When working with any team, effective communication is the key to success, but with the rise of outsourced workforces and home based working, there are a few extra things to consider if you want to keep everyone informed and connected. To assist you with getting the best value from your remote workers, we have compiled our Top 5 Tips for Communicating With Your Offshore Team.
Regular check ins
The saying “out of sight, out of mind” should never apply to the management of remote teams. While micro-management should be avoided, checking in on your team regularly is necessary. We recommend setting a schedule for your virtual meetings so they become a regular part of your process and not just something you do when you remember to. It can be as simple as short daily catch-ups just to get updates on what everyone is working on. It’s ideal to share your own project at hand as well. Also, make sure that you stay online as much as possible so they can easily reach you whenever needed.
Prioritise video conferencing
Sending an email or message might be the quickest way to communicate with your team, but it isn’t always the most effective option. It’s much easier for your staff to clearly understand what you need when they can see and hear from you. Whenever you are introducing new information, a video call should be your go-to option. There are many great platforms available. Zoom and Google hangouts are well-suited for group meetings, while Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are great for one-on-one video catch ups.
Follow up with an email
While the previous point highlights the advantages of video calls over emails for new information, we certainly shouldn’t disregard the usefulness of the humble email. In fact, they are a great tool for follow-ups after presenting new information to your offshore team. While almost all outsourced staff in the Philippines have strong English skills, it can be easy to forget that in most cases English will not be their first language. If there were any points that were not initially understood, backing up instructions in writing provides an opportunity for staff to process and confirm the requirements while also being a platform where they can ask any follow up questions they may have.
Although regular communication is essential, watching everything they do can sometimes bring more harm than good. Micromanaging your offshore team is not advisable, as it may imply that you don’t trust them. The key is to focus on results, not on activities. Allow them to manage their own time. By all means, step in if there is a problem, but just remember that you selected your staff because you believed that they had the capacity to perform their tasks well. If you’re prone to micromanagement, try to take a step back and trust your staff to deliver.
Have your staff done a great job? Or is there something that’s not quite right with their recent output? Don’t keep your comments to yourself. Let your staff know what you think about their work. Praising your staff for a job well done can motivate them to keep it up, while carefully explaining which parts of a project needs improvement persuades them to do it better next time.
Managing remote teams might require a slight change to the approaches used when communicating with your onshore team in the office, but once you get the settings right, the benefits of a remote workforce are boundless.