Remote or Local Developers: Who Will Be More Beneficial for Businesses Post COVID-19

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, work from home (WFH) is the go-to solution for the majority of organizations. With social distancing becoming mandatory around the world, companies are rapidly implementing remote work solutions. Industries such as healthcare, education, financial services, and telecommunications have come to realize that a carefully planned approach to remote work is both efficient and productive.

With each passing day, it is clear that the pandemic is not going away anytime soon. Hence, we have to adapt to a new normal that involves remote work. In the meantime, you are probably wondering about the pros and cons of working from home during COVID-19. You may have come across questions like ‘why working from home is bad for business’ on the Internet. So, it is only natural that you would be interested in the advantages of remote working for the employer.

Considering how the IT sector is growing, you will be looking for the best software development team. This means deciding between hiring remote or local developers to help you with your projects. What are the factors to take into account, and which group is the better fit? Before we answer this, let’s explore the difference between the remote vs in-office models.

How Work From Home Is Different From Work From Office?

Having a work from home job means you are not commuting to the place of business Monday through Friday, and staying there to complete an 8-9 hour shift. You will create a dedicated workspace or home office setup with the proper tech stack, and follow a fixed schedule every day. You will likely establish clear boundaries so that family members respect your time and space. This is the definition of working from home vs working at home, whichever term you use.

Working remotely is the same as performing your job responsibilities outside the physical workplace. In other words, you transition from working in a traditional office to anywhere with a reliable, high-speed Internet connection. Examples include co-working spaces, libraries, coffee shops, and hotel rooms.

Advantages Of Hiring Remote Developers

Cost-Efficient

If you compare statistics, you will see that the cost of labor is more affordable overseas. Would you pay a local developer $200 an hour when you can get the same amount of work done for a fraction of the cost or perhaps lesser from another country? In this way, you can choose a team that provides the same software or web development services as local employees but often at lower price points. You can then reinvest these cost-savings in strategic initiatives such as building bigger and feature-rich apps.

Also, think about how much you can potentially save by hiring remote developers. They do not utilize office resources such as electricity, water, gas, Internet, etc. You do not have to recruit them and invest in training sessions to ensure that they stay updated with the latest skillsets. Furthermore, remote developers need not travel to the location of the company, whether it is in the country or abroad. This reduces costs as you do not have to pay for their traveling or visa expenses. All these are crucial benefits especially for SMBs with limited budgets and in unprecedented times when everyone is battling an economic crisis. As a result, outsourcing is a viable and competitive approach that increases productivity and maximizes savings in the long run.

Access To A Global Talent Pool

Having a wider range of options allows you to be more selective with the IT talent you receive. Choosing to hire local developers limits you to the resources available within your regional proximity. This can restrict your ability to shortlist and recruit the perfect candidates when hiring full-time employees, thereby ruling out promising applicants. So, you have no choice but to rely on the services available within your immediate area.

The case is different with remote developers. You can easily reach out to knowledgeable resources with vast work experiences to offer. When you opt for remote employees, you gain access to a more competent pool of developers at a quarter of the cost. As a result, there is a greater probability of building a team with the skillset and experience that most favorably aligns with your project goals.

If you build an app or a website, you know it evolves from the architecture stage, through development, and to completion. This makes software and web development a complete experience that everyone can learn new things from. So, it is essential that developers have the skills to take on your project and offer the best client experience at the same time. Remote developers often have great communication skills and processes in place that enable them to deliver end-to-end customer experiences. Examples include communication and collaboration platforms such as Slack, Meet, Asana, video conferencing software, email, and phone calls. Considering location and time zone differences, they would also be happy to connect with you through your preferred channel.

Flexible Hours

Offering flexibility in working hours improves employee efficiency and productivity. Remote developers take all possible measures to uphold their reputation so they can get maximum international projects. They operate under certain timeframes to ensure the best efficiency and productivity standards. You can give them the option to choose the hours that complement their unique lifestyles. There is no need to micromanage as long as they complete project deliverables timely.

As a result, remote developers benefit from a healthy work-life balance that enhances satisfaction and the quality of their services. Compare this situation to local developers who must travel to their workplace Monday through Friday. Office environments present distractions for local developers with activities such as lunch, coffee breaks, and commuting. This usually means they have to work overtime which disrupts their routine and impacts company culture.

Digitalization

Today and post-COVID-19, the main survival strategy is to go online. For this, businesses must fully adopt digital solutions, and many are yet to take this step. This is because many organizations are not convinced about the benefits of digitalization. Another reason is the lack of awareness of toolkits and best practices that enable digital transformation.

Hiring remote developers changes everything as it will give you a chance to emphasize the importance of digitalization for your company. This will ensure business success now and in a post-COVID-19 world where social distancing will contribute to the boom in eCommerce.

Conclusion

We can see that opting for the services of remote developers is the best choice, considering current and future circumstances. With the availability of modern tools and technologies, it has become even easier for employers to connect with talent virtually.

If you require further information, please get in touch with our team of experts. Want to know how are you leading your team remotely today? You have come to the right place. What about managing remote workers’ toolkit? We can offer tips and suggestions.

We provide the best web and software development services that match your unique business needs, at an affordable price. Get in touch with us to learn more!

What Is IT Outsourcing? Ultimate Guide For Your Software Project In 2021

IT outsourcing is the practice of hiring resources outside an organization to deliver job functions that a business requires. These include, but are not limited to infrastructure management, software development, web development, data center management, data storage, disaster recovery, online threat protection, and technical support. Outsourcing is the perfect solution for companies of any size looking to scale up or get access to broad IT expertise especially if they bring global talent on board.

Most of us would agree that IT outsourcing has quite a bit of variety within it. Although it involves operating outside of an in-house model to save money, scale faster, and increase efficiency, businesses can achieve unique goals with different approaches. Let’s look at the available types of outsourcing solutions next.

IT Outsourcing Types

Onshore/Domestic

This involves contracting an external service provider in your own country. You can ask them to manage IT-related job functions onsite or remotely.

Offshore

This is all about relocating IT tasks to a third-party provider in a foreign country that offers lower labor costs as well as economic and tax savings.

Nearshore

This involves assigning IT services to a company in a country that shares a border with your own. When you outsource to third-party providers that are close by, you benefit from effective communication, closer time zones, and better commute.

What This Means

What can we understand from these models? The company that you choose as your IT partner can be anywhere, whether a few blocks away from your office or on an altogether different continent.

For example, consider how outsourcing plays an integral role in the increasing use of AI virtual assistants. Today, many organizations are automating processes with enterprise-level virtual assistants, leading to rising demand for specialized voice assistant apps. These companies then typically outsource the development project for skill and cost reasons. So, if a company is based in the States and offshores this task, they may hire a development firm in Pakistan or the UK. If they nearshore the work, they may work with a Canadian third-party provider.

Regardless of your preference, you should focus on both the business partnership and logistics. It is a partnership, not a buying project that simply addresses service-level agreements (SLAs). To achieve success, maintain a trusted professional relationship, and highlight the existing clause of a service contract. This will guarantee that everyone involved fulfills their obligations and remains available until the contract is up after which they can decide whether to continue.

Why Outsource IT Infrastructure?

The benefits of IT outsourcing are practically endless, especially for the technology sector. Here is a list of reasons why startups and enterprises go for services such as software product outsourcing:

  • Reduces OpEx and makes more capital funds available for other business investments.
  • Offers access to world-class skills and capabilities.
  • Makes up for a lack of in-house expertise.
  • Prevents work overload in teams and frees resources to focus on strategy or core competencies.
  • Helps meet challenging deadlines particularly when in time and mission-critical circumstances.
  • Improves focus by letting businesses target broader business goals while leaving operational details to outside specialists.
  • Provides access to innovation, thought leadership, and intellectual property.

Let’s explore these benefits in the following section.

Advantages Of Outsourcing IT Infrastructure

Financial Savings

Software development outsourcing models and services translate into financial savings for companies. Outsourced IT support is generally more cost-effective than putting together an in-house team. To begin with, developing countries have English-speaking employees who are willing to accept new opportunities at lower costs. You can find resources with years of experience in delivering quality work, which means you save on recruitment and training costs.

When offshoring, you need not invest in infrastructure as third-company providers are responsible for setting up and maintaining their computer systems. Furthermore, it becomes easier to develop ideas into innovative and practical concepts when resources from across the world offer unique perspectives. This reduces delays, enables faster delivery of products and services, and accelerates time to market. The reason is third-party providers focus on what they can do faster and better at affordable rates.

You can either pay a fixed monthly or per-user fee. Ask yourself what you consider more important. Is it the speed at which an outside company can reduce your costs or the total amount of savings they can offer? Do you want fixed costs or variable price options? Note that the exact cost depends on the number of users and the level of support you are receiving. Even then, the calculations are simple, and the price is just right. Not to mention most service providers have dedicated, out of hours support. There is no need to not worry about issues like holiday, accident, or sickness cover. It is possible to resolve issues remotely now that almost everyone is working from home. So, you do not require a complete, in-house team for all of this.

Talent

Working with an outside company provides on-demand access to knowledge and experience one may never have come across before. An excellent third-party IT service provider will have employees with impressive qualifications and expertise. There is always someone available to provide their services, whether it is a quick fix to a problem or for a long-term project.

Ask yourself if you require broad skill sets or expertise in specific areas to simplify the decision-making process. You can even choose to bring in a freelance consultant if skill shortages in your country make it necessary to seek talent elsewhere so you can perform critical tasks. Take the example of how COVID-19 has led to several economic recessions around the world. This has encouraged businesses to search for tech talent outside their countries and outsource software development tasks while optimizing expenses. We can safely say that this is the best way to outsource software development.

Strategic Consulting

Your portfolio of products and services directly reflects your brand. This is where great IT outsourcing providers come in as they can competitively support strategic plans and business objectives. With years of experience working across various industries, companies, and countries, they are in a good position to offer advice and recommendations to CIOs on future IT requirements.

Doing so not only ensures that everyone is on the same page when it comes to short-term and long-term technology demands. It drives sales, keeps customers happy, and simplifies product or solution maintenance. Businesses can then act proactively and succeed in today’s world of digital transformation.

Conclusion

Getting started with IT outsourcing is simple. It is only a matter of knowing exactly what you wish to achieve before outsourcing any functions. Communicate clear expectations to your IT partner so that they know the best way to collaborate with you and deliver results.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your IT requirements, contact us. We are always happy to help!

Best Video Conferencing Apps to use While Working Remotely

A New Era

With the rise of remote work, businesses are looking for the right communication and collaboration tools to bring their teams together. Not only do these solutions help employees maintain a better work-life balance, but they also increase efficiency and productivity. So, as companies shift to WFH models, video conferencing apps are the preferred means of communication over instant messaging, email, and phone calls today.

What To Choose?

There are several examples of video conferencing applications to choose from. Some are compatible with mobile devices and others enable you to have dozens of users on one call. What you choose comes down to your unique business needs. For example, if you run an SMB, you would be interested in the best free video conferencing tools that offer basic features. Perhaps, you manage around 50-100 remote employees and for this, you need paid services that come with monthly subscription costs. In any case, it begins with the price which varies depending on the functionalities you require and the size of your company.

In this post, we shall compare and review the best apps for working from home that help your business stand out from the competition.

Zoom

If you are considering the best technology for working remotely, you have probably heard of Zoom for group calls. It is a practical and reliable option for those who need to virtually accommodate large numbers of people onto a single screen. Dynamic HD video conferencing enables your teams to communicate as if they are face-to-face, and other features include desktop or mobile screen sharing, scheduling display, and content sharing. You can save meetings locally or to the cloud.

You can host free and unlimited 1:1 calls on your phone or computer. It is also possible to host group calls that allow up to 100 participants as long as you do not exceed the time limit of 40 minutes. If you opt for the paid plans, you can chat with up to 1000 people at once. Also, what if your Internet connection is not the best? Although Zoom will never let you down, it keeps your video going at the cost of reduced quality level. Still, you can schedule calls in advance, chat with your professional contacts, and even connect to room conferencing hardware. Don’t forget to make the most of the ‘Zoom Rooms’ that include training rooms, conference rooms, and executive offices.

Price: Free for up to 100 users with a time limit of 40-minute meetings. For small teams, the cost is $149.90/year/license with group meetings for around 30 hours, social media streaming, and 1GB cloud recording.

Skype

Skype is known as the best video conferencing app for freelancers and startups. Initially, it was the most popular medium for keeping in touch with family and friends. Now, it is popular among businesses because of the free international audio calls integrated into the app with group video calling for up to 50 attendees.

You can use Skype in a browser that works just as well if you have not installed it. Simply send your teams an invite to join a meeting using their email addresses without worrying about downloads or log in. There is a convenient screen-sharing option, not to mention background blur for focusing on who you are addressing. By clicking on Gallery, you can easily access files shared via the app. Also, you can capture a call for future reference by pressing the Record button during a meeting. Even hearing-impaired participants can keep up with conversations through useful subtitles.

Price: Free unless you are making calls from a cellphone or landline. For these calls, the subscription cost is $2.99/month. Even better, you can upgrade to Skype for Business with Office 365 integration and better security features at an affordable fee.

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is ideal for organizing small meetings on desktop or mobile devices, and it dynamically interacts with the rest of Google’s G Suite. Its seamless integration into Gmail makes it easy to shift from an email chain to video chat almost instantly.

Hangouts improves collaboration if your team uses Sheets, Slides, or Docs. You can host group chats with up to 100 members and accommodate 10 participants in video calls. Adding people to a call is simple. All you have to do is type a name or email address. You can even send them a link and invite them to join a video call. No time limits on video calls mean you can meet for as long as necessary, and you can even show your creativity by using Draw and Effects in your conferences. Not to mention the communication options available with video, photos, emojis, as well as GIFs.

Don’t forget to check out Google Meet. It utilizes Machine Learning (ML) to assess calendars and recommend suitable meeting times as per people’s schedules. Furthermore, if you organize or participate in a video meeting, Meet helps by recording the session. This recording is saved to Google Drive and linked to the event in Google Calendar. You can then record a presentation and share it with participants, and even record training materials for new hires.

Price: Free for Google+ users with a two-week trial period for users subscribing to any bundle. The cost is around $8.94/user/month as part of the G Suite business package.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is the perfect video conferencing software for Office 365 users. It is part of your Microsoft Office 365 subscription with a free version available for download. The brand does not use information in Teams to run ads and monitor participant data, and it deletes data after your subscription ends.

Teams comes with great video conferencing features. You can host 1080p calls with up to 250 participants and record video, audio, as well as screen-sharing with automatic transcription. Using Microsoft Team apps for tablets and smartphones enables remote users to collaborate on-the-go. This makes it possible to meet virtually, discuss, and brainstorm ideas or work on documents in real-time.

Joining a meeting in Teams is simple. You can do so from an invite, conference ID, dial-in number, or as a guest on the web. Then, you can easily navigate channels and communicate with other members using mentions. How about adding members to a call outside of Teams so they can collaborate on screens and record meetings? In this way, your video conferences are not only discussions. They represent an opportunity to work together with co-workers and customers in achieving project goals.

People also ask about the best video conferencing app for teaching, considering how the COVID-19 has left industries like the education sector with no choice but to go digital. This is where Microsoft Teams for Education comes in. You can get classes, meetings, assignments all in one place with this solution. It is the best video calling app for online classes because of features like easy onboarding, content creation, educator resources, screen sharing, whiteboard, and LMS integrations. Visit their page to learn more about this platform.

Price: Office 365 plans consisting of Microsoft Teams start at $5/user/month.

Disclaimer: All prices are accurate as of December 2020, and subject to change anytime without notice. We make every effort to provide you with the most up-to-date information.

Please contact our team for more information on products and services to help your SMB or enterprise work remotely!

Does Working From Home Save Money?

We are navigating a new reality as the COVID-19 pandemic presents both opportunities and challenges for businesses. People across the globe stayed home for months and may continue to do so in 2021. Processes that depended on in-person physical activities came to an abrupt halt as governments implemented strict social distancing measures. Implementing digitized processes became a major driver of both economic and societal success almost overnight.

The pandemic has accelerated the shift to remote work as many companies realize that it is no longer an option. Some felt unprepared while others were not convinced about the benefits of working from home. There are concerns related to communication, collaboration, security, time management, and productivity. This is because when people talk about WFH, the topic tends to focus on how it helps employees. The truth is that remote work arrangements are equally beneficial for employers.

In this post, we shall answer the question “how does working from home saves companies money”.

Greater Productivity

There is an ongoing debate about whether remote workers are more productive than in-office employees. Not surprisingly, employees perform better when there are lesser distractions as they can perform their job duties from the comfort of their homes. They can also use the time saved from nearly zero commutes to get an early start.

Let’s look at some working from home productivity statistics. A study by Stanford examined how 16,000 WFH employees performed in 7 months, and the results revealed a 13% increase in productivity. Similarly, 77% of remote workers who participated in the CoSo Cloud survey reported higher efficiency and productivity.

Your teams are more likely to be loyal if you provide them with work options that enable them to achieve a balance between their personal and professional lives. Let’s consider an example. Mental alertness is at its peak at different hours during the day for each individual. So, you should offer employees the flexibility to perform their job duties when they are most active. Host video conferences occasionally and give pep talks. Ask workers to set proper routines they can follow and allow them to take short breaks to refocus or relax.

Above all, make sure that all your teams stay organized. All these measures will show them that you truly care about their happiness and well-being. You get to eliminate the likelihood of procrastination or unproductive habits which could negatively impact your daily profit average. Plus, job satisfaction levels increase, which means you get more work done in less time.

WFH Technology

The opportunity to work flexibly and become a part of virtual teams is a key enabler of digital transformation that maximizes long-term profitability. To achieve this, invest in tech solutions that allow remote employees to work efficiently.

The best WFH technology helps you gain an edge over the competition. This even addresses one of the biggest productivity hurdles in a typical office: unnecessary or impromptu meetings. With remote work, everything is planned ahead. Your teams can choose to be notified hours before company meetings or video conferencing sessions, and everyone can manage the minutes in better ways.

Let’s look at some must-have WFH tools and strategies for your business.

  • Team Messaging
    Modern instant messaging tools such as Microsoft Teams and Slack go beyond helping companies realize productivity gains. Microsoft Teams makes all collaboration solutions including chats, online meetings, tasks, and shared files available in a single, dynamic app. Users also receive access to a variety of third-party apps that easily integrate into Teams. On the other hand, Slack keeps instant messaging, text messaging, and email together in one app for desktop and mobile versions, allowing employees to coordinate effortlessly.
  • Video Conferencing
    Video conferencing solutions structure meetings to enable smooth, all-around communication. The ideal platforms engage teams from different locations with set start-and-end times that everyone agrees upon. Participants can initiate in-depth discussions with visual cues from colleagues, supervisors, and customers. Stakeholders become more in sync due to streamlined communications, allowing them to make decisions faster and achieve goals effortlessly.
  • Project Management
    Agile management solutions help supervisors track individual progress and the status of ongoing projects. This streamlines tasks and ensures that everyone is on the same page in terms of meeting deadlines. Teams receive access to a single destination with features such as to-do lists, milestones, timesheets, file management, shared calendars, and real-time KPI dashboards. This enables businesses to stay on top of everyone’s schedules and make the most of the workday.

Financial Benefits Of Working From Home

When your employees WFH, you need not pay for office space, supplies, or furniture to accommodate telecommuting staff. You may also request your teams to use their Wi-Fi, home computers, or phone lines to stay connected and complete their work. It becomes possible to save on rent and utilities like water and energy bills, as well as cleaning services. Let’s not forget the cost of refreshments that would otherwise go into cafeteria services or snacks.
When employees WFH, they usually have their home office setups or workstations that include computers, operating systems, headsets, and other accessories. So, in addition to saving on office computers, desktops, and expensive workstations, you get to prevent maintenance expenses. This translates into a considerable figure if have a team of 150+ people. Instead, it would be better to invest the amount you save in marketing or other initiatives that drive sales
There are many other remote work cost savings, including:

Lower Healthcare Costs

Employees often ask about work from home reimbursement when it comes to healthcare. Working in open offices increases the risk of on-site injuries, sickness, or catching the COVID-19 virus. A WFH arrangement improves work-life balance as employees get to spend quality time with their families. The percentage of workers taking time off or sick leaves drop as they work in the quiet of their homes. This reduces stress and burnout and promotes a healthy corporate culture. SMS particularly benefit because they do not have to go for health insurance plans that can result in their premiums going down.

Improved Employee Retention

The secret sauce to a successful business is a happy workforce. When you provide the right WFH incentives, you encourage employees to stay with your company instead of looking for job opportunities elsewhere. For instance, flexible scheduling enables your teams to work around their personal obligations, hence reducing absenteeism. Wouldn’t you prefer this to a scenario in which an employee takes a day or two off instead?
This reduces the turnover rate and you can save on recruitment, onboarding, as well as training costs. Think about it this way. If talented or senior resources leave, you have to bring in their replacements which can cost you in more ways than one.

No More Commuter Allowances

Some companies offer transportation or commuter allowances to employees as part of their salary package. It can either be a fringe benefit in some states or the law may require employers to do so. In the case of WFH, you need not worry about incurring these costs

Less Business Continuity Planning

Running an on-site business means going beyond factoring in real estate costs. Companies should always be prepared for any emergency, be it a technical failure or natural disaster. Organizations, especially those operating in high-risk industries like healthcare and finance, must have contingency plans that ensure maximum uptime in the event that a disaster strikes. Realistically, working from a physical location poses real threats that can bring entire operations to a grinding halt. So, you will need a business continuity or disaster recovery (DR) plan that may not necessarily be affordable, which is particularly a cause of concern for startups.

This is not to say that WFH is as simple. You still need to provide your teams with end-to-end IT infrastructure, software, and security to keep things going. The thing is you do not have to spend on compliant systems, insurance, getting your corporate building earthquake or fire-ready, etc. which can otherwise break the bank.

Access To Talent

Here’s another WFH cost saving that you probably did not think of. When you opt for this route, you gain access to global talent willing to work at reasonable pay scales. This means you need not commence operations in foreign lands that can bring about red tape, international bureaucracy, tax complications, etc.