[BEST Tech] Managing Geographically Dispersed Teams Easily

By Jasmine Long
March 27, 2024
6 min read
Blog
Engagement

Managing geographically dispersed teams with multiple working locations can be challenging. You want to ensure work gets done efficiently, all while bringing the team closer together. It’s a balancing act that requires mastery in both the work and social aspects. 

 

Examples of Industries with Geographically Dispersed Teams

 

Companies that have a large number of employees scattered across countries certainly deal with a unique set of challenges. If you work in these industries, you might want to start rethinking your culture-building strategy:

 

Banks and Credit Unions

 

Think of a local bank that’s grown over the years. New branches are popping up across the state. Each branch operates under the same brand but has its unique flair and challenges. How do you ensure that the teller in one town is as invested in your mission as the financial advisor in another? It’s about cultivating a shared vision and values that resonate with every employee, no matter their postal code.

 

Remote Healthcare Services

 

For healthcare providers operating in remote areas, the stakes are high and teams are often dispersed. Here, the employee ties are more than about a corporate culture—everyone’s focused on delivering a consistently excellent standard of care. How can a nurse in a remote clinic feel as empowered and connected as a specialist in a bustling city hospital? Through shared goals, mutual respect, and a robust network that allows for seamless collaboration, patient care does not suffer from the miles between.

 

Legal Firms

 

Consider a legal firm with its battalion of lawyers, paralegals, and administrative wizards, all working from different office locations. Each cog in the machine needs to move in unison for the firm to thrive. The key here is transparent communication, unyielding support, and a sense of camaraderie that transcends physical offices, fostering a culture of shared success and mutual growth.

 

Legal firms that operate across many territories have unique needs. They need the proper information exchange and policy integration for all locations. This sets up a solid foundation for collaboration for large-scale legal firms across cities, states or even countries. 

 

Government Agencies

 

Now, picture the sprawling network of government agencies, from the municipal level to the federal. Their mandate is to serve the public across diverse regions. Team unity here is not just a cultural aspiration but a practical necessity. Creating an environment where policy and service are efficiently delivered requires an intricate balance of reaching consensus, collaborating with various parties, communicating centralized directives and directing localized implementation.

 

What are the Roadblocks of Geographically Dispersed Teams?

 

While some organizations are ready to go all remote and some are challenging employees to return to the office, it sure isn’t easy to establish effective and efficient ways of operations, specifically for geographically dispersed teams. At times there’s a disconnect on several levels. Lack of conformance, communication, employee engagement and connection. The big issue becomes visibility since it’s difficult to pinpoint the real problems in remote locations. You might think “we’re losing money” is the problem. But the truth is, it starts long before that. 

 

Disconnected Teams Because of Communication Silos

 

Communication silos can sprout like weeds in the garden of a dispersed team, each cluster going about its business unaware of the larger ecosystem. The antidote? Deliberate and structured single-source-of-truth communication channels that ensure everyone is in the loop, fostering a culture where silos are dismantled as soon as they arise.

 

Dispersed Workforce Unable to Engage with Each Other

 

When your colleague is hundreds of miles away, engaging in the kind of casual, spur-of-the-moment chitchat that builds relationships becomes a tall order. Cultivating engagement in a dispersed team means finding ways to shrink the distances—creating virtual opportunities for spontaneous interactions and ensuring every voice is being heard.

 

No Central Place for Sharing Photos, Chatting, Socializing

 

Visual cues and social interactions are the glue of any relationship, including those at work. In a traditional office, you’d usually have a bulletin board brimming with announcements, photos, and personal tidbits. How do you replicate this digitally? By implementing a virtual bulletin board where team members can share, connect, and catch up as if they were sharing a coffee break.

 

No Central Place for Planning Events

 

Events are the milestones that mark a journey for a team. They’re as vital to a dispersed team as to a co-located one—perhaps even more so. The trick is to create a virtual event space that’s as inviting and engaging as any physical venue, where every team member can contribute, participate, and feel part of the general collective adventure or an occasion celebration.

 

Nurturing Efficiency and Connection in Geographically Dispersed Teams

 

Mastering the delicate balance between productivity and building a personal connection is the cornerstone of a solid corporate culture, especially when your team is not bound by shared office space. The need for efficiency in workflows is non-negotiable, but so is fostering a sense of camaraderie, employee engagement and closeness among team members who may only meet virtually. 

 

Technology is supposed to bring us closer together. Whether it’s family or colleagues. Luckily there are a myriad of different software applications to get that job done. The challenge is selecting the right one(s).

 

Using a Company Intranet to Cultivate a Stronger Corporate Culture

 

An effective company intranet is the linchpin in aligning a geographically dispersed workforce. It acts as the virtual equivalent of an office’s physical space, mirroring the experience of a shared environment where every necessary tool and interaction is just a few clicks away.

 

There are a few ways a company intranet can help with managing geographically dispersed teams and creating a sense of belonging.

 

Cross-Branch Communication and Visibility

 

Transparent and open communication across branches promotes a culture of visibility where employees feel seen and heard. By leveraging an intranet, a company ensures that important updates, conversations, and decisions are timely distributed, and accessible to all, fostering a sense of inclusivity and unity. It’s about creating a digital space where each branch can wave across the virtual divide and say, “We’re in this together.”

 

Central Place for Documents

 

A single repository for documents on the company intranet can revolutionize the way work gets done. It allows employees to access the information they need autonomously, instilling a sense of independence and confidence. No more waiting on email responses or calls to get that one critical document. Everything is organized, up-to-date, and ready for action, empowering employees to perform their roles with assurance and self-reliance.

 

Photo Sharing Platform

 

Imagine a place where employees can share snapshots of their branch location, home offices, pets, or local scenery. A photo-sharing platform on the intranet brings a touch of the personal into the professional space, making distances feel shorter and fostering personal connections among colleagues. This visual element of sharing helps create bonds that are often only formed in person.

 

Share News and Give Kudos!

 

A vibrant aspect of corporate culture is the recognition of achievements and the sharing of news. An intranet that features a ‘kudos’ system or a newsfeed where employees can celebrate each other’s professional milestones, and personal achievements, or even just share a word of gratitude. This public form of appreciation builds a positive work environment where employees feel valued and motivated.

 

Conclusion

 

In a world where teams span states, the intranet doesn’t just help with overcoming distance—It redefines closeness. Every shared goal, every virtual meeting, stitches us closer, transforming our location-specific differences into our strengths. Every employee’s journey is more than just about doing good work; it’s about creating a sense of belonging that knows no boundaries. 

 

If you are interested in the topic of cultivating dynamic workplaces, make sure to Join our webinar, whether you are a hybrid, remote or a single-location in-office employee!

By Jasmine Long

Jasmine is passionate about harnessing the power of digital marketing to drive social impact. She previously was the Communications Assistant at Jumpstart Refugee Talent, a nonprofit dedicated to facilitating employment opportunities for refugees in Canada. She is currently the Marketing Coordinator for Intranet Connections!