How to transition from a centralized to a distributed team

the image of 2 people working independently in a co working space

#FlexibleWork / #RemoteWork / #FutureOfWork is on everyone’s minds, lips, and especially organizational strategies these days. Many companies, particularly startups in high cost-of-living areas, are exploring plans to transition out of the office and into a remote team environment. If you’ve done some preliminary research, you know it’s not quite as simple as saying “OK, everyone work from home starting tomorrow. See you on Zoom or Remo!”

But what are the critical steps to transition from a centralized to a distributed team?

  1. Mean What You Say. It’s important to understand what all of these different terms for the future of work truly mean. There’s definitely a difference between flexible work and a distributed team. If you’re talking about moving out of your office and investing those cost savings into other areas, you’re talking about a distributed team. If you’re exploring a required co-working space for two days per week, that has different implications and can involve incremental costs to incorporate into your decision and will affect your remote hiring plans.
  2. Know if you’re ready. While we are extremely passionate about the opportunities afforded within a distributed working environment – it’s not for everyone and not everything is “hammocks and piña coladas.” Types of questions you should start with asking:
    1. What type of work does my team do?
    2. What’s my/our motivation in switching to a distributed model?
    3. Does our leadership have hesitation or trust in a remote model?
    4. What are the biggest barriers to making this transition? 
    5. Who needs to buy in? Who needs to be involved in the decision? 
  3. Determine the policies that would work best for you. Again, each team is different. There isn’t a perfect guidebook that says—everyone is awake at 7:30pm EDT, meets daily from 9-11am and signs off at 5pm—and if there were, you wouldn’t really be reaping the productivity benefits of a remote team. This policy development ties to your answers above. Your remote work policy is going to involve guardrails and aligned expectations for your team members. However, since we’re talking about flexibility, note that you’ll adapt your  remote work policy as your company evolves. 
  4. Prepare your team for success in remote. While much of the work that happens in remote teams is the same as work in an office, there are nuances to the execution of work. Set your team off on the right foot by ensuring they individually and collectively have the right tools to succeed

Need some more guidance? Workplaceless offers complimentary access to Goplaceless Module One to walk you through the due diligence of going remote step by step.

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