The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on health systems and economies worldwide, making it a concern for businesses that have teams overseas. If you have been outsourcing some departments or functions to third-party providers, it is highly understandable you might have a bit concerned with the future of your workforce.
With almost every country implementing its own regulations over travel restrictions and the impact of the health crisis unpredictable to many territories, there’s a lot of bases to cover.
During this tricky time, it’s more important than ever to create a business continuity plan that will bode well both for your company and your trusted outsourcing partner. Below are tips for surviving the potential challenges of having an offshore team during the pandemic.
6 Ways to Overcome Outsourcing Challenges in Times of COVID-19
1. Know the status of each team
Before you decide on what to do, you need to do a thorough assessment of the current status of your departments, especially those halfway across the globe. For instance, lockdown mandates vary per country. If you were used to having your team coming to an office, this might not be possible for now due to safety concerns.
Another thing to consider is how flexible your offshoring partners are with switching to a remote working set-up. Can they provide their team with the necessary equipment to make work similar to what it was before?
If you genuinely need your employees to start coming to the office in the future, how ready and thorough is the outsourcing company with their safety protocols? Ask, and make sure you’re clued in with what’s happening.
2. Check-in with your offshoring partner’s contingency plans
Outsourcing is a popular way to cut overhead costs for your business. But what if your performance has suffered dramatically because of the pandemic? Many companies have laid off their staff because of this, and if you see yourself in the same position, you need to communicate this right away with your outsourcing partner.
The same is true the other way around. Outsourcing companies will not just usually serve one client but have many different partners all over the world. How are their relationships with their other clients doing? Are they suffering massive lay-offs, as well? This is crucial to know because you need to secure the future of your working relationship with your offshore team.
Ideally, there are contingency plans in effect so that high business costs are alleviated from both sides, and fair pay is still in effect.
3. Confirm the status of projects
Since you have no control over the government response of the country you’re outsourcing to, you might feel like you’re at the mercy of waiting for whatever solution your partner has. During this time, it’s important to be patient, extend empathy, and trust that your offshore partners are doing their job to keep you satisfied.
Simply establishing a process of checking projects, what delays might occur, and how you can better come up with a project management style that will satisfy your business can work wonders. Once both sides have adapted to the new process, things should work smoothly once again.
4. Have a backup plan for your backup plan
While many companies have already acclimated to a new way of working during the pandemic, things are still vulnerable right now. You need to assess your contract requirements and see how you can move forward to accommodate the needs of your business better.
Don’t be too complacent and continue to communicate with your offshore team about Plan B to Z, if you have to.
5. Beef up cloud security and workflow
If there’s a place the coronavirus can’t infect, it’s the internet. But cloud software can still be affected or targeted by malware and online viruses, something you should be actively looking out for. If you need help from your offshore team to provide IT and cloud support, now’s the best time to do so. Align with your overseas team with your online security to keep files safe and backed up on the cloud.
6. Keep a human touch
This pandemic has been hard for everyone, and while saving your company and your partnerships are in your best interest right now, don’t forget to be kind. Surviving the challenges COVID-19 placed on your business requires teamwork. Keep communication lines open and be honest with your offshore partner every step of the way.
The goal is to bring the best results for both your businesses so you can continue to flourish together in the future.
Summing it up
COVID-19 reminded companies to have a business continuity and emergency plan ready in case of unforeseen events. Businesses who have established excellent working relationships with their overseas teams will likely triumph together with a solid game plan and open communication.
How have you been coping with your outsourcing teams during the pandemic? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.