While remote and distributed work was already gaining ground, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated those trends and created a global shift in how we work. Now, remote work and distributed workplaces are common, and the benefits of having a distributed workforce are becoming clearer.
To realize those benefits, companies must effectively establish, implement, and manage a sound distributed workforce strategy. Here’s what People and HR leaders should know about this new way of working—and how it can work to your advantage.
The distributed workforce model
A distributed workforce is one in which employees work in various locations, such as in their homes or satellite offices. This is very different from the traditional model: a co-located workforce, in which all employees work out of the same location.
Distributed teams work collaboratively to meet company goals without having to share a location. Instead of working together in person, distributed workers utilize video conferencing apps, integrated chats, file storage platforms, and VoIP or other telephone systems. When implemented correctly, these tools allow remote workers to share documents, contribute to projects, meet virtually, and exchange information and ideas without disruptions or delays.
There are several notable benefits of deploying a distributed workforce model.
A distributed workforce can positively impact your company’s bottom line. First, you’ll reduce overhead costs by minimizing your office footprint. Plus, you’ll be able to hire skilled talent beyond geographical areas where pay is more competitive, allowing you to affordably source in-demand skills.
Larger talent pool
Not only does expanding your talent pool beyond your immediate local area save you money, but it can also open your candidate pool up to more diversified skills and talent. When your employees work from home, you can seek talent virtually anywhere. This is especially useful when hiring for hard-to-fill roles, such as developers for specific software. And teams with greater ethnic diversity yield higher profits than those with minimal diversity.
Better work-life balance
Employees who work from home get to enjoy more freedom and flexibility while pursuing their careers. Eliminating the commute can alleviate significant time and cost burdens. These workers may also be able to manage domestic responsibilities more easily with a flexible work schedule. This often leads to a happier, healthier workforce.
When you give employees the autonomy to accomplish their tasks in their own environment and on their own schedule, it leads to greater productivity. While certain remote work environments could be distracting, most employees get more work done faster when they’re working in a distributed arrangement because they’re creating an environment well-suited to their needs and work style.
All these benefits for employees lead to better overall retention. Being able to keep employees helps reduce the costs and administrative hassle that come with high turnover rates. It also helps you build a knowledgeable and experienced veteran workforce that allows you to source candidates for advanced roles from within.
Essentials for a distributed workforce strategy
While the advantages of having a distributed workforce are clear, it isn’t without its challenges. Fortunately, a comprehensive distributed workforce strategy allows you to build out all the essentials needed to address these challenges while also ensuring the maximum benefits. Here are some must-haves for a successful distributed workforce strategy.
Tools to support connectivity
Without in-person exchanges, your teams will need to rely on technology to stay connected. Make sure that teams have reliable equipment, including software and devices, to communicate effectively.
Device management plan
Since your employees will be relying more on devices, it’s important to incorporate a device management plan into your distributed workforce strategy. Determine which devices will be provided by the organization, what security measures will be in place to protect sensitive data, and what the process for retiring end-of-life devices will entail.
One of the most important pillars of your strategy will be your plan for communicating. It may look different from one team or department to the next, but consider implementing some general guidelines for clear, consistent communication between managers and their direct reports. The proper cadence should strike a balance between providing enough support and oversight without making employees feel stifled.
It may be beneficial to designate certain platforms for specific types of communication. For instance, chat apps might be used for general status updates or brief questions, whereas video chats could be used for kicking off collaborative projects.
One downside of a distributed workforce is that there are fewer organic opportunities to make employees feel as if they’re part of a team. You can still create a feeling of unity, however. Host team-building activities, such as virtual book clubs or games sessions.
Oyster’s global employment platform
When expanding your pool of candidates to the global workforce, administrative tasks quickly become overwhelming. From satisfying compliance with local labor laws to managing payroll across multiple currencies, managing a global workforce is no easy feat. Oyster’s global employment platform eliminates the hassle by helping People and HR teams source, onboard, pay, manage, and develop a distributed workforce.
How Oyster can help make your distributed workforce strategy a reality
Our global employment platform allows you to attract talent from anywhere and empowers you to make informed hiring decisions with an employment cost calculator. We also simplify onboarding and help you follow all compliance regulations with a dedicated legal team. When it comes to pay, we support fully compliant international payments for more than 120 currencies. We’ll also help you offer competitive benefits packages and find the best local providers. Our unified platform manages everything from PTO requests to contract agreements.
Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, engage, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. Oyster lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.
Oyster enables hiring anywhere in the world—with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks.