Transitioning from Local to Distributed Teams — All You Need to Know

Over the last decade, the term ‘distributed teams’ has become increasingly popular, with large tech corporations like Microsoft, GitLab, and Google embracing the benefits of a global workforce.

Today, Covid-19 has accelerated the widespread adoption of remote teams at an unprecedented rate. In fact, a study conducted by CNBC showed that before the pandemic, only 7% of U.S employees had the benefit of working from anywhere. Almost a year later, that number has risen to over 42%. The reality is apparent — distributed teams are here to stay.

But why should businesses transition from local to distributed teams?

Distributed teams are composed of employees who work from all across the globe and aren’t confined to being present at a single physical headquarters. Setting up a distributed team can mean anything — hiring freelancers in different countries, engaging with an outsourcing vendor, building a dedicated offshore team, or simply allowing your employees to work from anywhere in the world.

Whatever the case may be, working with distributed teams has its own set of unique advantages. So for you to justify that it’s the right time and the right move for your business, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you struggling to find the right local talent?
  • Do you believe that your existing team displays insufficient technical and soft skills?
  • Are you paying an absolute premium to stay local?
  • Are you scaling at an incredibly slow pace?
  • Are you struggling to focus on the core competencies of your business?

If the answers to the above questions are yes, then building a distributed team can prove to be highly beneficial for your business. In another blog post, we’ve also discussed, in-depth, the different business benefits of working with distributed teams, specifically offshore, and how it can be a game-changer for your business.

Choosing the right engagement model

As we mentioned earlier, businesses can build distributed teams in many different ways. And based on your unique business requirements, you can choose the engagement model that works best for your organisation.

For instance, working with freelancers across the globe is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this. While this is a fairly straightforward model, it’s important to bear in mind that the people you hire do not ‘belong’ to your organisation. They’re simply hired on a contract basis and work for many different clients at any given point in time. This can sometimes lead to a lack of customer focus, low-quality work, stretched timelines, and more chaos than initially anticipated.

Another engagement model is to work with an outsourcing agency that hires people for ad-hoc projects. Again, neither the outsourcing agency nor the people they hire work for you. While this is a great option for one-off projects that require external capacity at short notice, it isn’t a sustainable solution in the long–term, given the lack of ownership over the team.

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Emilien Coquard

Emilien Coquard

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