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5 Reasons Why Distributed Teams are the Future of Work

In this guide, we’ll break down exactly what distributed teams are and five reasons why they are essential to businesses looking to prepare for the future of work.

Blog Author - Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson
Jan 30, 20245 minutes
Blog Author - Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson

Janelle Watson provides content marketing for the international team at Justworks. With a background in higher education and journalism, Janelle helps tell stories that make international expansion and EOR accessible.

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Most members of the workforce will spend around 90,000 hours of their lifetime working, so it’s no wonder employees may want to avoid commuting and having to go into an office. There's a reason why more small businesses 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 businesses have begun to rethink how they can optimize attracting talent from outside of just one location. 

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What are distributed teams? 

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 employers, 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. Businesses 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 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 may need to be in office occasionally,  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 the 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

Technology makes distributed teams easy 

More than ever before, we have the technology to make communication and collaboration between distributed teams possible. 

Advancements in software have made just about anything possible, including: 

  • Video conference calls 

  • 1:1 collaboration 

  • Instant messaging through applications like Slack 

If you are building a distributed team, setting up a project management system for your employees is a must. This way, you can have visibility into what team members in different time zones are doing throughout the day. 

Here we'll share five reasons why distributed teams are the future of work and tips on how to make them successful. 

5 benefits of a distributed team

1. Access to talent

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 world. 

You should tailor your company culture to help you manage a diverse distributed and remote team. 

2. Increased employee wellness

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 employer. 

Working remotely for a distributed team, on the other hand, gives employees  room for more flexibility in their workday. They might take the extra time to cook 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. 

3. Cost reduction

Moving away from the constraints of a physical office allows businesses  to reduce overhead costs.  Not having to pay for office space for employees to report to everyday makes it easier to use that extra money for other, more productive, avenues in their business. 

Many businesses try to repurpose this extra budget by giving better employee perks for their distributed team members, which can lead to happier employees. If you have employees based in the same city, on the other hand, it may be worth considering 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 your team can still benefit from face-to-face interactions.

4. Agility

Distributed teams help businesses move with agility. With technology making rapid advancements, employing a  distributed team working at differing hours of the day opens up more opportunities. 

Having international customer support team members, for instance, allows them to answer inquiries and complete projects at different times within a 24-hour period.. 

You also have the ability to test out different markets around the world, especially if you’re planning to expand your business internationally. 

5. Fewer distractions 

Although working remotely is not for everyone, this method of work generally 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. 

Pros and cons of a distributed team

If you’re thinking about cutting out the cost of 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: 

Pros: 

  • Larger access to talent

  • Increased employee wellness

  • Cost reduction 

  • Agility 

  • Fewer distractions 

Cons: 

  • No central location 

  • Conflict with time zones

  • Lack of face-to-face interaction 

  • Distracting home environments

  • Lack of company culture 

How Justworks Provides International EOR Services for Small Business

Through Justworks, you can now expand the boundaries of your talent search without setting up a local entity. Focus on building your team, and leave worrying about the nitty-gritty of HR and international compliance to us. 

Our team of local labor lawyers and experts ensure that your small business always remains compliant while expanding internationally. We handle the responsibility side of things so you can focus on what matters: managing your team. 

Learn more about how you can expand your international business through Justworks, and get started today

FAQ

What is a distributed team? 

A distributed team is a workforce that works completely remotely without having a headquarters to report to. Distributed teams are able to work from anywhere in the world making it much easier to accommodate to a wider customer base. For most employers, the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to embracing a distributed workforce model. 

How do you manage distributed teams? 

To manage distributed teams you need to utilize technology, be open to communication, have clear expectations, and be able to navigate and understand different time zones. 

How do you create a distributed team? 

To create a distributed team you need to first develop good technology strategies. After that, you should focus on hiring a good team, making sure that expectations and communications are clear, set clear goals, and offer flexibility. 

What is distributed team leadership? 

Distributed team leadership means that everyone working for your team around the world needs to be their own leader and be able to manage and communicate their work properly. 

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.
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Written By
Blog Author - Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson
Jan 30, 20245 minutes

Janelle Watson provides content marketing for the international team at Justworks. With a background in higher education and journalism, Janelle helps tell stories that make international expansion and EOR accessible.

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