Tips for Managing Offshore Teams
In the ever dynamic world of business management, the value proposition that remote workforces and composite teams bring to the profitability roundtable is one that cannot be overemphasized. Aside from cutting down business expenses, and their marked proficiency (with one BT survey indicating remote workers were on the average 20% more proficient at handling tasks than traditional office workers) offshore teams are also famous for the much-needed spice and diversity they inject into a company’s workstream. These characteristics make them a truly invaluable asset, but the caveat, however, is that for these benefits to manifest to the good of a company, remote offshore teams must be properly managed. How do you go about achieving this, it’s simple;
First things First, Hire the Right Employees
An offshore employee (like every other employee) cannot perform above his/her capabilities. Just as you took great care and effort to recruit your in-house team, same procedures should be undertaken in the selection process for an offshore team. Pay keen attention to the littlest of details, and be on the lookout for personality traits that make remote governance a breeze. Examples of such traits include effective communication and time management skills, diligent work ethics and the ability to work in a team. Granted such traits are hard to pick out on the first impression, but a laser-eyed inquisition into their past employment histories should provide valuable insight.
Lay Down a Practical Framework for Communication
Effective communication is key to the survivability and profitability of just about any relationship – workplace relationships included. If your offsite team is to work in tandem and sync with your in-house team, then there must be an uninterrupted line of communication between the two factions. Round the clock communication is essential for keeping both parties in the know, and for making sure you’re on top of your oversight functions. As a rule of thumb, make provisions for alternate communication routes, for times of urgency (and emergency). You could do this by having a dedicated phone line, email server or fax machine linked to the offsite team.
Be Clear About your Expectations
While effective communication does pave the way for sufficient interaction, there’s no doubt that interaction is limited with regards to offsite teams (at least when compared to units located onsite). Consequently, it is crucial that you provide a detailed rubric that outlines the expected aims, ambitions and goals of a specified task since you’re physically incapable of guiding them through the process to completion. Another thing that’s worth clarifying is the expected turnover date, as there’s always a proclivity for procrastination when it comes to offsite completion of tasks.
Promote Offsite – Onsite and General Employee Synergy
A team can only function as a team if there’s cohesion among its constituent members, anything otherwise and you’ve got yourself a bunch of individual talents mixed up in a cesspool of unproductive competition. It is therefore imperative that you create sustainable channels that foster interpersonal relationships; first between constituent members of both onsite and offsite teams and then between the onsite and offsite teams as a whole. Productivity is increased if both factions see themselves as pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that interlock to create the big picture rather than viewing themselves as opposing ends of the same coin. An excellent way to go about building interpersonal relationships is to organize employee get-togethers; If you have a Slack, Discord, or any other team viewer app, creating off-topic lounges where employees can interact freely also works pretty well.
Finally, everyone loves a transparent manager – being honest and straightforward with your opinions, suggestions, and directives is a fertile breeding ground for the seed of trust. And no manager commands more followership than the manager who is trusted by his employees.