Enabling a “follow the sun” work model

This article explores how having an always connected workforce empowers workloads, processes and teams to work to a follow the sun model and the best practices for installing follow the sun within organisations.

The proliferation of new communication channels that technology has introduced in the last 20 years has allowed companies of any size to operate in a global market. This means organisations can reach customers on the other side of the world and achieve growth once thought unimaginable. Another scenario to consider is businesses with a limited time to market for an offering and having a team progress work overnight could significantly reduce pressure and increase the chance of success.

This presents a new challenge however; if your primary operation base is in the UK, how are you going source and serve customers in Asia? Working late shifts might be a very short-term solution, but it will rapidly burn out your workforce. Companies who want to operate multi-geographically need to implement a structure with several teams set up around the globe which hand-off work to each other in an efficient and structured manner. The following are best practices to consider for a “Follow the Sun” business model.

Establish a hand over process

As one team finishes their working day, they should formally pass over responsibility to the next one. Shifts should have some overlap time to allow for collaboration. Logging on to e-mails as the only source of how the previous team’s day went can be counterproductive. A short stand-up meeting on collaboration software can eradicate assumptions which could be made without the full context of a situation.

Empower and balance each of the teams

Each team needs to feel empowered that they can make decisions and escalate issues. If one team needs to contact another out of hours to solve a problem, then the structure is flawed. Delegating overall authority to one person as work is handed over is the best way to prevent this from happening. Similarly, skill sets and knowledge need to be balanced across all teams to allow them to tackle any challenge which might arise.

Review performance over time

Management needs to set KPIs and routinely review them across all their sites to ensure the model is working. They should sit with the teams regularly and gather feedback on what works well and what can be improved. When pain points and underperformance are identified changes should be implemented.  Teams are only as strong as their weakest link, so it’s imperative to ensure there is no site which lets down overall performance.

Standardise Processes

If all the teams follow the same processes and use the same tools and terminology this will make overall management much easier. Management needs to look out for instances where teams introduce non-standard practices as this will complicate proceedings. Language or local cultural challenges may create unavoidable deviations, but these should be minimised where possible.

CloudCube from Integrated Cloud is a scalable SaaS application which allows teams to collaborate on operational tasks including running HR, projects, finances and contracts. It can facilitate all of the disciplines outlined in this article such as capturing meetings and tracking KPIs. Having an all in one solution allows teams to work from a single source of truth. Your teams will be connected to the same live database no matter where they are in the world meaning departments are never out of sync.

You can find out more about CloudCube from Integrated Cloud here. Alternatively, you can contact us for more information here.

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About the author

Michael has been part of Integrated Cloud's journey since 2013 and has worked as a key resource on several large transformation programs for clients all across the world. Michael is Head of Product Configuration, meaning he uses industry knowledge and expertise to head up the team that implement changes to CloudCube using the CloudCubeDNA low code application builder toolset.