Remote teams = innovation

A team that never sleeps banner

In our previous articles we have highlighted the benefits we derive from outsourcing and how working remotely can be quite qualitative.

The IT business is changing rapidly and one of the most important factors in this change is undoubtedly the role of the remote teams.

We are all familiar with office work, with the group of people we see every day and with whom we collaborate. Remote teams bring us something else. They come in all shapes and sizes with an ability to work from any location, so by default they bring on board the heterogeneity, flexibility and cultural diversity making them an ultimate source of innovation.

With all these features that characterize remote teams, there are some issues that different partners emphasize:

How do you manage a team if they are in 5 different places? Is quality the same as working in-house? How to define the definition of don?

We invite you to go through this article and read more about remote teams as a source of innovation. 

But first, what is a remote team?

The definition of remote team refers to the workforce with an ability to work from any location, reaching beyond the restrictions of the traditional office environment. Essentially, a remote team is the same as a regular team, with a common project, objective, and task, but operating in various time zones and geographic areas, united with the power of technology.

“We believe who you work with is crucial to success. Ambition; Dedication; Talent. These are all traits that make the difference between average and amazing.

Location is not.”

Remote team’s members have more than two eyes

Operating in a shared environment with others has definitely brought some positive occurrences. On the other hand, this phenomenon has also led to some patterns of behavior that have invisibly hindered the development of people’s new ideas and critical thinking.

When a team comes together through the transmission of ideas rather than physical presence, a creative and highly productive situation arises. A remote team is more flexible and new in its versatility. In addition to this, a remote team brings together people of different backgrounds, making their decision making processes different from each other, and this certainly brings high productivity and creativity to the company.

In this kind of environment interruptions are often much rarer and communication more considered. That enables a more focused working environment where people tend to get more done when working on tasks that need less collaboration.

The combination of various cultures, thought patterns and experiences makes the team great and creative.

Finally, a distributed culture also helps diversity in many ways. Greater international diversity can guide the company to better understanding of international markets in their product and marketing. Greater timezone diversity can reduce operational and support burdens by encouraging hand-offs, and not having to wake people up as much, or keep people up late. And greater diversity of backgrounds can be a great context for practicing empathy and leveraging new problem-solving perspectives.

“A team that never sleeps”

“Letting people work remotely is about getting access to the best people wherever they are,” write Basecamp co-founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson in their book Remote: Office Not Required.

The freedom to work from anywhere you desire is an attractive benefit—but it’s only true freedom when you can also work whenever you’d like.

Time variations typically head the short list of inconveniences when thinking of geographically remote teams. In reality, they can cause a few problems, such as missed deadlines or foiled meetings. Nonetheless, time zones offer up an unforeseen benefit when it comes to innovation and creativity.

Let’s imagine a team that never sleeps! Time difference can actually play its part here.

Meanwhile a team member in America finishes work and falls asleep, the other one wakes up in Europe and starts the day all fresh and ready to work!

It’s an unstoppable process of good work.

By far, one of the biggest benefits of being a remote company is the fact that you can have staff from near and far working across time zones on various schedules. This continuous coverage means that, in theory, there should be staffers who provide the company 24-hour support.

Distance brings everything

Communicating within remote teams is challenging for most people. Communicating with people in your own country with whom you share a language, culture, and many other similarities is already challenging. With people from another country, time zone, culture, and language, it is even more challenging. Remote communication can be both enjoyable and frustrating.

You can still love opening your PC, starting Skype, and talking with your colleagues from other countries.

Collaborating with different  nationalities to complete projects is highly rewarding. At the same time, you can be misunderstood as well as not understanding what is happening on ‘the other side’. Through practice, we learn how to communicate.

Being behind a screen can create new opportunities for certain team members, making space for those who might be less inclined to speak out in groups. Text-based communication places less importance on interpersonal skills and physical appearance, offering an effective way to share power and decision-making.

And the absence of body language doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re not giving away more than we intend to when we communicate remotely. There’s still a great deal of meta-communication and virtual leakage that happens in digital environments, and it only takes paying attention to read between the lines.

This certainly puts another score for the remote teams. Remote teams show a great example of imagination and innovation. Calm atmospheres stimulate our brains more and this is a great chance to improve our performance. 

How to make it happen?

As more and more of our interactions happen digitally, we will continue to experience new forms of miscommunication and misunderstanding. The solution will not come from new technologies (although, no doubt, developers will keep trying to bridge that gap). Instead, the solution is in understanding the new rules of engagement; in building a communication skill set that reflects the demands of our digitally-driven age.