Top 5 advantages of having a distributed team

by Wendy Soon on July 30, 2013

A study said that 43% of their respondents worked remotely less often 2-3 years ago; 83% of them spend at least a part of their current days working from home; and 66% believe that their office might go full virtual within the next 5 years.


WHY? Why is there an increasing trend of distributed teams and working remotely?


Here are the top 5 advantages of having a distributed team:


  1. Able to hire the best people.  Being open to a distributed team would enable you to find and hire the right people, the best talents, regardless of where they happen to live. Geographically limited companies have a restricted talent pool from which they can hire their people from. This results in possibly sub-optimal or just the wrong people being hired just to fill the position. In contrast, in a distributed team, there are virtually no barriers as to who you can hire, be it nationality, location, background etc. With an infinitely larger talent pool to choose from, there are also higher chances that a perfect candidate can be sought for the position without compromise. As Jim Collins said in his book “Good to Great”, “[Good leaders] start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.” Start your company right by hiring the right people, regardless of where they live.

  2. Increased productivity. The President’s Council of Economic Advisers released a study that suggested that remote workers are absent less, more healthy, and more productive. Someone who works from home has the flexibility of visiting the dentist whenever they like, picking up their children without having to leave work early and can even get back to work after the kids have gone to bed. The ability to manage family and work life well results in happier workers. Any time saved on commuting can also be better put to use, thus increasing work productivity.

  3. Diversified (international) experience and expertise. When a company works with distributed teams, an organization gains both the experience and expertise in working with different global markets. This type of experience is critical and extremely useful for a company that is expanding or plans to expand its business internationally.

  4. More efficient workflow. A distributed team can have team members working from different time zones. Although the first thought would be inconvenience iterating ideas, if this difference in time zone is well tapped into, it can turn into an advantage rather than an obstacle. A project can be completed in a faster manner if people in different time zones are continuously working on a particular project. For instance, a manager in the West Coast can draft up a task before he leaves work one evening, a programmer in India receives the task early in the morning and works on it the entire day. He finishes up the work before he leaves work, sends it to his supervisor in the East Coast. The supervisor looks through the work and edits it, and sends it to the manager in the West Coast. By the time the manager returns to work in the morning the second day, the task has already been completed. The same workflow in a co-located team may take 2-3 times the amount of time to complete, just because everyone starts and ends work at the same time.

  5. Cost savings. A team or company that is partially or completely distributed can save on real estate spendings, as less or no office space is required.

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