When working with remote teams, offshore or not, the criteria for successful working relationships and productivity is different to those working face-to-face. Many of the things we do naturally with people in front of us, we can easily forget this with our remote teams. Remote teams also lose the benefit of seeing emotions such as a smile on our face, with different cultures also thrown into the mix things can easily go wrong. Conversely, working with international and remote teams can be one of the most rewarding ways of working. The trick is to give the right tasks to the right people and remember that what might seem obvious to you, may not be obvious in a different location or country.
- Set clear deadlines
As a remote worker, in a different culture, it is often difficult to pick up on cues or implied deadlines with work so we encourage you to set very clear deadlines and you will see your virtual staff go above and beyond to meet them.
- Set regular meeting rhythm
Giving clear structure to a meeting rhythm is important when outsourcing. It gives employees a chance to engage you in their work, check-in, change direction if need be, so that their time and effort is used most effectively. It also ensures that all involved are working toward the same goals.
- Make Regular voice contact
Just like local employees, remote employees respond extremely well to interacting with other team members. We encourage you to make voice contact at least every 2-3 days at the very least. It will keep them engaged, motivated and excited to work hard for you. Otherwise, you risk your remote employee disengaging. A simple thing, but very effective.
- Leverage collaboration tools
Using collaborative business tools can save time and give virtual workers the access to information they need from you. Most of these tools are free and intuitive. They help keep you organized and control your workflow, as if you and the virtual worker where in the same room.
Skype can create a bridge between people over long distances. Instant messaging is quick and useful for updates, however making free calls using Skype over the Internet is cost effective. Especially easy to do when people are working on laptops that have built in microphones and web cameras. Using video conferencing over Skype is free to use and can really help showing non-verbal communication between people. nline management tools can really ease the logistical problems and organization. There are many available; basecamp.com is one good solution for project management and toggl.com has great time tracking features with basic project planning capabilities. These are online only tools; however, even spreadsheets and word documents can be very useful, combine these with such innovations as Google Docs and life can become much easier.