The US and Australia have something in common. It’s a challenge to hire locally right now, and offshore outsourcing has emerged as a strong solution. In the world of offshore outsourcing, your potential talent pool is no longer restricted to just one country. You can find the right people – anywhere.
For the most part, you’ll be able to outsource to staff that work the same hours as you. Locations like the Philippines are a great fit for Australian businesses, and South Africa for those in the US. The time differences aren’t major, and staff are happy to adjust to most of your regular work hours.
But in some cases, your offshore staff will work at vastly different times. For example, you may need staff working while you sleep to provide round the clock customer service. Or you may opt to try a different country’s talent pool if you can’t find a fit closer to home, or if they have a higher calibre of staff in the role you’re hiring for.
It all comes down to practicality. There are certain roles that absolutely need to be in your time zone to be effective, such as a virtual assistant or receptionist. However, for other roles, like a SEO specialist or bookkeeper, time zone isn’t a critical factor. In these instances, it’s not uncommon to outsource to someone with the right skill set who works different hours to your own.
At Staff Domain, we provide clients with fulltime, dedicated resources of their choosing in the Philippines and South Africa. Both locations are home to large, educated populations with fantastic English-speaking skills, great work ethic and cultural compatibility with Western nations. So, wherever you choose, you can be sure that you’ll work with highly qualified and capable professionals.
You can learn more about these markets here.
The 24/7 Advantage
One of the greatest advantages of outsourcing to a different time zone, is that you’re enabling your business to operate 24/7/365. This approach is also known as ‘following the sun’.
Particularly for businesses in the tech, logistics, ecommerce and customer service space – the ability to provide 24/7 support is in increasing demand. For MSPs, ‘level of support’ is the most important factor for customers. With lack of responsiveness (74%) and failure to meet KPIs (69%) as the top two reasons why a customer would switch from one provider to another.
With offshore outsourcing, your services can cross boundaries. You can get the right fit in the right time zone for your business, provide round the clock support, and deliver excellent customer experiences.
And even if working 24/7 isn’t a must for your business – it can be a benefit. You’ll get to start every day a step ahead. For instance, having a graphic designer or digital marketer work overnight, means you can send a brief or task today, and wake up to it complete first thing tomorrow!
Won’t I lose control of my staff if they are in a different time zone?
Loss of managerial control is one of the top perceived risks associated with offshoring. However, the research shows it shouldn’t be. We partnered with Bond University for a first-of-its-kind study (Offshoring Study) into businesses successfully offshoring. It revealed that ‘loss of managerial’ control is a minor risk according to the majority of business getting offshoring right.
How will I know my staff are working?
The same way you would trust anyone working remotely, locally. They’re meeting KPIs, delivering on important outcomes, and are responsive to emails and calls during their work hours. Add to this, the fact that your staff are 100% on your team – and your team only. At Staff Domain, we only help our clients find full-time dedicated staff. You wouldn’t share your local staff with other businesses, and we wouldn’t share your offshore staff.
5 Tips to help you manage different time zones
Whether you find staff in a time zone close to yours, or decide you need or want staff working different hours – your offshoring experience should be seamless. Here are 5 tips to help you manage time zone differences:
1. Make the most of cross-over hours.
When you work across different time-zones, finding time to collaborate and communicate can be tricky. But don’t think that means you’ll never meet or see your staff!
If you have staff working through your night, it’s a matter of start vs finish. For example, if you’re in Australia your staff in South Africa would start at 8am, as you finish at 4pm. Or if you’re in the US East Coast your staff in the Philippines would start at 8am, as you finish at 5pm.
Having a communication plan in place is key to making the most of this cross over period. Book a daily meeting in your calendar for this time. This will give you an opportunity to work through any problems, ask and answer questions, and make sure your staff is on track. If daily is not practical for your business, be sure to meet at least once a week.
2. Project management and collaboration software is key!
Ensure your business is set-up with project management tools to help your staff understand their tasks, and for you to keep track of their workload. There is a range of software available on the market, such as Trello or Microsoft Planner. These programs will allow you to assign tasks, track progress, and manage comments and questions.
3. Don’t underestimate the simplest of tools.
Some of the simplest tools, are the most important. First up – a world clock. Keep a world clock or a time zone calculator bookmarked on your browser. You’ll be surprised how often you might confuse yourself with the difference. If your business has multiple members in different time zones, one tool that might be helpful is TimeZone.io. It provides a visual of all your team members, and their where and when. Another simple but important tool is the scheduling function on your email client. No one likes to be bothered out of hours. Schedule your emails to be delivered as your staff starts work.
4. Encourage your staff to get involved in office.
If you’re team is working while you’re sleeping, there’s a lot of time with no team communication which can feel isolating. At Staff Domain, we offer regular training, group activities and wellness programs for your staff. This is to help them feel happy and engaged. Encourage your team to get involved, and where the time zone permits include them in your own Friday night drinks!
5. Invest in training from the very start.
Set your team up for success from the get-go. Adequate training is critical to ensuring the smooth running of your offshore team. It is essential your new staff understand your best practices, systems, workflows, and expectations. This way, they can be confident in their role – whether they work the same hours or not. Great training starts with having a thorough manual and induction program for your employees. If you need help with this process, a good offshoring provider should be able to guide you through it.
Get started today – we’re here for you 24/7.
Schedule an obligation free consultation at a time that suits you! We’ll put you in touch with one of our Staff Domain Specialists in the Philippines or South Africa to discuss your business goals and challenges. From there, we’ll create a custom growth pack for your business featuring recommended roles, full pricing, business requirements and more. Book a meeting in now.