This week, our Singapore-based Mauve team member Brandon Poon attended the SGInnovate panel discussion on The Future of Work: Tackling Talent Shortage with Remote Teams. Globalisation’s key benefit is its ability to open new overseas talent up to organisations – but with that comes a responsibility to appropriately manage teams that are physically situated in separate locations. The panel discussion at this event discussed the learnings of 4 influential business leaders, the growing trend of remote working and their suggestions at best practice for management of global teams.
Today, business is global. More organisations than ever are moving beyond their existing marketplaces in the hunt for increased profits, lower overheads, cheaper labour and new consumer bases. With the most globally-connected and technologically-savvy workforce yet at our fingertips, there are unbounded opportunities for organisations to take on individuals with valuable skillsets that are not necessarily from the “home country” of the organisation.
Any Business Can Be A Multi-National in 2018
In fact, the way in which we “tag” organisations as belonging to a specific country is drastically changing in the face of globalisation. The panel’s moderator pointed out that the advent of incubating platforms backed by investors, such as Experfy and WeWork’s Creator platform, is exposing start-ups to international financial backing – even smaller businesses no longer need to stay exclusively within the confines of their own marketplaces for business development or talent scouting. On a grander scale, we no longer see multi-nationals like Starbucks as a solely American company, or Barclays bank as British as we did in the past – organisations increasingly do their business online and therefore adopt workforce members that have the finest skills for the greatest financial value, regardless of their geo-location.
Remote Work is on the Rise in the Era of Disruptive Technology
The ability to tackle skills shortages or country-specific training needs is a central benefit of expanding your staffing internationally. As disruptive technologies such as cryptocurrencies, IoT and big data mining become increasingly adopted by organisations in an effort to stay ahead of the curve, the best skills in these areas will need to be sourced no matter where the resource is physically based. Gaurav Chaturvedi is the lead data scientist for the Singaporean bank DBS; he said people with data analytics and Blockchain skills may be very widely spread geographically due to the developing nature of the technologies, and it is up to corporations to find ways to accommodate them so their knowledge can be shared within the organisation. He is currently leading teams of data scientists across widespread geographical regions, so knows from first-hand the benefits and issues this presents.
Avoiding Isolation of Remote Workers
As Celine Ng from Singaporean telco organisation Circles.Life acknowledged, managing remote teams poses its own unique set of challenges – one of which is the complexity of organising morale-boosting, team-building exercises for employees. Her organisation keenly promotes corporate/social responsibility activities for their employees such as beach clean-ups, which allow team members to work together and also give back to surrounding communities. Organisations have to be mindful of their remote team-members’ potential inability to physically join these important group activities, and must find creative solutions to ensure remote workers do not feel isolated from the centralised team. Regular Skype video conferences and developing a team intranet or internal social network like Yammer to share successes, events and professional or personal landmarks is a way to combat this.
Utilising Project-Management Technology to Help Teams Collaborate
The panel also discussed the importance of unified platforms to enable remote workers to collaborate on projects and update them in real-time. Engagement, knowledge-sharing and collaboration are vital to the success of a project and some innovation is required to ensure that physically-separate work locations do not stand in the way of success. Shree Chandramogan of Go-Jek highlighted some disparity in the types of communication platforms preferred in different locations, such as the popularity of Whatsapp in India versus China’s WeChat – so it is important for operations or systems managers to research and agree the best platforms for the organisation’s needs, and to implement this across departments. Asana, Basecamp and Slack were all raised as effective cloud-based project-management systems for organisations wishing to avoid information siloes and inefficiency.
This insightful panel discussion raised many pertinent points that we frequently hear from our clients when they discuss their reservations about expansion into new locations and distribution of workers into remote work locations. While the decision to take on remote workers does require timely operational considerations and meticulous planning to ensure compliance, efficiency and the wellbeing of the whole team, the benefits of the growing trend are clear. In an increasingly connected and global work landscape, it is more fruitful and savvy to follow the talent than settling for the best option your “home” location has to offer.
If your organisation has decided to adopt remote working as a strategy going forward, get in touch via the Contact Form to find out how Mauve Group can help.