Fostering Relationships with Remote Offshore Teams

February 16, 2024

Working with offshore teams is often misconceived to be a risky and frightening business move. Yet the business model has proven to be a great way for companies to find great talent at cost-effective rates. However, it's not just about the attractive price tag, offshoring provides more!

Hiring an offshore team also proved to be a strategic business model that has the potential to bring you to the forefront of the competition. Outsourcing work has shown to speed up a product or project development and successfully meet business objectives.

More importantly, having an offshore team to augment your in-house development team will enable you to bring in more focus to other important core aspects of your business. As a result, just like when delegating tasks, things are accomplished in a more effective and efficient manner.

With so many great benefits from offshoring a remote team, there is one aspect that could cause great concern for you—communication or lack thereof. Traditionally, working relationships with your team can gradually foster in the workplace, with a remote team, however, it can be a challenge to forge relationships when you aren’t working in close proximity and interact face-to-face.

As an employer, it is important to ensure that your employees are happy and content with their work. With the distance, it can be a feat to assure that all the needs of your offshore team are met.

This article aims to guide you on how to further strengthen your offshore team management the distance as well as how to build trust between you and your remote team while working virtually.

Communication will be a key component to make up for the distance as it is the only way you will be able to connect with them. To connect with your offshore team, it is imperative to take a few extra steps and initiatives to bridge the gap!

Understand the things you could be missing out due to the distance.

We, as humans, are able to understand one another in a variety of different ways; we are great at picking up on signals. As it is practised in our daily lives, a person’s body language or tone of voice helps inform the way we communicate with them.

In an office with your teammates, it is easier to notice their different personalities whether they’re an introvert or an extrovert. You as the remote employer have to put in an extra effort to get a better understanding of your employee and make up for the fact that you are not in the same space.

Without being in a common workspace as your team, you won’t be able to know whether their working environment is comfortable at all times. In a common working area, you will be able to notice details such as noise levels and room temperature in the office and whether these are affecting their work progress.

Another aspect you won’t be able to tell is whether someone’s focused on their work or when they’re open to interruptions. Extra consideration is required when urgent and unscheduled phone calls are needed.

With an offshoring team, there is a great possibility to take things out of context. It is important to seek out ways to make up for it. To bridge these gaps, here are some ways to build stronger connections with your offshore teammates.

Put in the effort to be more accessible.

When working with an offshore team, it is required for you to put in more effort than you would with an in-house team. As explained earlier on, there are challenging factors that could affect your offshore team’s productivity and performance. The best you can do is be accessible.

As your physical presence will be absent, there are ways where you can make your teammates feel that you are there. Allocate meetings more often, due to the long distance working relationship it is important to keep up to date on their development. Daily updates with your offshore team are highly recommended to give assistance, keep track and monitor on how their work is coming along—ask how they are.

Another way to be accessible to your offshore team is to share your schedule with them, by letting them know the times when you’re free gives them the confidence to approach you without any hesitation.

These extra initiatives really make all the difference as they encourage communication between you and your offshore team.

Utilise different means of communication.

Any means of communication is an important factor when it comes to bonding with your offshore team. It is encouraged to schedule a video meeting with your team members as much as possible. Although, it is much more convenient to chat, having a video call where you can verbally converse and look at each other in the eye breaks barriers.

Another factor to keep in mind concerning video calling is to make sure that you are dressed in appropriate work attire. This extra initiative keeps things professional and shows that they are not just working ‘for’ you but ‘with’ you.

In the absence of physical interaction, it is important to utilise different means of communication available. Make the most out of social media to effectively engage with your offshore team. Put in the effort to liking, sharing, and commenting positively on their posts; this helps break the ice amongst your remote staff.

Be accommodating to your offshore team.

First and foremost, acknowledge that there will be differences between you and your offshore team. It is encouraged to take simple initiatives that are accommodating to your offshore team. Such initiatives include taking into account their time zones when scheduling meetings, making an effort to correctly pronounce their names, learning how to greet in their language as well as celebrating each other’s holiday. As a result, these small initiatives steer you away from unnecessary conflicts.

Take the time to have a chat.

In a typical office setting, you and your employees have many chances to socialise and bond over lunch and coffee, and small talks happen a lot more naturally. While working remotely, it takes a lot more effort to have a chat with your team. To encourage a friendly rapport between you and your team members, take the initiative.

Ask them about how their day was, if someone is out sick, check in on them; when someone came back from a vacation, ask them how it went. There are a number of things that you can converse about, it is all about taking that extra step that makes your offshore team feel that you want to get to know them.

Another added challenge could arise if they come from a different culture and articulate themselves better in a different language. The best way to deal with these distinctions is by being considerate. Another way to show interest in your team members as individuals is by asking them more about their culture, and recommendations on where to visit when you’re in their country. Asking genuine yet respectful question helps forge a stronger working relationship between you and your offshore team.

To conclude, building a close relationship with your offshore team may take extra effort on your end but it isn’t impossible. Remember that engaging helps turn ‘good’ employees to ‘great’ employees. Try these simple suggestions; you will see slowly but surely a stronger bond between you and your team.