Desperate times call for desperate measures. And these are desperate times, especially if you have global IT Operations, each in a different stage of self-quarantine or lockdown. How do you handle an already challenging situation for your team and keep your global teams motivated and committed to adding value for your business? How do you get a better understanding of the challenges your global teams are facing? How do you de-risk your current technology delivery and operations? In this article, we’ll look at some factors for you to consider
Validate the offshoring capabilities for Work from home: A Gartner survey found that 88% of organizations have encouraged or required their employees to work from home. Gartner also says that 54% of the companies in India do not have enough technology and resources for employees to work to home. These statistics would be worse if the offshore provider or the offshore center is a small to medium-sized business. Since nobody knows how long the situation is going to continue, validate and test the offshoring capabilities to work from home and make decisions based on the results of the validation.
Communication: Communication is always vital when you are working with global teams and in the current scenario it is very important to understand the local issues and restrictions from your global teams. Spend time with the teams to understand the issues and challenges pertinent to their location and with individuals to understand specific challenges for the individual. You would be surprised how this kind of empathy resonates with remote employees.
You can now actionize this information to revisit your work model and processes.
A mind-boggling 88% of US resources do not have the knowledge or the capability to make international calls outside of work. So, there is a high possibility that the voice communication might breakdown due to the reliance on VOIP by your offshore resources. You can exploit free VOIP services for communication. Also, if you have not utilized slack or Microsoft teams, this might be the time to relook at those communication channels.
Revisit your work model and process: There might be a need to change your work model and your processes based on the changing environment. One key factor to consider is the security model employed by your offshore team for the Work-from-home. This is pertinent when your offshore model is based on supporting production data that is sensitive data. If this is the case, I strongly recommend moving that support piece to your onsite resources until the situation improves. While this does depend on the location, the security tools, and the support infrastructure, more often than not, you don’t want to risk-sensitive client information.
A few other things to look at
- Would a change in the working hours both on-site and off-shore be helpful: For example: changing your work timing might work better to maintain a balance for work and family. Evaluate if it helps to split the working hours into two chunks – early morning and late evening work might be more productive for both teams.
- Are there changes required for work assignments and updates. You could start to focus more on regular updates via the tools rather than meetings. Look at the frequency at which the resources update their tasks and make changes if necessary.
Revisit the organization goals: This might also be a good time to revisit the organization’s goals based on how the business is changing and the impact it would have on your roadmap for the rest of the year. A couple of things that typically hurts organizations with offshore resources is the business knowledge of the offshore resources. Investing in improving the knowledge of the business for offshore resources is overlooked in most organizations and improving this aspect will have a tremendous impact on the productivity of the offshore resources.
Another example of utilizing your offshore resources efficiently would be to automate business and technology processes. Offshore technical resources are very skilled and automation is a tool that they can handle with ease without needed much handholding or business knowledge.
Task Management: With the distractions of working from home, you would need to continuously gauge the engagement levels of your employees, specifically the offshore employees. Work closely with the offshore managers to ensure a high engagement level and empower offshore managers to keep the team motivated and on-task.
A key mistake that is easy to make is to try and take control of the offshore resources to understand progress and status. However, the best mechanism to do so is to utilize offshore management. They would be much closer to the ground realities and would have a better handle on the best mechanism to provide the information.
Changes to Team structure: Create opportunities for team members to bond and work together. Pair programming is a great tool for the onsite team members to keep the offshore team motivated and be close to the work being done. This also helps managers work with the onsite team members to and utilize delegation as a tool to manage Projects.
You could utilize one or more of these tools to better manage your offshore teams in these difficult times.