The overnight transition to remote work was rough at first, but we found our feet. In countries like Australia, the US and the UK, leaders have stopped talking about the ‘new normal’ and shifted the conversation to ‘the future of work’.

While the jury may still be out on what the ideal hybrid balance looks like, we do know that employees need the right tools to thrive wherever they are. Business growth in an uncertain world relies on a resilient, healthy and productive workforce.

It’s essential that investment in post-COVID workplace policies and benefits reflect the changing needs of employees and the values of the organisation – and that includes offshore teams.

While Melburnians may be poised to take the world record for days in lockdown, Filipinos are battling one of Asia’s worst outbreaks. Not surprisingly, the impacts of sustained high infection rates have shifted employee priorities: many are now seeking employers who offer support and workplace practices that will help them navigate ongoing disruption as restrictions start to lift.  These new expectations are already influencing the recruitment market – and retention rates.

If you’re managing an offshore team, here are three important questions you should be asking yourself:

1. Do my company values extend to every employee?

High-performing offshore teams have one thing in common: there’s no “us and them” divide. Team members are engaged in discussions that extend beyond daily work tasks and into the bigger picture – about the company and themselves. That might mean spending additional time sharing the quarterly business goals or making time during 1:1s to ask offshore employees how they’re coping with work and personal demands. Inclusive leaders take time to ensure everyone is on the same page.

2. Do I know what makes my people tick?

As lockdowns lift or ease (or are reinstated) and workers are permitted to return to offices, many businesses will find themselves facilitating a multitude of working styles across states and countries. While offshore employees – particularly in cities like Manila – are eager to return to the office, leaders will need to be mindful of new concerns and different support that may require.

Do employees feel safe travelling to and from the office? Do they have the necessary tools to do their job effectively? Has their productivity changed between WFH/office, and if so, why do they think that is? Empathetic leaders encourage open conversations and seek to understand what’s motivating or distracting their teams. You may not have all the answers and it may be your offshore provider who addresses the issues, but it’s essential to open a dialogue.

3. How far does my company’s wellness plan reach?

As the world has embraced online learning and training, the range of virtual health offerings has also exploded: online fitness classes, mindfulness exercises, mental health coaching and healthy living webinars abound. While your employee benefits packages are likely developed for your onshore talent, perhaps there’s an opportunity to extend select services to offshore employees? Investment in wellbeing has never been more critical when it comes to attracting and retaining great talent.

There’s also a vital question you need to ask your offshore provider:

Q. How do you take care of your employees?

Leading offshore providers will be more than happy to talk about the investment they make in their workforce. In fact, the best offshore providers won’t wait for you to ask. From diversity, inclusion and belonging policies to hybrid working plans and comprehensive training programs, your offshore provider should be embedding their own employee benefits strategies to support their people. Great workplaces – wherever they’re located – are environments where employees are empowered to do their best work.

The bottom line: businesses can’t thrive unless the people who power them are thriving.

OBS is an industry leader in its approach to employee growth and wellbeing. Reach out to find out more – we love to talk about the great work our people are doing!