Statistics show that 29% of small businesses with 50 or fewer workers, and 66% of companies with 51-500 employees, have remote workers of some description, while 78% of business owners feel positive about their offshoring experiences. Even so, don't take someone's remote collaboration success for granted, as it's always a result of carefully calibrated efforts, as we explain here.

Hiring a remote team also presupposes collaboration across different time zones, be it two or ten hours - here's a look at how those time differences can actually be to a company's benefit.

If you're currently considering setting up your own remote development team, you'll have to make a whole host of decisions. Above all, your main task is choosing the type of collaboration – onshoring, nearshoring, or offshoring, the differences between which we explain below.

What's the difference: onshoring vs nearshoring vs offshoring?

As many people mix up outsourcing with offshoring, let's start by defining the concepts.

There are several kinds of remote development team, each with their own benefits (photo: Base B)

Outsourcing (remote collaboration) is the delegation of tasks to a separate organization, or to a contractor, to increase business capacity, overcome the issue of talent shortage, increase financial efficiency, boost productivity, and so on. With all the collaboration technologies and methodologies currently available, you can establish your own software development team in almost any location in the world.

Remote collaboration is a bit different, and can be further subdivided into onshoring, nearshoring, and offshoring.

Onshoring refers to cooperation with remote workers within your own country. If you can't find candidates that fit your vacancy in your city, you can extend the radius of your search to get access to a nationwide talent pool. The term onshoring can also refer to remote employees that live in your city, but usually do not visit your office, as they work on a remote basis.

An example of onshoring might be a New York City application development company that can't find a Marketing Manager. In this case, the CTO might decide to change the usual in-house recruitment strategy, and hire a remote employee based in Philadelphia.

Nearshoring refers to remote collaboration with developers in a neighboring or a nearby country. It can be a location with a similar time zone, or one that doesn't exceed four hours of difference in time with the location of the company headquarters.

And example of this would be if a Netherlands-based tech startup struggles to hire Scala software engineers. As a result, the management might choose nearshore development, deciding to hire freelancers in Poland.

Offshoring is cooperation with developers located in a distant country. The time zone difference may be significant.

An example of this might be if an e-learning platform based in the US is looking to hire PHP developers. After they fail to find software engineers locally, the business owner comes up with a solution to build a software development team in a location the company has not worked from before, which will ensure the all-round support of the platform. Eventually, they find a Ukraine-based agency that helps them set up their own software development team in Lviv.

Want to set up your own remote engineering team? Talk to us! Read on for more advice.

Remote engineering teams can bring new ideas to a company, and prevent stagnation (photo: Base B)

Embrace the Unexpected Advantages of Time Zone Difference While Cooperating with a Remote Team

If you choose onshore or nearshore development, you won't face the issue of a large time zone difference. Your workday hours will in most cases coincide, so your main task will be to organize an efficient collaboration with your remote development team.

If you choose offshore IT cooperation, you'll first have to realize the opportunities offered by this type of remote cooperation, and then utilize them to their full extent. Here are some perhaps unexpected advantages of a time zone difference while cooperating with a remote development team.

Greater flexibility and diversity
Currently, 16% of all companies operate on a fully remote basis – their employees work across multiple cities or countries. By 2028, 73% of all teams will have remote workers. By working near to their family or friends, developers and engineers can keep their work-life balance in order.

This is of paramount importance to Millennials and Generation Z, for whom a significant priority at work is flexibility. Moreover, across the globe, remote development teams can bring increased diversity of thought to a company – you'll get access to multiple views and solutions to one issue, instead of limiting your business to a one-dimensional approach.

Increased productivity
Yes, really - the use of remote teams can have great performance benefits. For one thing, your offshore team will have solid time to work on their own without interruptions for meetings and calls. Managers often believe that meetings help a team to gel and to align, however, a meeting-heavy approach also has a considerable side effect, namely that it eats into the time that developers and engineers have to work on tasks.

A time zone difference provides managers with the opportunity to sort through the work that's been done by remote engineers throughout the workday and plan next steps. Also, there is the chance to have around-the-clock control over your business, because even when your work hours have finished, your offshore team is there to keep everything in good order.

Recruitment and retention efficiency
With a remote engineering team, you get access to a much larger talent pool, which means you can hire developers faster. This cuts down the resources spent on recruitment. Instead of wasting time and money, there is the opportunity to concentrate on core business responsibilities. At the same time, organisations can improve their retention level, as software engineers are eager to work for foreign businesses that value diversity.

Optimized budget
It's not a secret that the majority of businesses go for offshoring to cut costs. Though that’s not always the case, you'll definitely have the opportunity to optimize your expenditure. For example, you can choose a country with a more favorable tax system, lower insurance costs, or a location with relatively low office rent.

You can also find a market where the rates charged by professionals you're looking to hire are lower. In any case, you need to remember that high-quality software engineers tend to be costly wherever they are based.

It's important to get to know each of your remote team as people (photo: Base B)

How do organizations manage a remote development time zone difference?

Regardless of all the advantages of offshore collaboration with IT professionals, many business owners still hesitate, wondering if they can compensate for the time zone distance with their remote teams. Here, then, is how to use the time zone difference to your advantage while collaborating with a remote engineering team.

Use efficient collaboration methodologies
Agile is one of the most popular methodologies in offshore collaboration. At its core, the methodology offers an iterative approach – the project is split into iterations that are managed with the help of a backlog. Agile is a flexible model that allows the introduction of multiple changes throughout the development of a product. You can implement Agile with the help of Scrum and Kanban.

SDLC (systems development life cycle) is another option, which is a widely-adopted version of the Waterfall methodology. This methodology follows a linear process. The Waterfall approach requires considerable planning early-on, as starting over on a specific part of the process is difficult, should issues arise.

In the case of unexpected changes in the development process, software engineers need to go right back to the start of a workflow, making this a methodology to consider, but one which organisations should approach with a full knowledge of its implications.

Ensure you and your developers have time to socialize
Talk with your developers about their social life, hobbies, and interests. Make sure you know them as people, and not just hands for hire. You can also visit your remote engineering team, or invite them to come to your own office.
Find overlap hours that are comfortable for both parties

Try not to organize meet-ups too early in the morning or late at night. If it's not possible to avoid this, ensure your developers have the opportunity to join a call from home.

Don't micromanage your remote team
Micromanagement can only cause a fuss, and won't give you the control you are looking for. Give your engineers time to work out great solutions on their own, and ensure that if you intervene, that the intervention is valuable to both sides.

The key takeout

Even though many business owners are afraid of the possibility of losing control over their remote teams because of a large time zone difference, this doesn’t have to be the case, with smart management and the right people in teams. In fact, if you can realize the benefits of having a remote technical team, you'll see plenty of positive effects down the line: higher productivity, better retention and recruitment indexes, greater employee satisfaction rates, optimized costs, and many more plus points.

Contact our experts to find out more about setting up your own remote development team in Eastern Europe.