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Distributed Teams: For or Against?

Distributed Teams: For or Against?

Distributed teams are becoming popular among businesses today, and more and more companies have accepted this type of team arrangement. A distributed team refers to a group of people who work across multiple countries and cities and even different time zones. Such an approach is popular among IT companies as their staff may work from any corner in the world just having an Internet connection.

The members of a distributed team may work from the office (if it exists physically), from home or even in a café. There are a lot of advocates as well as critics of distributed teams. Let’s find out the pros and cons of such a team and see which factors will outweigh.

When it is reasonable to start a distributed team

There are multiple reasons why companies apply the diverse team approach. Sometimes it is a necessity, when a team member has to move to another city or country due to some family reasons. And despite the fact that working from one office is more typical, distributed teams have lots of upsides to take into account.

When your company is new. A distributed team would be a wise decision for companies that have just started. A distributed approach allows hiring experienced specialists to help the company get off the ground. If you pay for expertise at an early stage of your business, your company is likely to attract customers and make good connections in the future.

When the company urgently needs new staff. Hiring freelancers may be sometimes faster and more effective than other ways of staff recruitment. Moreover, this approach allows meeting the increasing demand for staff and thus scale the team.

When your project needs specific skills. A distributed team offers more options for finding qualified personnel and filling out the necessary skill gaps. Thus you are not limited to the local candidates only and can take advantage of hiring talents all over the world.

Time zones coverage. With a distributed team different time zones are not the reason to worry about. Having staff in several time zones might expand the customer base, and give response to the customers in a shorter time.

Office costs are cut down. A distributed team doesn't require any office space. In case you have a co-located team and want to increase the number of professionals, you can scale
your team without worrying about additional workplaces.

Disadvantages of working as a distributed team

Despite numerous advantages, there are several downsides that stop many companies from building distributed teams.

You can't talk to your colleagues in person. Co-located teams never think about lack of communication as they have a chance to talk to other team members anytime during the working day. Distributed teams, in their turn, might feel isolated and need to establish and maintain effective communication with their co-workers.

It's sometimes not possible to work simultaneously. If your team members work in different countries, it may be difficult to organize synchronous communication. It is not always possible to tackle the problem in real time, and this seems to be one of the reasons why distributed teams are considered to be less effective.

It's hard to build team spirit. Team building is a great opportunity to promote collaboration and bring the team together. Shared leisure time and sports activities may build a close-knit team
with shared values and considerably reduce conflicts.

Conclusion

You can see that the advantages of working as a distributed team outweigh its drawbacks. This team is a combination of different opinions, good skills and various working styles – all brought together to create perfect and highly-competitive products.

November 9, 2018

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