How to Adapt Quickly to Your New Digital Office

Businesses, especially startups that bootstrap to raise funds, resort to hiring offshore employees because it is cost-effective and lessens the possibility of talent mismatch. Employers also find the skills they need much faster as they don’t have to deal with posting job listings on websites, conducting lengthy interviews, and offering jobs to employees who ultimately refuse. This whole process takes days or even weeks to complete, whereas choosing an offshore employee may only take mere hours. As such, employers pressed for time and those who only need to hire on a per project basis find it beneficial to outsource.

Employers who have been hiring the traditional way may be confused or wary of how it works. Granting jobs to people on the other side of the planet who you will probably not meet in person seems off-putting. As always, there will be the issue of trust – but isn’t that somehow the same for the people that come to your office? The risks may be different in so many levels, but worker productivity is essentially the same; they either do work or lag behind.

From traditional hiring to finding people with a few clicks, the leap is so big that those new to it may have trouble learning the ropes. If you’re willing to try a new way of hiring (and working), we have made this guide to help you adapt to your new digital office.

Be adaptable – Once upon a time, cultural diversity was something only encountered by travelers. Now, offices are multicultural. People now have to work as a team no matter what the differences are in cultural values, viewpoints, and backgrounds. If you can imagine how challenging it is in a single office location, how much more would it be, managing people based in different continents?

The key here is adaptability, not only for the employer, but for the rest of his employees. If you are going for a collaborative project, make sure to look for freelancers who are experienced in this setup. Though they are holed up in their home offices, they should be able to effectively work with other people.

Ultimately, be understanding and patient. Take the time to learn a little bit of their culture, especially if you are hiring for the first time in certain countries.

Consider time zones – The time you are so energized and ready to take on the day’s challenges may be the time for others to conclude a hard day’s work and rest. When hiring for jobs that require your guidance or for jobs that are rushed, definitely hire freelancers who are flexible.

Always ask the freelancer the hours they are available and compare their schedule to yours. Both parties should be able to adjust when necessary, especially when on a tight deadline. Making clear arrangements steers your project away from delays caused by not giving instructions on time or waiting the next day to answer freelancers’ questions. To speed up communication, consider using chat instead of emailing, if you haven’t yet.

Pick only the jobs that can be outsourced – Not all jobs can be outsourced. If you want to make sure that you’ll get the quality of work you’re aiming for, don’t entrust jobs that can’t be handled by a person offshore. For the jobs that don’t require your attention 24/7 however, the ones that need lengthy meetings with the company board, or extensive collaboration with your local team, don’t think twice to outsource. Some of the jobs you can entrust to freelancers are web design and development, graphic design, content writing, marketing, and data entry.

Stay engaged – Even across borders, you should show that you are serious about getting work done. This is not just because your workers are out of your sight (and reach, literally), but this is due to the fact that you have to leave them on their own, expecting them to finish the job as agreed. Although there are workers fully capable and deserving of trust and leniency, try to keep the scale balanced. Get the right mix of being strict, engaged, and permissive. Staying engaged will help motivate freelancers, but of course, avoid being overbearing also.

It may take a bit of time to be comfortable with your new digital office, but hopefully, you’ll be able to quickly adapt and work efficiently with your new offshore team. Still unsure how it works? Check out Freelancer.com’s guidelines to help you get started right away. Ready to hire? Post a project!

Nikki Hernandez
Nikki Hernandez Staff

Wired and Inspired | Content Coordinator, Freelancer.com

I'm the coordinator of Freelancer's Case Study Program. I write inspirational success stories of employers and freelancers. When not busy writing, I play video games.

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