Whatever line of business you are in, there is a constant pressure to innovate – to find new ways of doing things, to make your business smarter, more efficient, and more profitable.
With the increasing sophistication of the technology available, and the collaboration tools that are now within reach of businesses of all sizes, there is a growing opportunity for you to rethink how you structure your workforce, how you manage the workflow of your business, and how you can meet the needs of your clients or deliver your products in a more timely and impactful way.
One of the options that many businesses are contemplating is to use remote teams.
What is a remote team?
There are lots of variations on the concept of a remote team. The easiest way to think about it is to assume that the traditional business model involves having a physical office for your business, and the people that you employ come to that office each day, Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM, and your managers can see who is working well and who is underperforming in the delivery of your business objectives. A remote team will still be tasked with delivering your business objectives, but they won’t be in the same office as you, they may not be in the same office as each other, they may be in multiple locations and multiple time-zones around the world.
Why consider a remote team?
The concept of remote teams was originally drive by the potential cost savings that could be realized by shifting to work to locations where the required skills could be accessed at lower wages. For example, the back-office financial processing of banks could be out-sourced from the high-cost financial centers of London or New York to cities in India where highly-qualified graduates could be employed to do the work at a lower wage rate. As the concept has evolved, we’ve seen companies look to set up remote teams for a whole range of reasons – it may be that the skills they need are only available in certain locations, or possibly they need to provide around-the-clock support to their clients.
What infrastructure does a remote team need?
While there may be some specialist systems that your remote team will need access to in order to be able to complete the work required, essentially what remote teams need are basic collaboration tools. Communication is essential, so generally you’ll be using a combination of video, phone, email, and instant messenger applications to enable communication. Collaborative documents are also important, so that everyone can work off the same source document instead of having to create multiple versions. Project management is also key – you may need something as complicated as a full-function CRM system, such as Dynamics 365 Operations, or just the basic principles of project management so that your team all know who is doing what and what needs to be delivered by when.
Making the move to using the resources of remote teams can be more of a psychological barrier than anything else. If you have the right tools and systems in place, and a management team that knows how to effectively manage people, then you may be able to unlock significant value for your business. That is how you innovate.