Distributed team members cannot work in silos. To be efficient, they must over communicate and, so, have online collaboration enabled. This invariably means equipment and infrastructure have to be up to speed.

Especially when hiring freelancers and independent contractors, some companies still risk Bring Your Own Device. Like any other quick-fix, it tends to bring more trouble than it solves. We’re talking from performance issues to being more prone to security breaches. 

So what should you be looking at in terms of equipment and infrastructure for remote professionals? Your digital product team can – and should – hire based on skill, not location. But this doesn’t mean that connectivity shouldn’t be among the requirements for new hires. Third-party or not.

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Connectivity, hardware and software SLAs can be placed as preconditions for remote work. There are two sides to this deal, however:

  1. A) Team members have to ensure access to agreed levels of data upload and download speed.
  2. B) There has to be good quality company-provided hardware. And not only computers and headsets.

To make your team more productive without avoidable stress taking over, the company should also be looking to provide additional devices. Complementary monitors, keyboards, cameras, pads or whatever else is relevant to specific activities. 

Is there an available budget for employees to improve their remote set-up? To make logistics easier, you can work with reimbursements, bonuses, or gift vouchers. Some companies even go as far as reimbursement of basic facilities, such as dedicated internet.

This should be quite intuitive, but here is a short checklist of things you should be providing your distributed team.

Infrastructure and equipment basics when working with distributed teams

  1. Cloud-based infrastructure. Abandon machine and server-hosted development – they aren’t doing you any good.
  2. Standardized software development tools.  The team needs full visibility and the possibility to work both sync and async.
  3. Security awareness. Less obvious, but both logical and physical security procedures and tools in place.
  4. Decent communication gear. More than a headset and camera,  also lighting. Slightly related, it doesn’t hurt to have an interesting background too.

Where are you at?

There is a saying that if you can throw money at a problem and solve it, it actually isn’t a real problem. Although Infrastructure and equipment are important to distributed teams, I recommend you have a look at some other ideas I’ve previously shared on the topic:

If you truly want to have a strong digital product team, it needs adequate support. To know if you’re able to provide it, try Ubiminds’ Distributed Culture Maturity Assessment. Answer a few direct questions to find out how ready your culture, processes, and infrastructure are.

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