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Trend Watch 2022: Distributed Teams

Newsletter published on:
January 7, 2022
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TechTO Co-Founder Alex Norman breaks down his top trends to watch for in 2022.

Distributed Teams

How companies can succeed in building a proper work strategy for their teams in 2022

I've asked the question - "how many start-ups have a truly distributed team?"

Most founders said that it's something they are "trying" to do, but it hasn't really taken off. The biggest issues seem to be that the war for talent is making it harder to recruit talent far away from HQ, and there are challenges in creating a distributed culture and work processes.  

The companies that are succeeding with a distributed workforce are the one's that were either born distributed (e.g. Zapier), have a globally recognized brand (e.g. AngelList) or are forced to recruit from a specific geographic area that have the talent and experience that they require (e.g. Toronto and Machine Learning).

What I've been hearing from Founders and Leaders is that they are open to being distributed, but the struggle is that prior to Covid, most of their team and network is local. It's a challenge for local Canadian companies to have globally distributed talent look at their jobs as the talent does not know who they are. For most companies, inbound inquiries come from their home country and they have to make an outbound effort to go distributed. Building an international talent pipeline is proving to be tough.

What does the future look like?

Companies will choose between distributed, in-person centralized or hub and spoke models. Each of these models have different advantages and challenges and need specific employer branding and work styles to succeed.

Being a hybrid of one of these models will not work and startups that don't choose a strategy will struggle. You're going to see more companies take a stake in what their culture is, and what's going to be true is that you're going to see companies building a culture with a certain job model in mind.

The one commonality among all of these models will be more flexibility in work style than prior to the pandemic. In-person centralized startups will allow employees to come in fewer days per week. Distributed companies will allow team members to choose the hours they work. My recommendation is to understand your workforce, and build a strategy accordingly.

How you can execute this in 2022:

  • Create and execute a strategy
  • Build a model around that strategy
  • Ensure flexibility is part of that model
  • Employer branding is more important than ever

Listen to more of Alex's trends and predictions for this year here.