How to Cultivate a Successful Distributed Team

How to Cultivate a Successful Distributed Team
How to Cultivate a Successful Distributed Team

The number of team members working remotely has grown dramatically.  In the past five years, it’s grown 44%.  Nearly 5 million people now work remotely throughout the United States.  Those are just the full-time remote workers. There is also a significant number that works part of the time out of the office, at home, or on the road.

Bringing these distributed team members together and working as a team can be a challenge.

Proactive Communication

Whether the entire team works in one office or they are spread out across the country, it takes constant communication to build team cohesion.  When everybody is in the office, it’s easy. When they are working in distributed teams, it takes a more proactive approach.

Fortunately, technology has made remote communications simpler.

Cloud communication solutions can connect remote teams through voice and video.  Meetings can be scheduled for team members who can connect with high definition audio and video.  Team members can share their screens and presentations. Online meetings can be recorded and shared with unavailable team members.

Another important tool is business one-on-one and group chats.  With real-time chat, teams can stay in constant communication regardless of location.  Groups can be set up by project or to accommodate specific workflows. This can include business  SMS and texting.

A Unified Communication Center

Even if you are running complex businesses with multiple locations, business tools can bring all of your workflows into a unified communication center.  Mobile and desktop apps can be used anywhere on any device and provide access for distributed team members to the communication center. A central Data Center, whether in-house or in the cloud, can provide access to every employee.

Cloud-based apps, such as Office 365 and G Suite, can provide email, calendaring, word processing, spreadsheets, and other tools.

Building A Unified Team

When team members work remotely, it’s easy for them to get isolated.  They miss out on many of the spontaneous moments that spark conversation in the office.  They don’t benefit from those spur-of-the-moment meetings in the hallway that lead to productive conversations or relationship-building.

Providing the tools for a virtual water cooler to let teams socialize and share ideas can help build a unified team.  This leads to better collaboration and a way to build and maintain relationships across distances.

Clear Policies and Guidelines

There are so many communication tools and apps available online.  Many are already installed on mobile devices and they’re free to use.  Despite that, you need to make sure your team is using your approved communication tools so that you aren’t leaving people out or confusing the process.

You should provide clear guidelines on which communication channels should be used and how they should be used.

Collaborative Teams Take Effort

Building a collaborative team takes effort.  The benefits, however, are great. Companies where teams are actively engaged report a 21% greater profitability.  They have a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a whopping 59% less turnover.

Use these strategies to build collaborative teams and cultivate a strong sense of mission across your distributed team.

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