Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Distributed Teams and How to Manage Them

Distributed Team

When you manage a distributed team, you have a lot more to think about than your average people manager. If that sounds like you, we see you, and we’re here to help! 

First up, if you’re interested in getting a better handle over your freelance workforce, you need to check out Fiverr Enterprise, a freelance management system (FMS) for sourcing, hiring, managing and paying freelance talent. 

If you also want the lowdown on distributed teams in detail — you’re certainly in the right place! 

What Are Distributed Teams?

Distributed teams describe any workforce situation where staff who are on the same team work from different locations, often based across multiple offices for the same company. For example if the Marketing team has employees in New York, others in San Francisco, and still more core team members working in London. These workers are all involved in common projects and tasks, but do not work from the same office. 

There is a lot of flexibility when you have the freedom to hire a distributed team, as you can assign work to the right expertise in a different location or region, to ensure you get the right skills for the job. However, extra attention needs to be paid to communication and collaboration, as team members are based in different locations. 

Distributed Teams Vs. Remote Teams: What’s The Difference?

If a distributed team sounds a lot like a remote team, you’re not going crazy. There are a lot of similarities between distributed teams and remote teams. The main difference is that in a remote team, it doesn’t really matter where team members work. They could be WFH-only, hybrid workers, or work exclusively from their local Starbucks. Instead of being tied to any specific office, and working in a distributed way for their business, workers are thought of as remote — location agnostic. 

Freelancers can be a part of distributed teams or remote teams, as they can augment any kind of working environment. It can be easier for freelancers to blend in seamlessly with remote or distributed teams, as these employees are already used to not seeing all team members face to face, and working across different time zones. 

The Rise of Remote Work and Global Teams

Today, 58% of Americans have the ability to work from home at least once each week. When you consider that many people cannot work from home, for example teachers or hospital staff, this is a huge percentage. The rise in remote work may have been accelerated by the pandemic, but years later — there is no going back. 

Luckily, remote work is a great thing for most companies. It gives organizations access to a wider pool of talent, including freelancers who do not want to work in-office, it supports more focused productivity, and it allows businesses to be increasingly diverse in their hiring. Most importantly — it makes workers happy! The same research from McKinsey cites that 87% of employees would like the opportunity to work remotely, if it was offered by their employer. 

Managing Distributed Teams with the Help of Fiverr Enterprise

To suit the vast majority of the workforce who want to be able to work remotely, as well as the growing number of freelancers that today’s organizations are relying on — it’s time to start thinking strategically about distributed teams and remote workers. 

There are 5 key areas to think about, many of which a Freelancer Management Solution like Fiverr Enterprise can make a whole lot easier. 

1. Setting Up a Distributed Team

How will you find remote workers and freelancers to join your business? Fiverr Enterprise offers a unique sourcing service, where you can post a job description, and be provided with 2-6 viable candidates in less than 72 hours. This is a great option for finding expert talent from a wide range of sources, and not limiting yourself to your own network. Want to move faster? Choose from a pre-vetted pool of talent ready to hit the ground running. 

2. Building Team Culture in a Distributed Environment

One of the biggest challenges with a distributed team is ensuring that you can build a cohesive culture. One stumbling block is relying on agencies to find your freelancers. This adds a layer of distance, and stops you from creating a personal relationship with your workers. In contrast, a direct freelancer relationship helps you to build that bond, and become your freelancers’ preferred client in no time. 

3. Productivity and Performance Management

When employees and freelancers work from home, it’s much harder to keep track of their productivity, availability, and output. Fiverr Enterprise allows you to track all of your freelance workforce from one dashboard, so you can quickly see what milestones are being met, which projects are in progress, and if your fave freelancer has availability. At a glance, see who is providing your business the most value, and how. 

4. Collaboration and Project Management

Project management is also a critical part of managing a distributed team. The same visibility that we mentioned above lets project managers keep an eye in the sky over how team members are communicating with one another, who is involved on what project, and get feedback on each freelancer and their skills and talent. Create a talent pool of all your favorite workers, so you can quickly pull them in to support an urgent need. 

5. Legal and HR Considerations

Of course, when you’re working with freelance talent, you need to make sure you’re not misclassifying workers. Fiverr Enterprise automates the collection of all relevant documentation, automatically screens for any misclassification risk, and carries out a continual audit so that freelancers are only working for your organization if they are totally compliant. 

To learn more about Fiverr Enterprise and how it can support a remote or distributed workforce strategy — schedule a 30-minute call with one of our workforce experts.