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Business Advice
5 min read

How Businesses Can Manage A Distributed Team

With the rise in remote working, this has brought about a transformation in the way many businesses now operate which makes the concept of a distributed team far more common than it once was.
Written by
Joanna Clare
Content Manager
Published on
July 10, 2024

With the rise in remote working, this has brought about a transformation in the way many businesses now operate which makes the concept of a distributed team far more common than it once was. However, managing a distributed team does present unique challenges which can include communication barriers, maintaining productivity and creating and maintaining a strongly bonded and supportive company culture. With the correct strategies, businesses can effectively manage their team and then go on to reap the rewards of a flexible, geographically diverse workforce.

Effective communication is the foundation of being able to manage and maintain a distributed team and utilising the right tools is crucial to ensure uninterrupted interaction among team members. Several popular platforms facilitate instant messaging, video conferencing and collaborative workspaces. Establishing clear communication channels and normal practices such as regular check ins and updates will help to keep everyone aligned with one another, informed and up to date.

It is imperative for remote teams to have clear expectations and goals set in place. Clearly defined roles and responsibilities as well as deadlines will ensure that everyone has a good understanding of what is expected of them. Project management tools can help to track progress, assign tasks and manage timelines. This transparent way of working that is applicable to all team members will help to prevent misunderstandings and ensure everyone knows their role.

Building and maintaining a strong company culture can be challenging but is critical for the smooth running of a distributed team. Regular virtual team building activities such as online games, virtual coffee breaks and team challenges and celebrations can help to create positive connections and a strong sense of camaraderie among colleagues. Encouraging open communication and creating ample opportunities for informal interactions can help to replicate the social aspects of an office environment which can be lacking among remote workers.

All members of the team must have access to the necessary technology and resources in order to achieve maximum productivity. This includes reliable internet connection, up to date hardware and software tools which are specific to the individual role. Training should be offered so employees utilise them effectively and with confidence.

One of the main advantages of a distributed team is the flexibility that it offers. Allowing employees to work flexible hours can improve job satisfaction and increase work life balance which leads to higher productivity. However, it is important to establish core hours and to be aware when everyone is available for essential collaboration and necessary meetings.

Regular performance reviews and constructive feedback are crucial elements of managing a distributed team. Scheduled one to one meetings between managers and employees provide good opportunities to discuss performance, address any challenges and to set future goals. Continuous feedback and recognition of their efforts helps employees to stay motivated and improves their performance by providing clear direction as well as feeling valued and appreciated.

A major consideration when managing a distributed team is being able to fully trust team members to manage their own workloads and make independent decisions when necessary. Empowering employees by giving them autonomy and putting trust in their professional judgement creates a sense of responsibility and ownership which enhances both  dedication and performance.

With effective management, distributed teams can remain productive, engaged and fully aligned with company goals and expectations which ultimately leads to long term and ongoing success!

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