While a few years ago working with remote teams was a choice of some entrepreneurs, nowadays it has become a reality of every company: from global tech giants to small local teams. The 2020 pandemics made business people establish new ways of organizing the work process effectively and gave them access to a diverse talent pool. Interestingly, instead of experiencing a downturn in productivity, businesses received a number of benefits from managing distributed teams and remote employees.
So, what does working remote mean and how is it different from a distributed team? Remote teams aren’t necessarily distributed teams. Most frequently, remote teams don’t have a physical office and have their team spread out across the world. On the other hand, distributed teams can serve as a mixture of both in-house and remote workers. They have headquarters somewhere in the world but in case a company needs additional expertise in some field - they hire some global talent. It often happens in the tech industry or during startup transition.
When it comes to hiring in-house employees, companies face restrictions in terms of a small choice of candidates. Frequently, they also come at a rather high price if to consider developers based in the US or the UK, for instance. On the contrary, during the last decade, Eastern Europe has become one of the most attractive destinations for software outsourcing with an outstanding price-quality ratio and more than one million professionals. Solely in Ukraine, there are over 1600 IT companies currently operating and providing strong expertise in fintech, retail, education, and other industries.
According to the Stanford study, remote workers are 13% more productive compared to in-house employees. It can be explained by the fact that they aren’t constantly disturbed by their co-workers or open space noises, don’t spend energy on commuting, and don’t go for an hour coffee-breaks to breathe out. What is more, every person has their own working hours when they feel themselves the most productive.
As employees become more flexible, they experience a better work-life balance. Simply put, parents have more time to spend with their kids, couples - to enjoy their time together, and generally, people can use up the time saved on commuting and getting ready for work, on taking up a new hobby, or just relaxing with a book on a sofa. Travelling is also no longer a reason to quit, members of a distributed team can change their location without any limits and do their best in the workplace. Such opportunities result in better employee retention which deprives employers of recruitment headaches.
A fully distributed team brings all the expenses for office rent to zero. Of course, it’s a good tone to supply your remote team with the equipment if they need it, but even that is not even approximately equivalent to paying the office rent. Furthermore, apart from paying the rent, employers also save on cleaning services, serving refreshments during the meetings, and commute costs. Global Workplace Analytics reports that 6 out of 10 employers name cost savings as the biggest benefit of working from home.
Working with remote teams requires more discipline from both employees and the company. But if members of the company manage to successfully organize their time, efforts, and communication, they can experience a great advantage of working in a diverse team. Working in a multicultural environment enables the employees to broaden their horizons, use new techniques, exchange ideas and experience, and come up with new unconventional solutions.
One of the problems that one may face while working with a remote team is communication. Nothing can be compared with discussing ideas and possible solutions in person. Remote employees are less likely to be always available for spontaneous communication and active participation in discussions compared to on-site teams. Members of the distributed teams, on the other hand, often fail to share the same sense of value to the company as the in-house team does.
Now, when the line between hiring on-site employees and working with remote teams has been almost blurred, companies don’t have another choice except for learning how to manage remote teams without sacrificing their company’s culture. When the pandemic is gone, it’s again up to them to rethink the cooperation model that fits their company the most. Distributed teams let the company expand and support their service through hiring the best talent available, while working remotely provides employees with a better work-life balance and minimizes office expenses. Whichever model you choose, there is a need to stay aware of possible communication challenges and cultural differences, and build the company's culture in such a way that every single employee feels happy working for you — on-site or remotely.