In a previous article, we wrote about the benefits of outsourcing your work to remote workers. Thanks to the Internet, this previously impossible task has now become 100% possible.
Of course, in order for any system to be effective, the developers and stakeholders must be able to work out the challenges. Like all business processes, outsourcing to remote workers has its own set of hindrances and difficulties.
Take note that this piece is not meant to discourage you from outsourcing. Instead, we intend to make you aware of what you need to overcome to succeed with the help of your remote team of workers.
The old way of working dictates that you have to be in the same building or room as your staff. The reasoning is simple – whenever something comes up, you can easily call a meeting and solve everything in real time.
With remote staffing, however, each one has his or her own time zone that they work in. Depending on where you are, it could mean as little as 4 hours’ difference or more than half a day. The time that you work in might be opposite to theirs!
Fortunately, collaboration software like Trello, Asana, Bitrix24 and other similar offerings provide you with a venue in which you can dump tasks and instructions for your team to peruse at their convenience.
You can create a project within these apps, and map out processes for your team to follow as best as you can. As for communication, you have Instant Messaging software like Skype and conference services like Zoom if you need to talk to your team urgently.
This isn’t much of a problem now with English becoming more prevalent worldwide. However, when dealing with non-native English speakers, there’s always the risk of being misinterpreted.
You could find that your instructions might have been taken differently by your remote workers, resulting in an output that’s not exactly what you expected. This can set the project back a certain amount of time. In some cases, it doesn’t take much to rectify the error. However, the wasted time has already passed and cannot be recovered.
The best way to get around this is to encourage open communication between yourself and your team. It’s not a question of skill at all, but rather of a person’s ability to communicate. Some remote staffers are extremely skilled, but are also aloof and might not talk much.
Exhort everyone to ask questions, to make clarifications even when everything seems clear to them. It’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Every country has its own distinct culture, and that extends to work as well. You should as well expect at the very beginning that you will come across differences in work ethics that could clash with your own.
The biggest challenge in this context is to introduce your work ethics without offending the local culture. There’s no quick way around this. You would have to spend time studying work ethics, environment and local culture in the country where you plan to outsource your staff from.
Outsourcing is a great tool to have in your arsenal. It provides a lot of benefits especially to the cash flow, but you’d have to overcome roadblocks first before you can harness those advantages.
Have a Merry Christmas!