Three Standards for Creating Successful Distributed Workplaces

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Managing employees in different locations around the globe can be an intimidating prospect for many organizations. But, as Chris Lema explains in his latest presentation Having Success in Distributed Contexts, it really comes down to one thing:

Communication is king and it is constant, measured, and mandatory.

Creating those opportunities for communication falls to the leader of the project and, whether you’re overseeing a team mostly in-house with a few virtual contractors or employees in offices across the world, technology can make this a reality. Chris Lema’s team members know that they may be tapped at any time during the workday for a quick chat or video conference. When businesses are connected through a platform such as Lync, teams always know which colleagues are online and available to collaborate, which team members are busy or in a call, or who is out of the office.

In addition to online meetups, Lema enforces twice daily “pulse” calls with his team for everybody to talk about what they have finished in the intervening time frame. Why two? Lema uses the early morning call as a quick check to make sure work is happening and to highlight any team members who worked late into the night. It’s a quick way to use positive peer pressure to create a successful, reliable, and innovative team.

Working in a distributed context doesn’t have to be a compromise—it can bring together a hard-working team with a diversified skill set.

Other concerns about a distributed context—Am I wasting my money? Is anyone doing work? Are they making the right choices?—can be overcome by using communication and Lema’s other two standards for creating success with remote workers.

  1. Manage achievements and set expectations in inch pebbles rather than milestones
  2. Leverage technology to help out when its available

Taking steps to optimize your workforce can have a positive impact on your entire company’s productivity, from the front office to the back office, from first contact to fulfillment.