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The pros and cons of distributed companies

The pros and cons of distributed companies

The words “distributed company” are not yet familiar to our ears. But they may soon become so. In these firms, all the employees are 100% teleworking. This is an organizational model that is still not very common in Europe, but which is becoming more and more popular in the United States. Why is this? Here are some advantages: 

The pros

Having access to an inexhaustible pool of talent

In this model, recruitment is no longer geographically constrained. Talent from all over the world is available to the company, so that it can choose the person who is best suited to the tasks and values that it wishes to convey.

Increasing employee productivity

This is one of the most common questions. Is the employee who works remotely less or more productive than his or her colleague in the office? According to a Gallup study, published in 2017, distributive teams are 20 to 25% more productive. That’s enough to make a real difference for the company.

Realizing substantial savings

A distributed company  eliminates all expenses related to real estate facilities (rent, etc.) but also all expenses related to equipment such as furniture, office supplies, etc. This allows the company to make valuable savings while giving it the possibility to redirect these funds to other items. 

Facilitating the sustainability of the activity

In the event of a disaster, for example a natural one, distribution of teams will facilitate business continuity, unlike an “on-site” company that will inevitably be seriously affected. 

But the benefits are not limited to the employer alone. The employee will also find many benefits

Significant time savings

Employees of a distributed company no longer have to spend time and money to get to the office. They also have the freedom to choose where they work as long as they have access to the necessary equipment for their activity, such as a broadband connection, a computer, etc. A degree of flexibility that is far from negligible. 

A better work-life balance

By organizing their own working time, employees can play on all the mechanisms that will ensure an optimal balance between work and personal life.

A real sense of belonging 

Because teams grow and progress together, full remote can give employees a real sense of common belonging, and therefore a spirit that is rarely found in a traditional company. Teams develop at the pace of the company and the synergy becomes total. 

The cons

That said, the distributed company model has also drawbacks and may not be suitable for everyone. Thus, for the employee, the main danger lies in the feeling of isolation that he or she may eventually feel. As a result, there is a real  risk of burn-out or brown-out. 

Another risk to be mentioned is that of professional stagnation. In other words, is it possible to make a career, to climb the ladder, when you work in a “distributed company”? The model is too young to provide an answer to date. But the question is definitely worth asking. 

On the employer’s side, the distributed team model can be challenging. For the latter, the distance of the teams can pose the problem of their animation. The vast majority of managers like to have their troops close by. Working with distributed teams will shake them up in their habits with, finally, two major question marks: “How can we encourage and measure the productivity of employees when they are all at a distance? “And perhaps in a more existential way: “What does it mean to be a manager when you are hundreds, even thousands of miles away from your teams? »

What about Europe

In Europe, some companies have chosen to jump on the bandwagon. This is notably the case of the WordPress Whodunit agency which, in 2017, has chosen to close its offices in Paris to move to full remote. Its managers recall that “several organizational tests, hours of wakefulness, communication efforts of each were necessary before reaching a result that suited everyone and a smooth project management. Judging by the results, not by the time taken to complete the task, is the most important thing in the end (…). Trial, error and correction are the necessary steps to find the perfect recipe. When this is the case, the beneficial part of teleworking really begins. “For Whodunit, the results are now there with an increase in both customer satisfaction and employee well-being. 

The proof that implementing distributed teams can deliver real efficiency gains.

 

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