Successfully Managing a Diverse, Geographically Dispersed Team
The digital era has seen us connecting remotely for decades now. Old friends could find each other again on social media platforms. Parents could keep in touch with children and grandchildren who have immigrated and businessmen and women could have their meeting with Japan from their boardroom in Chicago. But even though we had gotten used to a much smaller digitally connected world, nothing could’ve ever prepared us for that which was to come.
Digital Nomads and a Global Pandemic
Bob Dylan once sang “and times, they are a changin’”. Never have these words rang more true than the past decade. First, there was a shift in culture with the new generations. The older generations lived a pretty cookie-cutter life: Go to college, get a job, get married, buy a house, have children and wait ‘till pension so you can really start living.
The younger generations are no longer interested in this old white-picket-fence-model.
They don’t want to wait ‘till their 60s to start their life and with the cost of living increasing on the daily, many have completely let go of the idea of ever owning a house.
Young people have started taking gap years after high school to travel the world and find themselves. Others purposefully abandoned their line of study to become an English teacher in a foreign country simply to experience different places. Many of these individuals never returned home and built completely new lives wherever they found themselves.
A lot of these teachers started giving online training as English schools evolved into online platforms and others started doing remote data capturing etc. Slowly, the opportunities for connecting remotely and making a proper living started increasing and so the Digital Nomad was born.
Digital Nomads are people who are able to travel the world since their jobs allow them to work 100% remotely.As you can imagine, this also opened up the world to more diverse consultants. Still, people looked at Digital Nomads as the roaming hippies and “gypsies” of the world. Opinions about them ranged from people viewing them as extremely lucky to people viewing them as lost souls without any real substance.
However, that changed pretty quickly when the global pandemic hit. As the government instated one lockdown after another, companies were scrambling to find ways of connecting remotely with employees and still be fully operational. Many businesses were unable to do so and became Covid casualties. But, those who managed to make the digital leap soon found themselves in uncharted territory.
Navigating this “new normal” of connecting remotely led to many funny broadcasting and meeting situations. But as time went by and it was clear that we won’t be returning to the “old normal” any time soon, connecting remotely also led to time tracking apps. Moreover, HR starting to hire from pools of candidates from all over the world.
Management within this new structure is often challenging as this is still very new ground to most companies.
Can You Successfully Manage a Diverse, Geographically Dispersed Team?
Whether diverse consultants or permanent employees, it is 100% possible to run a successful remote team. But it will demand certain changes and a few mindset shifts.
Give a little to get a lot
Managing a remote team requires flexibility. So what if Mary went to do her groceries at 11:00 on a Tuesday morning? As long as she meets all her deadlines and works her weekly hours, it shouldn’t be a problem. The old-school power imbalance of boss vs. employee is not going to work with a remote team. In fact, with more and more remote working options popping up every day, this kind of power imbalance is your one-way-ticket to a shocking employee-turnover rate. There’s no need to micromanage your team and this kind of flexibility builds a lot of loyalty among team members.