Working with a remote team to execute tasks or campaigns on your behalf is certainly a sure fire way to improve your profitability. However, in order for an engagement to be a long-term success, there are more factors than the cost advantage that you need to account for. The time difference is one such factor that needs to be taken into account and planned for. The planning needs to go beyond managing/reviewing timesheets of your virtual team, and looking at the constructive strategies at your end as well as at the end of your virtual team to make the engagement a success.
Also, read about the crucial things that you should consider to make a better outsourcing decision here.
Here are a few ways with which you could bridge the time difference gap to ensure smooth operations for your agency.
How to Overcome Time Zone Conflict While Outsourcing
1. Selecting the Right Team
Finding a right virtual team that acts as a perfect extension to your own team makes the entire process easy for you. If you select a team that understands your work culture and business requirements, then you can also work with them towards managing the contact issues that arise due to time zone differences.
Some outsourcing companies may also provide you with a team that works during your time zones. But that may come at a premium rate. Gauge what suits you the best and go for it accordingly.
2. Keeping Track of the Difference in Time Zones
Keeping track of the people working for you in a different time zone may become overwhelming for you. The foremost task that you need to do here is to be and make your team aware of the time zone difference. Time zones are usually neglected and that’s where the conflict starts to take its shape.
Some of the easy ways to do that are by including your time shift in your email signature, mentioning the time for meetings/calls in both the time zones and asking your team to do the same. Or simple yet, using a tool to view and manage the time zone differences.
3. Drawing Plans and Concords
Now that you’re aware of the time zone difference, the next important thing that you need to do is to plan the entire work strategy. Make notes and documents of all that needs to be done/developed over the specified period of time and with the help of what resources, specify whether it’s a full time or part time job, along with other agreements or operations involved.
For getting more into details of it, you may want to create a Gantt chart for effectively planning and visualising exactly which tasks are due and for when. This helps everyone that is involved to be on the same page, each one knows what they should be doing and when along with the inputs that they should be receiving and from whom.
When the planning is done, the next step is to draw certain concords regarding strategies and communication between the teams. As the communication is not just between two different teams here but also between two different time zones, distinct protocols regarding certain constraints are necessary to be set before in hand. This involves making of and both the teams agreeing to a communication schedule and the common communication channels that may be involved.
4. Knowing When to Use Asynchronous and Synchronous Communication
Taking the communication conflict further, as we know, when working towards bridging the time zone gap, it is the most vital challenge that may affect the making or breaking of an outsourcing contract. What you need to know here is which communication channels are asynchronous, which of them are synchronous and when to use them.
The channels that require both the teams to be present actively at the same time, like voice calls, video conferencing and instant messaging, are synchronous modes of communication. On the other hand, the channels that may not require both the parties to be active at the same time, allowing them to receive the message, digest it and then reply at a later time are asynchronous modes of communication. Email and instant messaging (one team online at a time) being the examples of it.
Now, asynchronous should always be the preferred way of communication wherein both the teams have the choice to reply as and when they’re ready to do so, without a compulsion to respond immediately. Besides, disruptions in work because of unnecessary calls and waits for responses are eliminated here. However, synchronous communication is a must-have over a certain period of time. For instance, you can have weekly voice calls and monthly video conferences. This allows a broader range of complex topics to be communicated conveniently between the teams.
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