Close

Request a personalized 1-on-1 demo tailored
specifically for you business.

Request a demo
All
Take full control of all your marketing data

Managing Distributed Teams: Collaboration in the Hybrid Work Era

More than two in five employers will have started to adopt a hybrid working model by 2023 and it makes sense. It’s cost-efficient, gives businesses access to global talent, and gives employees a better work-life balance.
It’s not all roses though. With all the good comes a little bit of bad (that bad specifically being “how on earth do you manage a distributed team?”) With employees working here, there, and everywhere, it’s a challenge that many employers will have to face at one time or another.

Before we get into that, let’s take a closer look at what a distributed team looks like.

What is a distributed team?

It's not always easy to lead a team that's spread out across several locations. With the addition of cultural differences, it's easy to get estranged from your coworkers and have communication problems.

How to manage distributed teams

It's not always easy to lead a team that's spread out across several locations. With the addition of cultural differences, it's easy to get estranged from your coworkers and have communication problems.

Top tips for managing distributed teams

Lack of organization, back-and-forth communication, and difficulty tracking work and hours completed are just some of the challenges you’ll face when managing a distributed team. But hold on. When done right, a distributed working model is super effective at streamlining communications and getting you access to a diverse pool of talent. 
Here are some top tips for managing distributed teams, so you can crack on and meet all your marketing goals with ease.
🚀Set the goals and measure your marketing performance the right way with our recent guide🚀

1. Set regular meetings

With everyone working in different locations, organization can often go out of the window. Combat this by holding regular team meetings. Schedule a date and time each week for your team to get together over an online conference call so you can go over any top priorities, marketing goals, new clients, and daily tasks. 
Silos increase in a distributed team, leading to miscommunication. Regular meetings will help cut these silos and give team members a chance to dip into other departments and complete the things that are important.
🚀Learn how to remve data silos between distributed teams with data integration tools🚀

2. Set aside some time for social interaction

Goup of people watching on laptop
Image Source

As well as scheduling in time for business communication, where possible, make sure to set aside some time for social interaction. That feel of office culture and connection can often get lost in a distributed team, so try to lift everyone’s spirits with a regular online social. 

This can be anything from an informal ten-minute chat before a meeting starts to monthly online game nights - just make sure it gets everyone involved in the action.

3. Opt for multi-channel communications

Instead of sticking to just one or two communication channels, use a wide range of communication tools to give a more rounded experience to employees. Email and calls are great, but they can get a little stale from time to time. Switch it up with things like video calls, online conferencing, and instant messaging
You might have to install a few cloud computing solutions but there are a lot of options available. You probably already use a designated video communication tool but remember, there are many video-call and Zoom alternatives on the market. 

Make life easier by picking a cloud-communications provider that gives you access to a suite of communication channels so you don’t have to toggle between different apps. Make sure all these communication channels are available on desktop and mobile too - this will make it easier for employees to work from anywhere they choose.

4. Set clear and realistic expectations

Don’t beat about the bush when it comes to expectations. Transparency and clear communication are key to managing a distributed team effectively, otherwise, you risk things getting lost in translation. 

This could be as simple as following up on meetings with a quick run-over email on what was discussed and who was assigned to what project. Or it could be giving your team the assurance that your “door” is open to them if they want to clarify something or ask a question.

Be sure to set KPIs and clear action points so that every employee knows what to do but ensure to make them realistic. Consider the kind of working environment they’re up against and make an informed decision. Someone with two children might need a little more flexibility than the junior designer, so make goals achievable.

5. Make sure your team is set up with the right equipment

You might have a multi-channel communications experience going on, but if your employees aren’t able to make use of it, what’s the point? 
Make sure all your employees (even the ones in far-flung locations) are set up with the right equipment to do their job properly. This might mean providing them with a set of noise-canceling headphones or a stable internet connection. It might seem overly generous but it’s an investment that will really pay off.

Happy employees = more productive work (and that can only mean one thing for your business - increased revenue)! If you’ve done the whole landline vs VoIP evaluation and have decided that cloud communications are best for your business, you’ve got to make sure everyone on the team has access to the same ISO certified tools and software. 
This consistency isn’t just fair, but it will also ensure work is done properly and that no misfires occur. Imagine the chaos of ten different employees using different tools and systems to get the job done. Lots of inconsistencies and a nightmare for your business.

6. Pay attention to remote onboarding

Women using Smartphone and Laptop
Image Source

If you’ve got team members working remotely, you’ve got to pay extra close attention to your onboarding process. Your new employees want to feel like one of the team, so make sure they’re buddied up with someone who can help them learn the ropes. 
Some other onboarding best practices for remote teams include:

Setting employees up with essential equipment and tools

  • Gifting a thoughtful work package (this could be a box of snacks, flowers, or a simple “welcome” card to make them feel appreciated)
  • Setting up touchpoints for the employee to achieve during probation 
  • Regular check-ins
  • A “welcome” meeting with the entire team
  • Setting up an online social to get new employees integrated into the team and to give them a taste of what your company culture is all about
  • Tours of your online system and any tools that your team use to communicate with

A supportive and welcoming onboarding experience will ensure your new employees are set up with everything they need to do their job properly. It will also make them feel special and truly part of the team (and hint: happier employees will always be more engaged at work). This is one area you shouldn’t scrimp on, so invest a little to make a big impact. Remember, first impressions count.

7. Respect time zones 

One of the main challenges managers run into when dealing with a distributed team is the problem of time zones. If you’ve got employees working in different locations, you’ll need to be mindful of the time difference and adapt your working model accordingly. 

This is where a little flexibility is needed to make things work. It’s already a little difficult to achieve a work-life balance when working from home, but even more so if you have to work in a time zone that puts your entire day off balance. 

Be respectful and be sure to set clear time boundaries for each employee that comes on board. This could be as simple as:

  • Barring workplace communication with employees after a certain time period 
  • Not sending any meeting request emails or messages after-hours
  • Giving employees adequate time to rest and recharge during the day (for example, a one-hour lunch break)
  • Giving employees a little more flexibility when it comes to their working hours (for example, as long as they get the job done within a certain amount of time, it’s perfectly fine)

With everything that you implement, be sure to send out reviews and surveys so you can get an idea of whether your management style is working for your team.

How to engage a distributed team?

Women using Laptop at table
Image Source

It’s important to remember that though helpful, these tips aren’t the only way to manage a distributed team effectively. To be really successful, you’ve got to ditch that cookie-cutter approach and tailor the way you manage according to your employees’ preferences. 

This is why getting regular feedback from them on your management is really important. Remember: the more engaged and happier your team is with your management style, the more productive they’ll be at work, leading to a better customer journey and experience.

No items found.
Take full control of all your marketing data

300+ data sources under one roof to drive business growth. 👇

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Combine data from multiple sources

Over 200 connectors empower your marketing team to use their favorite tools to map data, build and visualize custom reports and more.

Explore the full catalog
Calculate how much time your marketing team can allocate from reporting to action 👉
Your data is on the way and we’ll be processed soon by our system. Please check your email in a few minutes.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Free Guide
How to Become a Marketing Analytics Master
A tactical guide for marketing & analytics leaders
Download now
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Stay current with our latest insights

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.