There are more and more companies opening up to the possibility of working through distributed teams, regardless of their size or turnover. Distribution isn’t the same as dispersion, distribution refers to working in a coordinated manner from different places and different times. This means that distributed teams go beyond geographical dispersion generated by the remote working boom in the pandemic, which has put to the test the structure of many teams and their versatility. Distributed teams are not a temporary cause of working from home but are considered a structural working method.
The main characteristics of a distributed team
-Team members are not in the same physical space, they are permanently distributed in different locations.
– It’s not just people working from home in the same city. Sometimes members live and work in different geographical locations which are very far away from each other even in the same country, but above all, in different countries and even continents.
– Having members in different locations means time zones are completely different. In some cases, this means the company is active 24 hours a day.
– There are also team members with different mother tongues, and cultural differences, which need to be taken into account as it generates a better workplace environment.
The challenge of building, coordinating, and uniting distributed teams involves bridging three types of gaps.
Firstly, time: when one is waking up the others are eating or even going to bed. Secondly, culture: there can be language barriers, traditions, calendars, manners, religion… Finally, when organizing distributed teams we need to face the fact that we are not together in an office, the geographical gap, which makes the work 100% digital.
To make communication between team members effective, it is necessary to have cautious leadership. Managers in this type of cooperative structure have to be able to outline significant processes within the distribution, providing the team with the necessary IT tools to be able to coordinate and, of course, encouraging a work environment capable of making the advantages of belonging to a distributed team outweigh any possible disadvantages, and therefore improving productivity.
Advantages of working in distributed teams
1. It allows the inclusion of talented people who would not have the chance to be part of a team due to their geographical location. An up-to-date workplace culture, with IT resources that allow constant and fluid communication, makes it possible for any company to consider working, with relative simplicity, through distributed teams.
2. It helps get first-hand information of distant geographical locations, so someone who already belongs to the team will be able to get information and execute work in a location, leading the company to save resources.
3. Distributed teams are a spearhead in the expansion of a company or expansion processes that are already underway. Distributed teams can make the company known in their environments and form the embryo of future fully-established sites that can be totally or partially disassociated from the distributed team they were originally.
4. If the challenges generated at different levels are managed properly, distributed teams make up an important team of knowledge for the company: they form a new network of contacts, different workplace cultures, and new areas for the company to explore.
The way distributed teams work can be a great chance for companies to grow but can also generate stress and inefficiency if they aren’t managed properly.
To face the challenges, some of which include proper coordination but also strengthening their ties with the company and the prevention of mental health, therefore it is important to have the support of expert psychologists.
Ifeel has designed an emotional well-being program for companies that helps them with issues such as the management of distributed teams and the enhancement of their productivity.
This program allows employees to access a mental health care service that is divided into different levels depending on their needs and the level of implication they would like at all times.
This way, employees have different mental health care tools available to them, which they can access with ifeel’s app, available in different languages. They can receive emotional support through a chat with one of our licensed psychologists. If additional help is needed, employees can access the third level of the program: online psychological therapy with a psychologist who specializes in the issue the person is experiencing.
Moreover, HR managers can get personalized advice based on data regarding the main risk factors associated with the mental health of their teams- for example stress as a result of a poorly managed distributed team- and how to enhance the protective factors that serve to counteract these risks. This way, the employees’ mental health is supported while preserving good conditions for optimal productivity.
Get in touch today and request more information about our emotional well-being program for companies. Wherever you are and at whatever time you need us.