It is extremely important to pay attention to the time zone when it comes to business operations, especially if one is outsourcing to a country with a significant time zone difference.
This article is set to keep you abreast with potential issues caused by outsourcing to countries in a different time zone.
Time zone differences can pose a major challenge resulting in poor communication and service delivery. Consider these possible issues when relying on a remote team operating in another country for your next project.
1. Weather misalignments
Time zone difference comes with the trouble of weather differences. This can be particularly important for offshore services that rely on weather alignments, like constructions and farming activity or harvest activities. Employees working across countries face weather misalignment, which may affect the delivery of service, mobility, and connections. IT outsourcing, however, is one of the less-affected industries when it comes to weather-related mishaps, thus this particular aspect of time zone difference is not as much of a problem for your outsourced IT projects. Nevertheless, outliers happen. For example, India’s 2012 national grid failure and the 2020 Texas blackout comes to mind regarding weather extremes causing discontinuity in business operation on both ends of a typical IT outsourcing project.
2. The difference in language and cultural orientation
Employees working across countries with absolutely different time zones are most likely to experience language barriers, which can pose a major challenge with communication, affecting the delivery of service. Such difficulty can be addressed by finding service providers and candidates speaking your language or seeking the help of intermediaries with appropriate language skills and experience in this matter. Outsourcing to distant locations also poses the threat of cultural difference. Drastically dissimilar cultures may cause misunderstanding or misalignment of expectations in stages of an outsourcing contract. Fortunately, there are highly experienced service providers with a high degree of cultural familiarity to most prevalent outsourcing markets that would have no problem in communicating and understanding their clients’ needs and goals.
3. The issue of interfacing across the time barrier
To achieve a smooth collaboration between in-house and remote employees, there is always a need for a face-to-face time between executive members. To achieve this when employees work across a wide difference in time often requires much planning and can pose a major challenge. One unexpected upside of the COVID-19 pandemic is a high level of growth and adoption regarding remote collaboration technologies. Zoom, probably one of the biggest beneficial of the new remote working environment, grow from 10 million daily meeting participants in 2019 to 350 million at the end of 2020. Another significant online meeting platform, Microsoft Teams, saw a total user growth from 20 million in 2019 to 115 million in Q4 last year. Such extreme increase in the number of users for these meeting platforms shows a significant normalization of remote collaboration in the business world and the same can be said for IT outsourcing. Ease of access and meeting quality are no longer major issues for offshore projects’ face-to-face situations. On the other hand, the difference in business time in different countries persists. Thankfully once more, experienced service providers and experts understand such concerns extensively and are willing to find the most suitable timeline for face-to-face meeting with their clients.
4. Timezone difference and speed of service delivery
Often, companies or organizations offering service with an employee working across a wide gap of a time zone may experience a major difficulty in getting support from employees or clients, ultimately affecting their service delivery. Having a project manager with the ability to intermediate between the two ends and organize the team to match with client’s need is crucial to the project quality in this situation. Effective communication is key in getting the most out of your outsourcing project.