Remote work systems have steadily increased on a global scale, particularly in the tech industry. As online collaboration tools get more and more advanced, the world starts to feel smaller and smaller. Teams distributed across borders is quite common as a result, and many companies are now realizing the potential of such working arrangements that go beyond simply saving overhead costs or providing additional flexibility to employees.
If one is to ask about remote work experiences to employers on a broad scale, opinions that are extreme on both ends of the spectrum are sure to appear. Poor experiences of business owners who attempted to implement remote working systems are plentiful, and word of mouth can therefore make many think twice about whether doing the same for their own organisation is even viable in the first place.
On the other hand, some of the advantages that remote working systems present are unparalleled, and those which no conventional office setting can compete with. With the right structure and strategy, executing a remote working system for reaching your goals (whether you are a client that directly produces goods/services or an agency that facilitates production for a host of clientele), can be resourceful, rewarding and sustainable at the same time.
While most of us are aware of the common reasons why remote working trumps traditional office environments, let’s take a closer look at each benefit (along with some not-so-common advantages too).
Ever since remote work started getting popular, this was undoubtedly the go-to reason for businesses to make the shift. After all, forgoing the costs associated with buying/renting office equipment and space, along with providing in-house employees with all the nuances necessary for a comfortable working environment (this includes everything from compensation perks to drinking water, as every little cost adds up in the long run) can be completely eliminated.
With more and more employees attracted towards job opportunities that offer them the flexibility to determine their own schedules and maintain work-life balance, a remote work environment is one that is able to facilitate that the best. Apart from giving employees the freedom to work at their own pace, it also fosters higher levels of productivity: a win-win for both employee and employer.
Why bother with visas, or why settle for talent that’s less than ideal? Thanks to remote working systems, hiring talent from anywhere in the world is now possible as all that’s needed by employees is a computer and internet connection. If you’re confined to a 9-to-5 office setting, you will only be able to consider candidates who would be in close proximity to you.
Even if you do wish to hire someone beyond borders, you will first have to convince immigration that necessary talent doesn’t exist locally and an overseas candidate is your only option, in order to secure an employment visa – a daunting and painstaking process that will make you compromise on the competencies you need in order to sustain your business.
With remote workmanship, there’s no need to worry about compromising on excellent talent, or worrying about visa sponsorship, for that matter.
With teams distributed and the nearest members still thousands of miles away, it’s not difficult to see how such variables can negatively impact a remote working system. However, many companies the world over have made it wonderfully possible, and continue to thrive with their remote environments. After all, the industry of software outsourcing in Sri Lanka has also been built upon the foundation of a remote working system; without it, the country’s fruitful outsourcing market would not even exist.
So what constitutes a successful remote environment, what loopholes exist and how can these be addressed? Irrespective of the size of your business, what you specialize in or how much you can afford to shell out, it all boils down to one factor:
In fact, this is the only differentiator between companies that have failed in their remote workmanship endeavours, and those that have succeeded. Whether you are a business owner that’s looking to outsource operations overseas, or an agency that needs an outsource partner to serve its clientele, adhering to the below tips is assured to give you a remote work environment that isn’t just cost-effective, but also productive on a long term basis.
If you’re hiring an outsource partner across continents, there is a fair chance that communication styles are going to be vastly different than what you are accustomed to back at home. In spite of having a common language such as English between both entities, how something is articulated by your remotely based project manager can be different to how you would express the same, for example.
While this may seem like a trivial matter, it could cause misunderstanding which if left unaddressed, can snowball into bigger problems in the future. Therefore it is best to take some time getting acquainted to the lingo used by your remote teams, and allowing them to do the same. While actual duties need not be halted for this purpose, it will be useful for you to gradually ease into daily responsibilities, especially after you’ve newly signed the contract.
Today, numerous SaaS platforms help teams execute projects of varying volumes, requirements and levels together with their fellow team members on a real-time basis. Depending on the unique needs of your business, feel free to explore what will work for you. If your outsource partner has prior experience with working remotely for other clientele or still does so, they may already have specific tools set in place that you can utilise too. As a result, there is no need to rely on basic email, spreadsheet and word processing programs alone for the purpose of collaborating with teams across borders.
Although online tools make remote work all the more convenient, it’s still just as advisable to follow many of the essential rules that constitute the management of any project. Once again, Agile methodologies come handy here, and adhering to the sprints you would usually carry out if you were an in-person team is still just as valid (and necessary) in the remote landscape as well.
Now that you’re aware of regional terminologies and have a suite of online collaboration tools set in place to get work flowing, you still have a lot to do as a business or agency owner! Having proprietary rights to what is being developed by your outsourced team, it is obligatory to monitor the quality and punctuality of every outcome. Sure, this can already be done through the online tools already established, but this is best taken a step further by creating inter-personal communication between your team and your outsourced partners.
For this reason, conducting regular meetings via video call is crucial to stay abreast of who is doing what, why and how. On top of that, this also provides developers, designers, project managers and whosoever is part of your outsourced team the opportunity to voice any hindrances they may encounter in due course of chasing your objectives. While all this can still be facilitated through online collaboration tools, video-based meetings add a touch of human contact and personalisation which can subsequently create rapport between team members, thereby inculcating a working environment that is positive, amicable and reliable.
Once you know what a successful remote work environment needs, the next step is to source the right people to nurture the same with. Your business is precious to you, and so you want to hire nothing short of the very finest to add to your team. After all, it’s what you would do even if you had a conventional 9-to-5 setting. So why compromise?
At this stage, you may be a bit perplexed as to how you can screen candidates and/or agencies to ascertain whether they are the correct fit for your remote business or not. While it’s good practice to follow the same rules-of-thumb that you otherwise would when trying to hire someone for in-house operations, certain extra tactics apply when hiring someone exclusively for remote work. The following rules are by no means exhaustive, but can offer you some perspective as well as a good starting point for your remote work recruitment process.
When you approach a potential candidate, how do they respond? Are their responses prompt and to-the-point, or tardy and vague? What about the way they articulate their thoughts and feedback through the written word, such as email? On the phone, do they sound professional and eloquent, while appropriately addressing what you are saying to them?
If the answers to any of the above questions are anything apart from a confident ‘yes’, you may need to re-consider the eligibility of the candidate you are interviewing. After all, being able to articulate oneself clearly and punctually is the hallmark quality of an employee that’s competent for work which is entirely remote. With the absence of one-on-one collaboration, strong communication skills both via speaking and writing are the only ways to make remote workmanship possible, with no alternative whatsoever.
As more and more individuals get attracted to the prospect of remote work out of the presumption that it can give them flexible work schedules and zero commutes, the reality of remote workmanship is far more intricate, and not as easy-going as it seems to be. In a remote work environment, it takes extra self-motivation to keep the ball rolling, as opposed to an in-house position that always has supervisors on the prowl. This calls for more determination in the face of looming deadlines, as well as the drive to solve problems that may unexpectedly pop up in the midst of having no supporting team members instantly available around you.
Therefore it is imperative to figure out whether your job applicants are in it for genuinely undertaking the responsibilities and challenges that come together with the job role, or they are merely trying to fit in for the purpose of settling into a seemingly comfortable job situation. You can gauge their intentions by observing how they respond to questions pertaining to the various job roles you talk about, and whether they ask insightful questions about the opportunity per se, in the first place.
Remote work environments have been quite the rage recently – for reasons both good and bad. While some praise its qualities of saving costs and instilling work-life balance, others complain about how their employee productivity declined to almost zero. Irrespective of the polarised opinions out there, building the right strategy for the purpose of managing remote teams can assure your business the outcomes it needs, while enjoying the perks that come with remote workmanship.
Starting off, maintaining clear and concise communication amongst all teams is essential, and can predict whether your remote working system is bound to be successful or not. A difference in time zones, culture and even terminology can affect the clarity of messages conveyed. Taking the time to get acquainted with one another through regular meetings, while using the right online collaboration tools to share, evaluate and further discuss daily matters is the ideal combination to ensure your remote teams deliver as intended.
Apart from that, who you hire as an outsourcing team also signifies the success rate of your remote work endeavours. Screening candidates based on the calibre of their communication skills and whether they are truly in it for the job and not the clichéd perks associated with remote working also go a long way.