How To Work With Offshore Teams - A Complete Guide

Last Updated
February 12, 2024
How To Work With Offshore Teams - A Complete Guide

Although offshore workforces started penetrating the business arena in the past five to six years, it became more evident during the pandemic. Moreover, when most organizations were struggling to keep up with the changing business environment, the IT firms were thriving in this new business scenario.

With almost all employees working from home, during the pandemic, businesses quickly found positive attributes like cost savings on rentals, fooding, utilities, and from the employee’s perspective, travel costs.

Even after, things returned to normal, most businesses are working with hybrid teams. Apart from the whole lot of benefits that come along with the new-age work scenario, there are a few challenges. But, there is nothing to fret about, as there are ways, you can justify working with offshore teams easily.

Learning how to work with offshore teams, can pave the way for businesses to work with diverse talent pools. It brings in diverse sets of ideas that can propel the business forward.

With many IT and software firms outsourcing their work, businesses have to communicate and collaborate daily with teams working from across the globe. There are a few downsides that you must handle in such cases, which include time zone differences, lack of physical meetings, and misinterpretation of messages.

The article aims to help you with guidelines to overcome the hurdles and make the most of a remote or hybrid workforce. Offshoring and outsourcing, although used interchangeably, started small. But today, many industries have adopted it.

Let us delve into the most common challenges which such a business strategy faces.

Common Challenges Of Working With Offshore Teams

Lack Of Quality

The first challenge that comes forth, is the output quality. Your onsite team and the offshore team may not be on the same page about a project. This could be due to a lack of seamless communication. A lack of proper communication and collaborative tools can result in low-quality output.

Failing Deadlines 

This is another common scenario when you work with offshore teams. The reason behind the failure to meet deadlines may be a lack of communication and proper task allocation in the first place. The failure to measure the workforce’s capabilities before task allotment may be blamed for this.

Losing Track Of Progress

This is another aspect that bothers businesses, working with offshore teams. Without proper standard operational procedures, it may be difficult for the leads and management to keep track of the progress of a project. This ultimately leads to the aforementioned scenario. Such teams need to be integrated with the goals and ideologies of the parent company, which can help in avoiding such mishaps.

Ethnicity and Cultural Differences

When working with offshore teams, this posfes a huge challenge for the business. Unless properly handled, diversity in the global workforce can lead to miscommunication and social tensions. When employees are born and brought up in different cultural and social settings, the outlook also becomes different. Such differences can impact work relationships.

Time Zone Difference 

The home and offshore teams often work in different time zones. Even when managers try to align and adjust the timings with each employee or team member, problems may arise. Moreover, holidays will also hinder project progress. The absence of team members in such cross-functional teams, on certain holidays can lead to delay in project completion.

Detachment From Business Objectives 

More often than not, offshore teams are not aligned with the business vision and mission. This leads to a lack of alignment with the true objectives of the business.

Higher Attrition 

This is another challenge that is bothering businesses operating across borders. Most employees working at offshore sites may not have proper interaction with the top management and human resources teams.

This can lead to ambiguity, with many of the team members searching for answers to important queries. Very often, the interactions do not take place at the right time, as most HR teams work general shifts. So, employees are left disgruntled, which leads to a higher attrition rate.

One recent survey revealed that 65% of the employees are looking for a new job. Additionally, 88% of executives revealed seeing higher turnover than normal.

These challenges can pose a huge challenge for businesses, if not handled in time. You can get ahead of these impediments if you know the measures. Find out more about the same underneath.

Essential Tips for Working with Offshore Teams

Develop Proper Communication Channels

Building strong offshore teams is a task that you can easily accomplish, with proper investment in your employees. You must ensure to keep all the offshore team members engaged, and aim at creating a strong company culture. Creating proper communication channels, is one of the aspects that need attention. Moreover, you have to create reward and recognition programs for the employees, so that they work with more enthusiasm.

Convey Clear Expectations And Parameters

You need to create achievable standards and document them as well. It should be followed up with a quantitative evaluation process, which both the management and offshore employees can evaluate. This is one of the first tips that allows businesses to work with offshore teams, successfully.

Agile development methodology can minimize the chance of misconception and will guide each team memeber about their goals. this will ensure better coordination with the team.

Avoid Huge Expectations

The solution to the problem surrounding missed deadlines is to avoid huge expectations. Too much pressure can also lead to lower productivity. It is important to allot work, based on the employee’s past performance and present capabilities. New teams should also get adequate time to adjust, before being expected to deliver.

Use Tools To Keep Track Of Tasks

Keeping track of progress is easy today, due to the availability of numerous time management and remote work management software. Try to find out what works for your company. With offshore teams, most of the communication happens through collaborative software.

So, it is important that everybody involved in a project get adequately trained on the same. Additionally, the use of automated tracking tools will also help in getting the job done as desired.

Discussing the project goals is also very useful, to ensure that it gets completed on time. Offshore employees need complete and relevant details, apart from understanding the vision of the products and services, before starting the task. You must provide such teams with all necessary specifications, to avoid disappointment.

Build A Culture Of Diversity

For cross-cultural teams, basic vocabulary must form the basis of communication. Moreover, you must engage in frequent communication, whenever required. A lot of new-age tools can facilitate collaboration and communication. Direct group messaging and audio-video conferencing facilities can help in bridging the gap.

Other than such tools, you can also use planning and analytical tools, to set goals and also track the work. Engaging with the offshore teams from different regions through virtual meet-ups is essential to establish a good relationship with one other.

One must also try to find out about the traditions of the other country and their festivals, to understand the culture better. It will be easy to understand one another and also helps in seamless collaboration. Conflicts will also lessen, through such activities.

Create Overlapping Schedules For Different Time Zones

To address the problems related to time zones, you must ensure to work with overlapping schedules. Additionally, you can also swap the schedules from time to time, for more engagement and productivity.

Several software and tools are available that can streamline and plan schedules for meetings and discussions, without any manual intervention. Proper and timely intimation about meetings and deadlines can help facilitate seamless discussions.

Share Brand Vision And Goals

Managers and Human resource teams must share the business brand and vision with all employees. Understanding the firm’s goals is crucial for its success. Video conferencing tools can bridge the gap between onsite and offshore employees.

Communicating your brand’s vision from top down is absolutely important, to keep everyone involved. The team leads, or managers must also inform the offshore teams, why in the first place they have been formed. It can bring clarity to their role and sync them with the firm’s expectations.

Retain Talent

 Lastly, attracting and keeping the right talent is crucial, as recruitment costs are high today. Training comes at an even higher cost. You ought to design a competitive benefits package for employees offshore, or onsite to reign in attrition.

Continuous training and development are also crucial for businesses, to keep their winning teams intact through all kinds of uncertainties. Investing in training can only yield positive results, in terms of smooth workflow and higher productivity. It also helps in identifying knowledge gaps, which can affect projects.

Do Not Micromanage

When you hire talented offshore teams, treat them as individuals who are capable of completing their tasks. Do not micromanage as that may frustrate them. The team may feel, that the firm does not trust them and will not share relevant suggestions. A senior project manager with team handling experience recruited specifically for offshore teams can help handle the situation more professionally.


If you keep the above pointers in mind, managing and working with offshore teams can be a breeze. Moreover, you can get immense benefits as already stated above. Make sure to keep everyone connected to get the best out of this global workforce.

 It is also quite crucial, to keep everyone aligned with business goals and mission so that the employee as well as the business’s growth takes place in the right direction.