How to Use Time Zones to Your Advantage When Outsourcing

When businesses consider outsourcing to countries in other timezones, they often have questions about how the time difference with their home country will affect operations.

For some, outsourcing to a destination with a different time zone may initially be viewed as a challenge. Still, the reality is that using time zone differences with outsourcing can provide an incredible, untapped advantage. 

Having spent many years helping businesses around the world set up offshore teams operating across multiple time zones, we’ve seen first-hand what works and what doesn’t. Based on these observations, we’ve compiled some of our top tips to help you understand how to use time zones to your advantage when outsourcing.

Successfully outsourcing across multiple time zones

The 24/7 nature of global outsourcing creates vast business opportunities and provides four key advantages:

  1. Flexible staff availability
  2. Shorter project timelines
  3. Increased billable hours
  4. 24/7 Customer support

Of course, successful and efficient outsourcing doesn’t just happen. It requires proper planning, and a little know-how, but by following the following advice, you should be on the right path to building an effective offshore team.  

Flexible staff availability – Your team, your way

There are many advantages to implementing a remote staffing strategy. However, before we go any further, it’s important to recognize that even if your remote team is halfway around the world, they’ll work any hours you require.

The global outsourcing industry is well-established. Staff are accustomed to working with employers around the world and recognize that this may involve night shifts to fit in with their client’s operational hours.

Regardless of whether you need your staff to work days, nights or any combination of the two, the incredible cost savings associated with outsourcing remains. Though night shifts come with a slightly increased wage, the cost is still much lower than in Western countries.

Outsourcing gives businesses the flexibility they need to set up the teams and operational structures they need. Having the freedom to affordably set shifts that suit your business’s requirements is just one example of this. 

Shorter project timelines

All projects have deadlines and deadlines mean stress, but what if there was a way to supercharge your teams’ output and streamline project delivery?

By using the ‘chase the sun’ outsourcing method, teams can complete projects faster by using a relay-style strategy of handing off the project ‘round the clock to keep work moving.

This method can be very effective, but for it to work well, it’s important that effective communication methods and regular meetings are in place.

To achieve this, we recommend you hold regular video meetings daily, to check in on how projects are progressing and to highlight any issues that may arise. 

While time zone differences may limit the windows in which these meetings can be held, many global outsourcing locations have adapted to be available during US, UK and Australian operating hours. Here are the top eight outsourcing countries, all ready to work the hours you need to keep projects moving and customers served:

  1. India
  2. Philippines
  3. Ukraine
  4. Poland
  5. Brazil
  6. Mexico
  7. Malaysia
  8. Argentina

Working with an outsourcing team from any of these countries means the end results are faster project delivery, effortless communication, and less risk of employee stress and burnout.

Increased billable hours

The expression ‘time is money’ is popular, and for good reason. The more hours in the day, the more money can be made. In fields such as accounting and legal work, charging by the hour is standard practice, but during a regular business day, you have  roughly only eight hours and a limited number of clients you can take on before you reach capacity.

A popular solution is to set up a system where the local staff attract new work and take care of client-facing advisory roles, while sending functional process-driven tasks to an offshore team who complete it overnight. The local staff check it in the morning and charge the clients accordingly.

Businesses operating with this model can easily increase their client capacity and double each day’s billable hours.

24/7 customer support 

In today’s global marketplace, time zones and hours of operation are increasingly becoming things of the past. If you are operating a website promoting products or services, you need 24/7 customer support. If nobody is there to take care of customers, there’s a good chance that you are losing business. This is where outsourcing can really help.

One of the most popular ways businesses stay in touch with their customer base round the clock is to handle customer inquiries themselves during the day but set up multidisciplinary contact teams to operate outside of regular operating hours.

Remote teams can cover incoming emails, live chats, social media messages and phone calls. Best of all, a full report is created at the end of every shift, ready for your local team each morning. It’s the ideal way to ensure you never miss out on sales, leads and clients again.

Choosing the right partner

One final piece of advice when looking at setting up an offshore team is the importance of partnering with an outsourcing provider that offers 24/7 operation and support.

It is paramount that your provider is there for you and your team when you need them, not just when it’s convenient for them. 

Additionally, providers that operate 24/7 are better positioned to assist you with managing teams across multiple time zones.

Outsource with Cloudstaff

At Cloudstaff, our clients are able to reach us at any time, day or night, no matter where they are in the world. Our office’s support services are available 24/7, but this isn’t always the case with other providers.

All Cloudstaff customers have a personal account manager who works to their designated time zone, as well as HR, Sales and IT support teams that run 24/7. To enable businesses to track projects round the clock we provide customers with the tools needed to monitor their staff and view progress reports in real time.

We understand what it takes to operate effectively in a globalized marketplace and are always ready to share our experiences with businesses looking to take their operations to the next level.

Want to know more? Speak with one of our friendly outsourcing experts today.