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Location-independent teams

  • June 08, 2012

Location-independent teams

As technology increasingly allows employees to stay connected with coworkers and management, the prevalence of location-independent teams is rising. These groups collaborate and communicate as if they were working in a traditional office environment even if they are thousands of miles apart. With people increasingly moving out of state - or even out of the country - these modern squads are a way of preserving unity in the face of great distance.

The advantages of mobility
One advantage of these teams is their ability to capitalize on mobility. Wherever an opportunity presents itself, the flexibility of these groups allows for one or more members to pursue it while still retaining allegiance to other members. Although they likely keep the moving van lines busy with their constant shuffling, location-independent teams can use their nimbleness to pursue advantages whenever they arise.

Of course, keeping these groups running smoothly can be a challenge. In addition to the long distance moving, the lack of continuity and difficulty with establishing team-wide meetings can pose problems. With a few guidelines, though, managing a location-independent team can be simplified.

Team gatherings
Even if they are brief and informal, getting the whole team together via video conferencing or Skype can strengthen bonds. Setting a few times a week or two in advance can help team members plan ahead and increase attendance.

Document sharing
The growth of the cloud makes collaborative editing and sharing of documents much easier. By using these tools, carrying out long-term projects and maintaining open communication can be a crucial part of your work even over great distances. A few simple techniques, such as having individual members type in their own color and creating project-specific folders, can help add order to an otherwise potentially unorganized endeavor.

World clock
With team members sprinkled across time zones, simple things like synchronization can become a big problem. Keeping a world clock on your computer and staying aware of time differences can minimize the negative effects. On the other hand, having workers across the world can be a major benefit. Spreading assignments across 24 hours can help you stay ahead of the game and keep work going continuously. 

Keeping moves organized
With so much motion, it is integral to keep productivity high even through complicated relocations. Having team members use nationwide movers to keep their work lives organized during the trip could help keep your location-independent team running smoothly.

 

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