline. 

Make communication a priority: One-on-one communication is the need of the hour. If there is crucial information that affects the order of business, leaders should inform all team members so that no one feels left out and feels like “less” of an employee. Asynchronous communication is considered the most effective form of communication for distributed teams. As real-time communication is a constraint (due to different time zones), employees exchange messages in written formats and access them according to their schedule and convenience.

Return-to-office mandates are now almost a corporate turn-off, and employees are happy to switch jobs and roles to find greener pastures that allow them to work from home. Likewise, distributed teams are now on the rise, with diverse employees and increased productivity. Leadership and management teams must aid distributed teams to thrive as equally as in-office teams. 


  • 9 Simple Ways to Help Your Distributed Team Be Their Best | Polly 
  • 11 Pro Tips For Effectively Managing Distributed Teams | Time Doctor
  • These companies decided to go fully remote – permanently | CNN Business | January 27, 2022
  • SCIKEY: Tech Talent Outlook 2022 | SCIKEY | January 24, 2022 
  • What is a Distributed Workforce, and How to Manage it? | Lumapps | August 01, 2022  
  • Micromanagement destroys teams — here’s how to nip it in the bud | Fingerprint for Success
  • Future of Work Reinvented | Gartner
  • Digital Workers Say Flexibility Is Key to Their Productivity | Gartner | June 09, 2021 
  • Employee engagement statistics from across the globe | Officevibe | May 27, 2022 
  • 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer | Edelman

mYou might also be interested to read:  Remote Working Turns From ‘Workable’ To ‘Profitable’

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