Through our many years of experience working with remote teams, we’ve developed 4 steps to successfully implementing and working with teams across locations and time zones. By following these stages, a company can become a true master of remote working. More importantly, your team will be fully engaged, staff retention and morale will be increased, which in turn means your business will get the best results and achieve targets.
We use these 4 steps to gauge how mature our client's remote team is by what stage they are at. Doing so helps to set goals and look for strengths or weaknesses in the team dynamic. Often, issues arise without the right mix of seniors/leads and mid-range team members.
Never start out with staff who are mid-range or junior. Always hire a really good senior upfront and pay up to double for this first hire.
Often we hear from customers that they want to test the process with one person. They want something like a tester to clear some workload and want to start hiring in the mid-range. It generally never works.
We rarely see teams of 1-2 people work; if they do, they take a considerable amount of management, and the cost/performance benefits could be better with a larger team. At Patona, we recommend clients aim to start at stage 2. If they can't build a team to stage 2 immediately, they should strive to be at this stage in the first 6-9 months.
Leadership, product, and day-to-day work management are still with the local/head office, and teams are mixed with both local and remote workers. The remote workers might be split across more than one local team.
This stage is where we have seen the benefits start to kick in. The team can begin to bond amongst themselves and go to each other if they have issues or need mentorship from the lead. Overall this lightens the load on the local team while allowing the remote team to work more independently.
Minimal direction other than some scope, strategy, and management of remote leadership is occurring, and the team is delivering solutions independently. This cuts down on the number of daily meetings required, makes it easier to work across time zones, and lightens management overhead for the local business while giving the offshore team accountability, ownership and empowerment.
This is the ultimate and shows that your business doesn't recognise the difference between your local and remote/offshore people. They are delivering and taking ownership of your business strategy at all levels. People are getting work opportunities not because of where they are but because of what they know, how hard they work, and the results they deliver.
Culture is generally more inclusive. If your business is at this stage, you have mastered remote offshore teams. This empowers the people working remotely and shows they can move up in the company. Your business gets more done, there are fewer management overheads, and overall your business should be delivering outcomes at significantly reduced costs than if you were working entirely locally.
Each of the above stages delivers value to your business. If you haven't seen real benefits yet, maybe you are stuck at stage 1 or haven't got enough senior leadership in your remote team to confidently say you're at stages 2-4. Some businesses won't get to stage 4 because they are not big enough to be able to, or there may be other reasons why they can't.
The goal here is the higher the stage, the bigger the benefit.