Is Remote Work Challenging Us to Build Successful Teams?

Posted by Andrea Loubier on August 25, 2020

Is remote work challenging us to build successful teams
Andrea Loubier

Andrea Loubier
CEO of Mailbird

CEO of Mailbird, a travel addict, world citizen, spicy food lover, passionate about women in tech, millennials, identity and the new office.

Published on August 25, 2020

Welcome to our five-part series on the Challenges of Remote Working. First up is understanding why distributed teams are really the future of work. Later on, we’ll tackle all the reasons people find remote work challenging.

Part 1: Why Distributed Teams Are the Future of Work

I should really change the title of this blog post to “Why a Distributed or Remote Team Is the Most Freaking Awesome Way to Build an Epic Business!”

I don’t know how many times I’ve had a conversation with investors who spring a red flag when you say your team is distributed. I’ve even had most say they want to be within a two-hour driving distance from the start-ups they work with. 

Within reason, that is great and all, but what about missing out on some amazing companies that have the leverage to grow, especially because they are built upon a globally distributed team? I never understood this, as it limits the opportunities for building an awesome portfolio.

The world’s most successful companies support remote work

A lot of us are still getting used to globalization, transitions, and new structures in how we work today. That is totally understandable. Change can be scary for some, and of course, there are a couple of outlier challenges with distributed teams, but with the rapid innovation in technology and features like online communication, secure video meetings, and productivity tools at our disposal, there is no reason to consider remote work challenging. 

As Richard Branson said:

The future of remote work

“One day, offices will be a thing of the past.”

Some of the biggest and most successful companies are distributed across the globe. Just take a look at Microsoft and its teams. The best part of this is also the fact that start-ups in a global market are much more agile. 

Distributed work, when managed right, is much more engaging, and team members are dedicated to what they do. They even end up logging more hours, but not because they have to, because they want to and are simply driven by the company’s vision. It no longer becomes work as a series of mundane tasks.

Remote work allows you to hire talents from all over the world

Some of the best talents probably do not live within your 100-mile radius, so why limit your talent pool to your geographic location? The best people to work with and to add to your team are more likely on the other end of the world. You broaden your reach and options for hiring the right people. This is why the distributed team culture is awesome.

Wrap Up

Of course, remote work does come with some challenges. But that doesn’t mean it is a bad strategy! As a matter of fact, it has way more benefits than setbacks. The greatest benefit is that you get to work with incredibly skillful and talented people from all over the world.

In part two of this series, we’ll teach you how to deal with the most common remote work challenging situations and how to overcome them successfully. Also, you’ll get to hear more about distributed teams and hiring the right remote workers.

BONUS!

Want to know more about this remote work phenomenon? Read “GREAT PLACE TO WORK: At Automattic Employees All Work From Home And Travel To Exotic Locations

What do you think about remote working and distributed teams? Do you think remote won’t work or are you and advocate of telecommuting?

Share your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to share this post if you like it! Stay tuned for part two in this series as we dive deeper into the why and how of working with or running a distributed team.

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What is considered working remotely?

The term stands for a working style that allows employees to work outside of a traditional office environment. Remote employees can complete their tasks from any location they please. Remote work doesn’t necessarily mean working from home.

What are the challenges of working remotely?

The most common remote work challenges are:
– Remote workers tend to work longer hours.
– Prioritizing work is not easy when you’re at home.
– Another problem with remote work at home is more interruptions.
– People who live alone can start feeling lonely and isolated.
– Time zone differences might make cooperation more difficult.

How do you deal with working remotely?

Working remotely can sometimes be quite challenging. Mixing personal and work life can make you less productive and less motivated sometimes. These tips will help you make the most of working remotely:
– Protect your workspace and come up with some ground rules with your family or roommates so they won’t disturb you.
– Specify your “in office” hours and use them for work only, not other activities.
– Make sure to take scheduled breaks, as these can help you refresh and increase your productivity.
– Promptly return emails, calls, and voicemails, and don’t forget to keep up your casual communication habits.
– Ask your colleagues for regular feedback on your remote situation and work performance.
– Pay attention to ergonomics and use a comfortable chair with proper back support.

Is working remotely a good idea?

Long story short, yes it is. Even though working remotely comes with some challenges, it is still a good idea that has plenty of benefits. Companies that support remote work often report higher levels of employee retention and engagement, higher employee satisfaction, reduced turnover, increased productivity, and autonomy, among many other benefits.

How do I make my remote work successful?

Here are some tips that will help you make remote work successful:
– Surround yourself with the right people; even though they won’t be there physically it is important to regularly communicate with your coworkers.
– Set clear expectations, define goals, and make sure to meet deadlines.
– Make the most of technology and use it to make your work easier.
– Use calendars and planners to stay organized and never miss out on anything.
– Eliminate all distractions, whether they are coming from your TV or family members.
– Set regular meetings with your team members so you can track your progress.


Andrea Loubier

Andrea Loubier
CEO of Mailbird

CEO of Mailbird, a travel addict, world citizen, spicy food lover, passionate about women in tech, millennials, identity and the new office.

Published on August 25, 2020

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2 thoughts on "Is Remote Work Challenging Us to Build Successful Teams?"

  • I became interested in this back in the early 1990s when I got my first computer and access to the Internet was through typed in strings – no WYSIWYG back then! I then fell across CompuServe and a teleworking forum and became a member and then administrator, A group of us worked for four years on a European Commission project aimed at using the emerging Internet technologies to help the “geographically disadvantaged” EC speak for those stuck out in the back of beyond.

    When I started the project in 1995 I went to Brussels and used a laptop to access emails etc. By the end of the project I was picking up emails on a Palm personal digital assistant, a forerunner of today’s smartphones without the phone!

    Twenty years on we have the technology to enable remote working but its adoption is being held up by the same closed mind management types who believe/believed if we worked remotely we were slacking off on the golf course!

    But it has to happen and two of today’s drivers are terrorism and climate change. If key people cannot get to work because of snow or flooding or terrorism has shut down the rail and road networks, business have to adapt to let those workers carry out their roles some else than the head office.

    Despite negative management attitudes, I believe remote working actually gets more work done as people work straight from the breakfast table to their home office and start work during what would be their commute to work.

    • Avatar
      tropicaltech says:

      Wow! Amazing that you’ve been involved in this movement since the early days @kevincumbria:disqus ! Really cool as these things have to start somewhere, and I hope we can be a great example of how awesome and much more productive it can be. Stay tuned for the rest of the posts as I dive into how and why it really works. Because distributed teams do have some challenges, but they are easy to over come. Next we’ll look at how you go from being an employee in an office with management hovering over your shoulders, to holacracy and being a self motivated, passionate and dedicated employee who get’s the job done no matter where you are in the world 😀
      We’ve learned so much through our adaptation of our global working structure – its awesome! Interested in hearing more from others and their experiences or even if they’ve never worked with a distributed team what they feel might benefit their company, if the flexible and location independent set up could easily solve.

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