Benefits of a Distributed Team

Picture of Derek Choy
Derek Choy, Tuesday June 20, 2017

Distributed workforces aren’t a new concept, but as technology makes it easier and easier for employees to work from anywhere, it’s becoming a more common organizational model.

Here at Rainforest, a significant percentage of our team has always been distributed. While that has its challenges, it’s also provided some critical benefits that we wouldn’t have otherwise. Today, let’s take a look at why we’ve committed to building our globally-distributed team, and how doing so can benefit other organizations as well.

The Evolution of Work Style

Offices exist because people enjoy working together in a common place. Many people find it more efficient in getting things done when everyone is at the office. We’ve already come a long way from traditional models where everyone has a strict set of work hours, very little flexibility in taking care of personal needs during office hours and everyone has to be in the office to be considered working.

Today, especially in the tech world, many companies offer flexibility in working hours. It is becoming common for employers to allow employees to work remotely every now and then, and many companies are pretty generous when it comes to vacation time.

But that’s not enough for the younger generation of workers. Employee these days prefer even more freedom in how they work. They want to work whenever and wherever they want, and they want to have total flexibility in their work hours but in return, they put in a lot to make the company successful.

By tailoring their workforce to match the style that employees prefer, companies that support a distributed team can stay competitive and attract the best talent.

The Benefits of a Distributed Team

Building and supporting a distributed team isn’t just great for employees. There are a number of clear benefits to distributed teams that employers should consider, as they are strong incentives to build a team that goes beyond the office itself.

1. Cross Geographic Boundaries: Having a distributed team allows you to cross geographic boundaries when it comes to talents. You are no longer limited to a commutable-distance from your office, you can literally look for talents from anywhere in the world.

2. Build Your Team to Where(ever) Talent Lives: If your office is in a highly competitive area when it comes to talents, having a distributed team allows you to hire talents where there is a better demand and supply for that type of talents.

3. Increase Coverage: Having a distributed team that spreads across different timezones allow you to have better coverage in an increasingly global environment. Instead of having shifts to provide sufficient coverage, a distributed team placed in strategic location solves the problem naturally.

4. Scale Headcount Affordably: While cost-saving is not the reason to have a distributed team, if your office is in an expensive location when it comes to wages, having a distributed team enables you to get the same amount of work done for less, sometimes a lot less.

5. Improve Work-Life Balance: A well-managed distributed team typically has higher morale because employees no longer have to make compromises in their personal life in order to achieve what they want to achieve professionally.

6. Develop a Diverse Team: The cultural diversity of a distributed team encourages everyone to think out of the box, accepting and adopting ideas that are new and unconventional. This is a great way to build an innovative team.

7. Provide More Flexibility: When a valued member of the team needs to move to a different geographic location due to needs of the family, a distributed team structure can accommodate that without losing the valued team member.

8. Keep Office Costs Down: At locations where office space is at a premium, a distributed team allows you to grow the team without the headache of expanding the office.

It is not easy to set up and operate a successful distributed team, but a highly motivated and effective one is a great asset to the company long term. Rainforest’s distributed team plays a considerable role not just in building our product, but also in contributing to our culture.