Business Hours. What are those? You might be a sole proprietor or a Fortune 500 enterprise, but operation hours are often 24/7 in modern business, thanks to a world connected by the Internet. It’s that same connection that provides you with the solution to keeping a workforce that’s flexible and cost-effective.
Most people call it outsourcing. We prefer to call it “rightsourcing.” It’s finding the right people, for the right job, at the right price. And here are three ways to effectively employ a remote team once you’re connected:
1. Secretarial Services from a Remote Team
Effective delegation starts at the top. If you’re going to manage a remote team, you need to let them help you help them. That starts with a bit of “retro” thinking.
You’ve seen it on old TV shows. Nobody answered their own phone, administrative staff did that. But today, there are a lot of routine tasks we’ve let creep back into our lives since the days of honest-to-goodness secretaries.
Some of this might be hard to let go of. Your email might be the most difficult. Inc. Magazine’s David Burkus reports that email eats up 23% of our workday. He also notes that many of us check our email up to 36 times an hour. What would you accomplish if you turned that task over to a member of your remote team?
“Google it.” The notion is a reflex at this point, as search engines are such a powerful tool that we just start looking up things ourselves. But if it’s your job to provide leadership, why are you letting this task gobble up your management bandwidth?
You can spend the next 30 minutes scanning Google returns in search of your quest for information (that’s assuming you know how to phrase the query), or you could spend two or three minutes pushing out an email request to a member of your remote team.
Say you want information about how many miles the average person drives each week, but you don’t want that data skewed by commercial vehicles. Oh, and it would really be helpful if you could see how that breaks out by region.
Do you want to bounce through website links hoping you hit the holy grail of information? Or would you rather have the information delivered to you by a professional remote employee? Keep in mind what you could have accomplished during that Google time, instead.
3. Clearing the way
A shift in thinking turns good leaders into great ones. In a sense, they adopt the philosophy that they work for their employees.
Adding a remote team to this mix supercharges everything. What can your remote employees do to help you make your on-site team more successful?
- How many more deals could your sales team close if they could rely on a member of your remote team to prepare a custom PowerPoint presentation for each call?
- What sort of strategic insight could your finance department help you with if they could rely on a remote employee to take care of the administrative aspects of accounting and bookkeeping?
- What new sales and revenue opportunities could your marketing department uncover if they could outsource the time-consuming tasks of monitoring social media?
- How many innovations to your company culture could your HR department make if they could push the day-to-day administrative efforts of payroll and benefits to a member of your remote team?
These are tactical decisions, but they have to start based on a strategy – one focused on migrating tasks to gain efficiency.
A Remote Team is an Asset
Is outsourcing any of this work a precursor to getting rid of employees? This may be the final task you’ll tackle as you work with a remote team. It’s human nature for people to be concerned when you take responsibilities away from them.
In this case, you’re removing the things that are keeping your employees from reaching their peak productivity. Administrative tasks slow us down. We’re less creative. We’re less innovative. We accomplish more when we’re free to focus on our respective areas of expertise.
This is an obvious benefit of outsourcing, but misplaced concerns sometimes obscure it. Instead of in-house workers hearing that something’s being taken off their plate and handed to a remote team so that they can be more productive, some may interpret it to mean they’re being devalued.
Make sure your people on-premises know and understand the reason you’ve brought on the services of a remote team. And make it clear how it will benefit them. It’s to make your A-Team the best they can be.