Spoiler alert! Not every remote structure is the same

Remote, distributed, hybrid? What's the difference?

Meeting with people sitting at a boardroom table and collaborating

So you’re on your way towards working remotely. But you realize that every company offers a different structure: remote, distributed or hybrid.

So which one to choose?

First off, well done! We’re always very excited to see new employees embracing remote work. Now back to the question.

Making the switch to remote is often the most difficult step (and that in itself is a very big accomplishment).

But what follows is just as important, and that is deciding on which remote structure works best for you.

In this blog, we’ll explore the various types of structures and their respective idiosyncrasies, while also giving real-life scenarios and how they play out depending on the chosen structure.

We don’t want to make the decision for you – simply present you with the options.

Before we dive in, let us get comfortable with some essential terminology. This won’t take long, we promise.

Distributed, remote, and hybrid

Those are the three most common terms used when talking about working outside the traditional confines of an office.

Key similarities shared between all three are:

  • It involves employees working from different locations (and in some cases across multiple time zones).
  • All three also rely heavily on online tools in order to work and communicate with one another.

The main difference is:

  • Distributed operations by nature do not have an office, whereas remote and hybrid usually do—but even then the ratio of remote employees vs in-office may vary.

Picking the right structure for you

Now that we’re up to speed with the terms, let’s start picking the right remote structure for you.

Choosing the right structure depends almost entirely on personal preference, but make sure to also consider the type of business that the company is currently running.

For example, if the company you’re looking at has customers that are spread around the world.

This would mean that you might be part of a customer success team which is also spread across the globe, in order to attend to customer needs no matter the time zone.

In this case, you would be choosing to work in a fully distributed team, since it offers a degree of flexibility higher that of remote or hybrid.

However, you and your team doesn’t need to be spread around the world if you want to be distributed. It works just fine if your company wants to keep its operations more localized, maybe within the same or a couple of time zones.

Additionally, and this is more of a suggestion:

If you’re not too keen on being too far away maybe consider working in a distributed team that works in only a couple of time zones.

Now, what if you genuinely enjoy working in the office, instead of working fully remote?

Well, then you’re looking at a Hybrid Team. A static hybrid team to be more exact, where people who enjoy staying in-house always stay in-house and those who like to be remote are always remote.

Before deciding on any structure, it’s crucial that you ask yourself: “What works best for me?”

It might be helpful to make a list of pros and cons for each structure and always reference it to your personal needs and wants. That way you’ll be able to reach a much more in-depth and structured decision.

As always, be true to yourself!

  • Take the time to seriously consider your options.
  • If you love the idea of working remotely and want to stay remote, then you should prioritize a company that caters to that.

Similarly, if being in the office is your thing, then choose a company that provides a hybrid structure.

What about companies?

As a remote company, you need to ensure that:

  • Those who work in the office still operate in a way that they think of themselves as remote.

This is to avoid certain pitfalls, like office-cliques which can be highly detrimental to the business.

Building further on the scenario above, where there’s a mixture of remote and office workers. As a leader, you need to be aware of things that remote workers miss out on, such as physical meetings and decision-making processes.

Things such as career development and visibility are often overlooked or mismanaged when it comes to remote workers.

Also more trivial things such as body language and interpersonal connections, which are easier to spot in a physical office.

About Oyster

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop and take care of a thriving global workforce. It 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.

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