Distributed workforce management best practices

Thumbnail for a blog post on distributed workforce management best practices

Your team might be distributed around the globe, but distance doesn’t have to affect productivity, engagement, and retention. Clearly defining how your workforce collaborates and communicates can set your business up for success. 

We’ve compiled a list of best practices for distributed workforce management to help you better lead your geographically dispersed teams.

What is distributed workforce management?

Distributed workforce management refers to overseeing a team that spans different cities, countries, or continents. Team members work from various locations, such as their homes, co-working spaces, or on-prem at regional offices.

Having a distributed workforce is often considered a competitive advantage as you can hire remotely to attract top talent. No wonder two-thirds of decision makers in a distributed remote workforce survey expect that this model will become more common than on-site teams.

Best practices for managing a distributed workforce 

No matter where your team is located, you need transparent processes and systems to ensure everyone works together to effectively achieve business goals. 

Here are five best practices for managing a distributed workforce.

  1. Offer clear communication channels

Statistics about the challenges of distributed remote employees

According to the Remote Workforce Report, 40% of employees cite lack of community and interpersonal connections as a top challenge in distributed remote work. That’s why you need communication tools to bridge the gap that physical distance creates. 

Look for solutions with these features to keep your team connected:

  • Detailed availability status to easily see when coworkers are available
  • Integrated video conferencing to facilitate team meetings
  • Organized groups to keep discussions on track 
  • Customized notifications to receive alerts based on interest
  • Mobile compatibility to enable communication on the go

Regular communication not only helps employees feel connected to their colleagues and the organization but also allows for prompt discussions and decision-making. When asked about their preferred communication tools, from email to in-person conversations, three-fourths of workers surveyed by Slack expressed a preference for the ability to send real-time messages. In case issues or questions arise, you can address them immediately, preventing delays in the workflow and enabling faster problem resolution.

  1. Be transparent with your team

Transparency is key to binding a dispersed workforce together. That means giving everyone access to workflows, project timelines, and decision-making processes that promote clarity and trust. 

For effective distributed workforce management, you need to be upfront about your company’s goals, performance metrics, and expectations. Let’s say you have a distributed sales team across different time zones. By implementing a structured work schedule where everyone is required to be online and available during core overlapping hours, you ensure everyone is aligned on goals, progress, and any immediate issues that need attention.

  1. Provide ongoing training and support

With your team working from different locations, you need to enable them with the right tools and training. More than just providing the necessary technology, ensure everyone has the know-how and confidence to use it properly. According to an Atlassian survey of distributed knowledge workers, 26% say they lack the right remote collaboration tools or the training needed to use them effectively.

Building an environment where people feel genuinely valued and trained motivates them to bring their A game daily. Follow these steps to create a company culture where training is ongoing:

  • Provide guidance when challenges arise, helping to build confidence and problem-solving skills
  • Offer regular check-ins to discuss progress and address concerns
  • Promote workshops or access to online learning resources to address specific needs and career aspirations 
  • Recognize and reward employees who engage in ongoing training and development

Call-to-action banner to explore the top tools for remote work enablement

  1. Prioritize your security

Dispersed teams often work across various locations, networks, and devices, making them more susceptible to breaches. Each additional endpoint represents a potential entry point for cyber threats such as malware, phishing attacks, and unauthorized access.

Workers may connect to the internet through public Wi-Fi, home networks, or mobile hotspots, which often lack the same level of security controls as corporate networks, making it difficult to enforce consistent security measures across all endpoints.

When managing distributed teams, here’s what you can do to mitigate security risks:

  1. Encourage the use of encryption to protect sensitive information during transmission and at rest
  2. Enforce strong password policies that require employees to use complex credentials 
  3. Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) for accessing corporate systems and resources, as it adds an extra layer of security beyond passwords
  4. Leverage single sign-on (SSO) to streamline the authentication process, allowing your team to access multiple applications and systems with just one set of credentials.
  5. Use granular access control mechanisms to limit access to sensitive data and resources based on employees’ roles and responsibilities
  6. Provide security awareness training to educate your team about cybersecurity best practices, including how to recognize phishing attempts and avoid falling victim to scams
  7. Deploy endpoint security solutions such as antivirus software and firewalls to protect devices against cyber threats
  8. Track and analyze user behavior for signs of suspicious activity or unauthorized access
  9. Update systems to address known vulnerabilities
  10. Implement cloud backups to protect against data loss due to ransomware attacks, hardware failures, or other unforeseen events

  1. Embrace the cloud

Scalable cloud data storage empowers your team to seamlessly access, share, and collaborate on projects from anywhere. Plus, you get enterprise-grade security measures to safeguard sensitive information from unauthorized access. 

Let’s review how cloud collaboration tools help you better manage distributed team members.

  • Centralizing content management: Imagine all your file sharing and project discussions happening in one place. Having one central platform simplifies the process and bridges silos, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
  • Automating digital workflowsTrigger actions based on your needs. For example, you can send notifications when a document is ready or auto-assign tasks when a project reaches a new stage. This way, you reduce manual work and speed up timelines.
  • Boosting your productivity: By providing your team with tools that support real-time editing, shared calendars, virtual brainstorming and synchronous document collaboration, you eliminate delays, minimize communication errors, and boost productivity.

Distributed workforce management best practices

Simplify distributed team management with Box

With the Content Cloud, you get one centralized place for all your files, secure document sharing, and automated workflows to streamline tasks and improve teamwork — from any device, anywhere.

That way, dispersed teams can collaborate on documents while ensuring security, privacy, and compliance throughout the data lifecycle.

Contact us and let’s discuss how to enhance your distributed workforce management with Box.

Call to action banner to streamline collaboration across distributed teams

While we maintain our steadfast commitment to offering products and services with best-in-class privacy, security, and compliance, the information provided in this blog post is not intended to constitute legal advice. We strongly encourage prospective and current customers to perform their own due diligence when assessing compliance with applicable laws.

Free 14-day trial.
No risk.

Box free trial includes native e‑signatures, let's you securely manage, share and access your content from anywhere.

Try for free