2017 – the year of managing remote teams

Giving daily tasks to remote teams allows your Australian staff to take more strategic roles.

One of the human resources trends for 2017 is likely to be the growth of remote teams, for businesses from large corporates through to small SMEs and start-ups. The rapid rise of telecommuting, workplace flexibility, work-while-travelling and offshoring strategies meant that a key capability for many managers in 2017 will be how they put together and best manage remote teams.

Your remote team is shaped by the skills and capabilities you need to grow your business. What your team looks like is totally under your control. Smart businesses are already grasping the opportunities for growth and for strategy alignment that can be enabled by putting a remote workforce in place.

The types of roles suited to working remotely include:

Marketing team – graphic design, digital marketing, web development and search engine optimisation employees can be based remotely (often in offshore locations such as the Philippines), allowing in-office team members to focus on strategy development rather than on process-driven activities.

Accounting team – bookkeepers, CPA qualified accountants and business intelligence specialists offshore can all be overseen by a locally based management team member.

Customer service specialists – handling web queries, phone calls, emails and more 24/7 ensuring clients receive around the clock service. This is especially handy during Australian holiday periods (such as Christmas and New Year) when offices without offshoring capabilities have to shut down or pre-schedule many activities, with the risks that this involves

Administrative support – team members located offshore can handle all of the business’ admin-based tasks, freeing onshore team members to focus on value adding initiatives.

The benefit of remote teams is that the business has direct involvement in who it hires and what skills and capabilities they bring to the table. You get to interview them as you would any other employee. This means you can select offshore team members that are going to fit with your business.

You can easily communicate with your diverse offshore team via online communication (video conferencing) tools such as Skype and VSee.

A wide range of low-cost or free cloud-based project management tools such as Trello, Evernote, Basecamp and Jira can be used to manage your remote workforce.

Utilising an offshore team is taking advantage of a digitally-enabled and highly-skilled workforce that is easily scaled-up and down depending on what your organisation needs at any point in time.

What is offshoring?

At its core, offshoring is a people management strategy in use by large corporates for years, but it is an increasingly popular strategy for businesses of any size to help build a high-performance, fast-growth culture.

Many organisations fail at their first attempt at offshoring because they actually don’t understand how it differs from outsourcing. Outsourcing traditionally has minimal client involvement in the recruitment process – you give an external provider a set output and they are meant to provide it. The offshoring model is usually much more affordable than an outsourcing model.

Using offshore talent allows quick and easy access to highly skilled professionals at a fraction of the cost of Australian workers – for some positions there is a saving of up to 70 per cent on salaries using offshore team members. For any growing business, this provides the capability to scale up quickly and efficiently.

Organisations are establishing international capabilities by tapping into the growing pool of experienced professionals in English-speaking countries such as the Philippines, a highly strategic choice for offshoring due to advanced infrastructure and amenities, compatible time zone, cultural similarities and extremely high education and English literacy rates.

For established businesses, offshoring frees staff in Australia to take on more strategic roles without being tied to process-driven work that doesn’t add to the bottom line.

Angela Vidler, CEO, Diversify

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