Are Distributed Teams Here to Stay?

Amiee Bolger

You will have read on so many blogs recently how we’ve all had to adapt to this [excuse the use of this overused phrase] ‘new normal’ and that includes the way we work. Those of us who could, adopted a remote working model, or as much remote working as possible. Everyone had to come up with solutions to make working from home a viable option, and some have found that it serves them better and are loathed to return to the office.

You might be thinking that remote working is the same thing as a distributed team. However, that is not the case…

What is a distributed team?

It’s when a startup has built their team without any restrictions on location. The stress of finding an office space is the thing of the past as it’s not needed when your entire team works remotely! Remote working allows a distributed team and opens your startup to a whole host of talented individuals just waiting for the chance to help you scale up.

Why are they rising in popularity?

Since having to find ways to make remote working, work, a lot of startups have discovered that their job can be done just as well from the safety and comfort of their own homes. There’s a reluctance to go back to the way things used to be and founders have had to factor that in when it came to the world opening up again.

A fully remote setup, when done properly, can be more practical and economical. There’s less cost in running a distributed startup as there’s no need to rent an office space. For your team, there are (hopefully) no commuting costs for them to get to the office as it’s in their own home. No matter what stage your startup is in, there’s always room to cut costs somewhere.

As a founder, you want to recruit the best team possible, and a globally distributed team is a way to achieve this. Having a working model that is completely remote increases the number of candidates that will apply for a position. Many startups are niche, meaning it’s hard to find suitable candidates suitable for the role when your reach is limited to a commutable distance. So, being able to employ from all over the world furthers your reach and gives your startup diversity.

We don’t need to tell you how important diversity is but implementing a globally distributed team strategy means you’re open to opinions, ideas, and ways of working from many different perspectives. It means you can strategize to send your startup global and get in front of as many eyes as possible because you’ll have the team to back it up.

There are a plethora of apps, software, and communication tools on the market to make your remote working lives seamless. Sites like Slack and Microsoft Teams have made communicating with an entire team or one-to-one with employees easy. The addition of channels to organise conversations and the ability to pick who can be in them in Slack has allowed for much easier communication levels and as close to talking in the office as possible. Though tools like these, and sites like Dropbox and Canva, have been around for years, their usability and collaborative elements have continued to develop.

It’s not all positives

Not everyone likes having a distributed team. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense or work out for specific startups. Not every candidate will find a fully remote role works for them, and this is all okay. As a founder, you’ll need to consider if and how it will be beneficial for your goals.

With a distributed team, you may find that things like group video calls or immediate communication isn’t possible or is very limited if your team members are all in different time zones. Onboarding, training, and keeping morale and motivation to the standard you desire can be difficult when not in an office setting.

With that said, there are ways to combat this if you’re prepared and your team are open to this way of working. Continued and thorough communication is key and keeping the culture and spirit of a startup team alive through setting time out for team-building exercises not related to work is so important. Try all the tools at your fingertips and listen to your team when they express whether something works or doesn’t.

In conclusion

It is all down to the startup. We’re seeing a rise in globally distributed teams because of the ongoing reactions to our current world. Founders are seeing different ways of working that suits them and their team, whether that be remote, or office based.

Getting a distributed team model working seamlessly for your startup comes with challenges, like anything you may set out to do, but when you get it right, it can help you scale in ways you’ve never imagined. Here at blazon, we love having a distributed and fully remote team as it allows us the opportunity to help startups worldwide.