Have you ever thought of an ‘office’ that tears down its walls to bring people more closely? Such an ‘office’ will eliminate the friction of office politics and conventional hierarchy. Even communication - an essential tool in every office or company - in the past used to be by physical contact alone and this poses serious challenges such as ineffective or delayed communication, cost inefficiency, and time consumption. However, advancement in technology and the growing aging workforce now force companies to seek alternatives to hiring full-time, onsite employees. On the other hand, younger generations of workers also now choose to work based on their terms, forcing many companies to prefer the freelance template or hiring remote positions which allows people to work apart together.

Many job opportunities provide you platforms to work remotely, that is, working while you are away from a designated office. If you know how rigorous driving to office could sometimes be, you will surely appreciate the great benefits of remote work. Remote work gives you back your commute time, which could be invested on other promising and profitable activities. Not only that, it allows you to work even with your pajamas. Funny, right? That’s just how convenient and stress-free it is. Freelancers, for instance, now work and earn at the comfort of their homes. They discuss the job requirements – job description, price, time of delivery, etc. – without any physical contact. In other words, as a freelancer, you can travel to spend more time with your family while also working. You just need to make sure there is a good wifi connection to get your work done at any given time.

When you decide to have a distributed team, you'll start experiencing the benefits since the first minute. This kind of approach creates a real platform for a more diverse team, with different mindsets and different cultures giving to your company a more broad vision to solve problems and build things together. 

However, distributed teams face challenges every day that could - if not handled since the beginning - hurt your business. The most common 2 dysfunctions you should take are:

#1 - Trust 

In every team, not just distributed teams, individuals tend to hide weakness, it's a natural mechanism of the human being to protect himself from pain and failure. But in distributed teams this is much easier, no ones can see your body language and that kind of language accounts 55% of the overall message what's make really easy to hide the true feelings.

So, your team full potential can only be achieved by leveraging the transparency on communication. One of the best practices we see to overcome this issue it's to set up regular one-to-one meetings with the company's senior staff. This opens a powerful window to fuel your teamwork because give a chance for teammates to share fears and anxieties and for managers a quick way to provide constant feedback and steer them in the right direction.

#2- Commitment

Lack of commitment to remote teams follows the absence of trust, and how distance can work as a shield for a true engagement on company culture and share their opinions about company day to day life. Your work as a manager is to take an active role to encourage everyone to share their thoughts and wins within your team. Everyone wants to know when you've landed a major customer. Your development team would be amazed to know that users love the new features they implemented. This is the best way to make sure that no one gets left behind and to give them the motivation to work hard next time. It makes them feel they are a part of the same team.

Even though distributed and remote work comes with a few challenges, its benefits outweigh the challenges. As much as time zone differences may pose a serious challenge, especially when organizing internal meetings, many tools have been put into place to prevent an overlap. You can set up regular video chats to get your team more connected. And above all, you need to ensure everyone is on the same page, avoiding missed deadlines or duplicated jobs. 

Remote work doesn’t have to be made remote. The failure of remote work most times may not be attributed to the distributed team; it is mostly a result of the failure of the company to set the team up for productivity. There may be no clear focus, teammates may not be communicating, they might be slow in responding to questions, or they may have no idea on what to work on. Instead of investing their energy and time on managing the work, they exhaust it on managing the manner in which they work with one another. Therefore, with the focus and appropriate tools in place, those challenges will fade within a short period. Rather, your team gets more connected, receptive to one another, and a truly unified team is created. Join the continuous trend of distributed and remote work; don’t be left behind in the creation of a workspace that best works for you.