How to Transition into a Distributed Team
One of the biggest challenges for a company is to transition from a traditional office into a distributed team. It must invest a lot in prior planning to help employees adapt to the new way of working, and also to avoid wasting time on tool installations once the team gets distributed.
In the last five years, remote work increased by 40% in the United States. By encouraging employees to work from home, Dell has saved 39. 5 million in real estate costs. Other big companies like Unilever and Aetna have urged employees to work from home since 2005 because it improves hiring retention, and they saved 78 million a year in real estate costs.
We bring you here some tips for you to keep in mind to make the transition as successfully as possible.
1. Communication management
Communication is the key in a distributed team. You must define What tools will you use to communicate every day. Slack, Discord, Zoom, or Google Hangouts are some of the tools used for distributed teams. All of these tools offer real-time messaging, video call options, and the ability to organize conversations by channels or departments. To learn more about these tools download the Free E-Book Tools to collaborate with remote teams.
Define a work schedule. When must the team be online? If it is during business hours or if it would be a flexible schedule.
3. Internet connection
Speaking about internet connection, this is one of the main requirements that every member of a distributed team must have in order to perform most of their duties. That is a critical part which, unfortunately, companies cannot guarantee, unless they are willing to work directly with ISPs.
4. Data Management
Do you have a distributed storage environment from where the team can securely organize and share documents and information? There are solutions for every size of companies such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Sharepoint, etc. that allow you to manage data across a distributed platform. These tools, along with SOPs on how to manage the data, will help you stay secure. And if you want further security, there always are VPN solutions that can help, but be careful; VPNs can dramatically affect the user’s speed connection.
- Time tracking: Define how the team will report the time and progress of each task. Tools such as JIRA make available modules that make time tracking available such as Tempo.
5. Support channels
- Who to talk to: It is crucial to define who will be the first contact when the employees need to make any request. Most of the time, an HR analyst must provide support when the team members have any doubts in terms of permissions or work policies. The managers also must be able to solve the questions of their teams.
- How to cope with a lack of work environment sociability: One of the most common issues of remote workers is a feeling of disconnection or loneliness. A remote worker is a person interacting with his laptop at home, without coworkers around. To avoid this isolation, the company
6. Culture integration
A positive culture integration is vital for employee engagement. In distributed teams, there are ways to keep the culture integration digitally having a place for team members to chat casually (such as a Slack channel) that can help bring employees together. On this channel, people can share jokes, birthday ecards, make some contests, or highlight employee achievements.
With the right planning and preparation described in the previous points, teams can transition to remote work successfully. There will be challenges along the way. Still, it’s essential to let employees find their solutions to problems that arise when necessary and suggest how to improve things moving forward.
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