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Dos and Don’ts for Managing a Remote Team
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The Role of Offshore Outsourcing in Increasing Productivity
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Overcoming 4 Big Challenges in Managing a Remote Team
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Remote Work is a HIT! We’ve Got Data to Prove It

Remote team management (also known as virtual team management) is a unique process of supervising, leading, maintaining, and managing a remote team with the help of effective internet connectivity. Nowadays, with the rapid advancement in technology, the virtual world is gradually turning out to be the new real world. You must have observed the myriads of virtual remote teams around the world in the form of outsourcing, data entry companies, digital marketing agencies, and many more.

In this new era of telecommunication and globalization, the process of working with remote teams has evolved to a significant extent. But still, efficiently managing a virtual team properly often comes with the following difficulties –

i. Difficulty in making interpersonal connections due to the absence of face to face communication.

ii. Various logistical problems, such as coordinating certain jobs across different parts of the world.

iii. Differences in culture, and

iv. Various technical issues that lead to gaps in communication or miscommunication.

In order to circumvent such problems you need to follow some specific dos and don’ts. Below are some tips that might be helpful for you to figure out exactly how to manage remote teams.

A.What you must do while managing a remote team:

Here are the things that you should do while managing a virtual team –

1.Select a well-reputed development management technique:

You can find various management types and procedures available to read about online, such as the scrum management process. You need to make sure that the management process will maintain honesty and integrity amongst your team members and simultaneously increase their productivity without pressuring them too much. You can find various monitoring tools online, such as Atlassian Jira, that can help you to monitor the progress of your employees.

2.Stick to your management technique:

Once you select a certain process you should be patient about getting the desirable results. If you change your technique frequently, your employees would have a very hard time adjusting. Therefore, it is best to stick to your management strategy for a while.

3.Holding video conferences:

As you won’t be able to physically meet your employees at will, video conferences help you to develop an interpersonal relationship with them.. Face-to-face meetings are very important. It would be beneficial for your company if you hold a video conference with your employees for every project.

4.Set up your expectation:

People usually work better within deadlines. When you are able to clearly lay out your expectations you are able to increase their productivity to a significant extent. You could set a 30 day or 60 day window to fulfil your specific requirements.

5.Prioritize your needs:

If you impose too much work on your employees all at once, they will be unable to do their job while maintaining decent quality of life. Hence, prioritize your needs and divide certain jobs among your employees according to their expertise. It is beneficial when you are able to show them the smaller targets and the big picture simultaneously. That way, they are able come up with effective strategies to accomplish the task.

B.What you must not do while managing a remote team:

Now it’s time consider the facts that you shouldn’t do while managing your team –

1.Don’t believe in rumors:

Don’t judge any one of your employees based on certain hearsays. Rumors can be dangerous as they create misconception and unnecessary misapprehension. If you hear certain things about someone, personally communicate with him or her and consider every matter before making your final decision.

2.Don’t forget to encourage diversity:

Diversity of ethnicity and culture could be a very good thing for your organization as it would help to manoeuvre certain strategies from various perspectives. Hence, with a multicultural and diverse organization you are able to eliminate the “group thinking” problem.

3.Don’t use an Information System that is too intricate:

If your information system (IS) is too complex then your employees would have a difficult time interpreting and communicating with it. This would ultimately impede your company’s progress. Use an information system, such as the Source Code Management (SCM), which is easily comprehensible.

4.Don’t micromanage:

Micromanagement might cause confusion and conflict amongst your employees, so you must refrain from micromanaging while dealing with a remote team.

If you follow these dos and don’ts properly, managing a remote team should seem like a cakewalk.

Offshore outsourcing is the practice of hiring an external organization to perform some business functions in a country other than the one where the products or services are actually developed or manufactured.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, offshore outsourcing services, or production to local providers, can change the distribution of production. Offshoring can also affect business sector productivity if offshore workers are more productive than the local workers, or vice versa.

Below are the reasons why offshore outsourcing assists in increasing productivity:

1. Prioritization and Distribution of Work:

Some entrepreneurs and small business owners feel a lack of control when they are not managing every aspect of their business. However, if you are spending too much time trying to perform every single task by yourself, you risk being underproductive because productivity is doing more with less instead of simply “doing more.”
Outsourcing is considered more as a strategic tool than a cost-cutting tool nowadays, since by outsourcing certain activities, you minimize risk. If you’re hyper-stressed from trying to complete multiple things simultaneously, and it’s taking a toll on your productivity, consider outsourcing.

2. Managing Remote Teams:

From small startups to large corporate houses, organizations are beginning to rely on effective remote teams in order to enhance productivity. The key to building a successfully distributed team is collaboration. By using a remote-friendly infrastructure, you can now create flexible, as well as skilful, remote teams through outsourcing.
Here are some key tasks that can be outsourced to improve productivity:

a. Payroll:

Payroll is one of the most obvious tasks to outsource. It is labor-intensive and requires specialized skills. Even if you enjoy tracking attendance and doing taxes, your time could be better spent on growing your company. Outsourcing payroll could also improve employment regulation compliance and minimize HR issues.

b. Human Resources:

Like payroll, HR is not something most companies can claim as a core competency. Instead of hiring full time staff and building an HR team, which could be very expensive, partner with an experienced HR and recruitment company that serves various businesses in your industry. Outsourcing HR processes increases productivity by expediting the recruitment process. The sooner you fill an open position, the more productive your company will be.

c. Information Technology:

Information technology services range from infrastructure to management to support. Instead of overseeing IT process, partner with an experienced IT provider to keep your in-house staff focused on the essentials. Outsourcing IT also boosts productivity and efficiency by giving you access to the latest software, hardware and processes without having to worry about upgrades and maintenance.

d. Healthcare:

The healthcare sector is in for a big change with the upcoming ICD-10 implementation. Many businesses are investing in healthcare IT outsourcing for a smoother transition from the old system to the new. Consider outsourcing IT and healthcare services to better prepare for ICD-10 and help you focus on your core business.

e. Design and Creative Services:

You could probably learn to design your company logo, letterhead, promo materials and website, but it would take much longer and the final look may not be as polished as a professional’s work. Outsourcing to website and graphic designers will save you both time and money.

f. Social Media:

We all enjoy connecting with our customers or fans via social media channels like company blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc., but updating and targeting content, and converting followers into customers can be time-consuming. By outsourcing social media management, content creation, and other related tasks, you can concentrate on what you do best.

There are very few locations in the world with the right mix of cultural compatibility with the West, a growing labor force that communicates in English excellently, and the lowest prices in the industry. Large corporations have established operations in these countries to increase productivity and reduce expenses.

IT-BPO companies in these countries make it easy for clients to get started with minimal risk. You have maximum flexibility when it comes to pricing, the number of people you want to hire and the kind of services that you want to outsource. Partner with a company that offers custom solutions to make sure all your objectives are met.

Do you hire remote workers or let your employees work remotely? If so, then you are in the growing majority. The trend of hiring remote workers is becoming more popular day by day. Of course, the reason behind this growing popularity among employers, as well as employees, in recent years is quite evident. If your company has a mobile workforce, you can save money, both on tech equipment and office space, while increasing the overall productivity of your business. But you must know the steps to hire outsourced manpower. This is beneficial for the remote workers as well as offering the freedom to work from anywhere they want. They are able to save money normally spent on transportation and are offered a better work-life balance.

Remote team challenges

There are many challenges that you may face while while managing employees who do not report to an office. So, here is discussed some of the biggest challenges along with some helpful tips for managing remote employees.

1. Communication problems

Communication is very important both for personal and professional success. Communication is crucial not only at the beginning of the task, but throughout the whole process. A problem for communication can come from the issue of varying time zones. In a remote team, as all the members are situated in various locations in the world, it becomes a real challenge to communicate. In order to deal with this problem, you can make use of different tools such as Slack. With Slack, you can easily keep your collaboration and communication seamless. All the conversations are easily searchable and accessible. There may be times when face to face meetings are needed. For those times, you can make use of programs such as Google Hangouts or Skype.

2. Adjusting to different time zones

It is great advantage to have access to expertise from around the globe,  but this can come with certain challenges. When the members of your remote team are located in various parts of the world, you have to adjust your work methods and processes accordingly. In order to overcome the problem of coordinating various time zones, you can set your deadlines a day before the actual deadline. This way, if you have to make any changes to your project, you can do that within time. Another thing that you can do is to notify all your team members via email that they should be available during that given time. In that way they can adjust accordingly.

3. Collaborating on projects

You might have already heard that unity is strength. Your business can achieve higher levels of recognition if there is collaboration between your remote team workers, but with remote team workers, there can be a lack of collaboration and coordination among the team members. The reason behind this is the fact that they are hundreds and thousands of miles away from one another. Of course, there are many ways in which you can improve the teamwork of your remote employees. You can use the help of task management tools that are available, such as Basecamp. With this tool, each team member is able to see the status and updates of all the projects. They can even discuss and comment on each project. This way, all the members of your remote team can stay on the same page.

4. A unified company culture

Another big challenge that you may face while managing your remote team is while making sure that your remote team members are a part of the company culture. As people are social beings, they crave contact. In order to strengthen the bonds among them, you can ask them to get together in person at least once a year. If this seems out of the question, you can arrange frequent virtual meetings where they can discuss unanswered questions and hot topics. This way, every one of your team members will feel connected.

The aforementioned challenges can be easily overcome if you hire experienced remote workers, who have all the required knowledge and know all the tips and tricks of the trade. Be sure to use digital collaborations as well as communication tools so that you can stay in touch with your remote workers.

Although remote working is unpopular with traditional businesses, remote working is proving to be an essential aspect for the future of business. While traditionalists might debate against the remote working system and draw out ideological divides, remote working is not as notorious as they make it out to be.

Debates Against the Remote Working System

The thoughts of traditionalists were further strengthened when business giants decided on policies against remote working. Although IBM was the recent of the latest IT giants to say no to remote working teams, Peluso made an ironic statement while breaking the news. He stated that there is only one formula of success known to him and that is to put productive talented and skilled people in really creative locations with the right tools and set them free.  Even though freedom of the employee was emphasized, it was snatched away the next second in the same announcement regarding policy change. Here are the points that traditionalists highlight as the disadvantages of having a remotely working team.

  • Remote working teams lack creativity and innovation due to lack of guidance.
  • Remote teams have weak morale.
  • Good management is an issue, which puts a strain on the overall operation of the business.
  • Remote teams lack the human interaction aspect, which helps colleagues to build trust and strong coordination. This factor further weakens the team.

Highlighted Negatives are Not Backed by Data

Although these points are some hurdles in maintaining a strong and beneficial remote team of workers, it is not something a business cannot overcome. If a company knows how to manage remote teams, they will not have any issues and the operations will be smooth. Over recent years, many bigger organizations have taken steps to minimize remote working as they think that remote working teams are one of the factors responsible for the decline in their profits.

It is ironic that, although most of the companies that recently turned against the remote working set up are data driven, they made policies without studying and analyzing the data in a proper manner. They did not have a legitimate base of data to support their decisions to make their policies against remote working. To draw a more accurate picture, Polycom conducted a study with the help of Morar consulting. In this study, they asked 25,234 workers whether remote working works for them.

Remote Working Teams Work as Proved by the Data

The results of the study are definitive data that are backing the claims of those who are in favor of remote working teams.  Here are some points that the study revealed about remote working and what is the worker’s point of view.

Flexibility

In the study, it was revealed that in this age of technology, digital-hybrid employment is what workers prefer. Out of all the employees, only 23% said that they do not enjoy a flexible working environment with their company. While 32% revealed that they often work in a remote working environment, 29% said they work in a remote setting from time to time. Three-fourths of all the employees who took part in the study revealed that they were working with at least one person who is not physically present in their office. Younger generations, especially millennials, preferred “work from anywhere” concept and over 70% wished to work in this kind of setup. Around 49% of employees who were 50 years or older, said they worked away from traditional offices on many occasions. This is very useful for those enterprises who want fresh talent to facilitate the innovative environment required for success.

Remote Working Promotes Work Satisfaction Among Employees

There are many benefits of having a remote team of employees, but one of the crucial benefits is that it promotes both satisfaction and happiness in employees which, in turn, helps to enhance their productivity. This was attested by 70% of employees who took part in the study. Remote working allows the workers to take better control of their work and life, promoting better work-life balance.

Working with Influential People

Remote working allows you to work with great people with talent and skills that ensure success. Not only does the business benefit from the innovative and creative minds working with them through the remote setup, but employees benefit from these interactions as well. This is because they get motivation and help from their colleagues which facilitate growth in them.

How to Maintain a Remote Team

While some negative points that are explained by the traditionalists have no substantial grounds, some other negative aspects of remotely employed teams are not entirely unsupported by reason.  The solution lies in the fact that you already know what can go wrong – and you can, therefore, take measures to prevent that from happening.

A remote team consists of workers who are working from different locations and are not together under one roof. There are chances of losing focus and motivation, or not being able to build a powerful work relationship. However, businesses can take the initiative and promote better communication within the team. Video and voice calls will help in bringing a sense of connectivity. There are many tools that help remote working teams to decide on accountability and track the progress of work. Regular video meetings and a friendly environment will make the remote team more efficient.

In a time when some companies find it easy to blame remote teams for the decline in revenue, it is important that enterprises realize that the remote working set up is not a soft target. Remote working teams of employees are a valuable asset that can prove to be more successful than traditional ones if they are handled efficiently. These teams have all the potential to be a hit as they have shown to promote satisfaction in employees. And when your employees are happy, productivity is improved automatically.

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