Effectively managing a remote workforce

Posted by Vince Nicita on Thursday, April 02, 2015

Outsourcing refers to engaging external workers to do jobs that would normally be done by your own staff. This is nothing new and in some industries such as construction and transport is generally the norm. However in recent years the practice has become far more widespread. Reasons include the need for specialized knowledge, cost savings, scalability and lack of available talent. The new challenge now is how do you manage this remote workforce.

Domani Digital was established from day one to utilise an outsourced work model. I decided that to be competitive in this industry I would never have the overhead, costs and headaches of the seventy staff I had at Relate. After reading many books and trying many methods we have now perfected our project management methodology so that our 300+ workforce can run smoothly, on-demand and producing quality better than our own staff used to. Our workers include freelancers working from home, or from a small office, in Sydney or India or the US. Some are small companies with up to ten staff. Where necessary we also partner with large forms.

There have been some terrific stories. For example, I have a developer in India who has been doing our work for over three years. In that time he has employed three others to do the work I provide him. He has bought a car, an apartment, got married and is now buying some land. He has become a bit of a rock star in his small town up in the Himalayas. And of course he enjoys his work and the challenge of producing consistent quality as expected of him at Domani.

Outsourcing to cheaper offshore workers works when you know exactly what they are doing, how they should be doing it and have methods to measure their performance. My offshore developers are constantly being trained by my own team. We quality assure their work, show them how to improve and reward when the work is perfect first time.

Domani acts as the in-between for many companies looking to take advantage of the lower cost and abundant workforce that exists overseas. Especially when local talent is in high demand and sometimes very expensive.

The methodology we put in place for our outsource workplace management works just as well for our local staff as well. Domani works with many specialist freelancers. These are the best in their field and have the courage and confidence to back themselves. Many have been my employees in the past, some are new mums now working flexible hours from home. Flexible work arrangements is an essential requirement in business today. The ethical, environmental and productivity benefits are compelling.

My top tips in managing a remote workforce:

1. Start with easily specified pieces of work. Small chunks that are easy to understand.
2. Know how to measure their quality.
3. Communicate in writing whenever possible. Use Skype chat rather than video or audio so that you have a history of all instructions and comments.
4. Be exact and precise. Leaving areas open to interpretation can often lead to disappointment.
5. Don't take excuses - know what you want and stick to it. Don't compromise and always expect quality. If you start to accept inferior quality because it is cheaper then the benefit you were chasing is negated.
6. Always be courteous, respectful and pay on time. You want them to enjoy working for you as well.

Domani can assist businesses in the setup and management of remote workers. And of course we can be your outsourced digital department.

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Domani Digital
  • L3, 9 Barrack St
  • Sydney NSW 2000
  • Ph 1300 883 295
  • Fax 02 8456 6010