When it comes to working with a remote team, there are pros and cons to consider. On the one hand, a remote, dispersed team can offer many benefits such as high availability of talent, high productivity, and lower costs. But on the other hand, remote teams can also be challenging to manage due to scheduling difficulties and a lack of personal contact. In this blog post, we will explore both the pros and cons of working with a remote team so you can make an informed decision about whether or not this is the right option for your business.
What is it like to work with a distributed team?
Working with a remote team involves distributed collaboration, communication, and workflows. Remote employees may be located in different geographic areas, often across countries or continents. This can require some creative scheduling solutions to ensure that team members are able to collaborate effectively despite the time zone differences. It is also important for remote team members to have access to necessary tools and resources in order to be successful.
On the flipside, distributed teams are not too different from the traditional office setup. The remote team members still work together in order to achieve a common goal. Though they may never meet in person, they build relationships and enjoy being part of something bigger. Remote teams should set expectations and establish clear lines of communication so that everyone is on the same page - but the same is true for any team. In fact, because distributed teams tend to pay extra attention to transparency and communication, they may do better than an on-site team less dedicated to handling this aspect of teamwork well.
Benefits of working with a remote team
Access to top talent
One major benefit of a remote team is the high availability of talent. With remote employees, you are able to tap into a much larger global pool of qualified professionals who can work remotely from anywhere in the world. This expands your hiring options and allows for more diverse, remote teams.
Dispersed teams can be more productive as remote work tends to allow for better focus and fewer distractions than work at an office. While working from home, team members can usually adjust their schedules to take care of distractions as they appear, take necessary breaks, and they generally enjoy comfortable conditions. Additionally, they never get caught up in conversations at the coffee maker, or distracted by other office goings on. Remote communication is often more efficient.
Remote teams also typically entail lower costs for employers, as there are no physical space requirements or commute time associated with remote workers.
Time zone tricks
Dispersed teams can enjoy time zone synergy, allowing them to work nonstop around the clock if needed. This also benefits communication, as team members can leave all the important information for the next "shift", and come back to a well-considered reply at the beginning of their next day of work.
Retaining team members and their knowledge
In the dispersed team model, a crucial team member moving to a different city, country, or even continent does not have to mean much of a change at work. The remote team can keep working as before, with the team member still involved and their knowledge retained.
Diversity among remote team members
Remote teams can also be more diverse, with team members from different age groups and backgrounds. This often brings new perspectives and ideas to the table, helping remote teams come up with innovative solutions.
A natural shift towards transparency
Because access to information is the cornerstone of good remote collaboration, many dispersed teams develop incredibly well organized internal documentation. This helps remote workers stay on the same page and encourages collaboration even in distributed settings. But there are hidden benefits of a rich knowledge base. At DEVTALENTS, we make sure to document every important process and create guides for our tools. As a result, should we need this information on short notice - e.g. for an audit - we have it readily available.
Flexible, sustainable growth
Because office space considerations are not in the picture, companies that hire dispersed teams do not need to worry about this aspect of expanding the scope of their operations. Instead, they can grow as needed by adding team members with the necessary skills.
Lower carbon footprint
Remote teams also have a lower carbon footprint due to fewer physical office demands: no space to furnish, light or heat, and no need to commute.
The challenges of working with dispersed teams
While remote teams can be incredibly beneficial, there are some challenges to consider as well. One common challenge is scheduling difficulties due to time zone differences. This can make it difficult for team members to coordinate activities and collaboration in a timely manner.
Another potential challenge is a lack of personal contact. Working remotely can make it more difficult to build relationships and collaborate effectively with remote team members, as team members don’t have the same access to face-to-face communication that office-based employees do.
Next, remote workers do not always telecommute from equally comfortable conditions. While some may have lavish home offices with all the bells and whistles, others may be stuck in small apartments with multiple family members. This cannot be solved by the employer sending over better equipment, which means that sometimes, budgeting for coworking space may be necessary.
When it comes to career development, it is often easy for managers to overlook remote workers for promotion. Team members may have to take initiative, and ensure they are noticed in the remote team.
Finally, every remote team needs to be extra aware of potential security risks associated with remote work, as remote workers access corporate information from multiple devices and locations. Employers should make sure everyone is up-to-date on best practices for cyber security and restrict remote access where necessary.
Dealing with the challenges faced by remote teams
Overall, remote teams can be extremely beneficial for employers looking to tap into a global pool of talent and reduce costs. However, there are some challenges associated with remote teams that should not be overlooked, including scheduling difficulties, lack of personal contact, and potential security risks. Knowing what to expect beforehand can help remote teams plan for, and manage these challenges more effectively. Such considerations should be part of any remote team strategy.
When to choose the dispersed team model for your business
Working with a remote team can be a great option for businesses looking to optimize costs, tap into global talent, and enjoy the benefits of remote collaboration. However, the remote work model may not be the best option for businesses that require a lot of face-to-face interaction or ones that must limit themselves to local talent. Ultimately, it is important to weigh both the pros and cons of remote teams before making a decision about whether or not this is the right approach for your business.