Nearshoring—hiring your remote team from nearby countries—can be more beneficial than sourcing your talent at home (or too far from home, like with offshore outsourcing). With nearshore outsourcing, you can access a larger talent pool and find professional expertise at a lower cost.
However, having your teams in neighboring countries can create communication, collaboration, security, and other challenges that need to be considered to make sure productivity doesn’t suffer.
To succeed with nearshoring, you need to use the right tools to overcome the challenges associated with distributed teams. These include communication and collaboration tools (like Slack), security software (like Riot), storage solutions (like NextCloud), and project management software (like ProofHub).
This article will look at seven tools and software that can help your nearshore teams maximize productivity. We’ll also cover some best practices for managing your remote team.
What Are the Most Recommended Tools and Software for Working With Nearshore Teams?
Getting communication right so you can reap the benefits of nearshore outsourcing is key. There are many communication tools and software for working with remote teams. But some of the most recommended are Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, Riot, Nextcloud, and ProofHub.
Slack is a powerful team messaging app. It connects you with everyone and everything you need for work, no matter where you are or what you do.
Slack works well whether you want real-time messaging or to work asynchronously if you need to consider time differences. This makes it an excellent app for remote and hybrid teams.
In Slack, you can chat, send video and audio clips, or hop on a “huddle” to discuss things live, making collaboration simple for distributed teams. Slack covers almost every communication need, so everyone can be on the same page and get work done.
Importantly, Slack integrates well with other work tools and apps. So, you can work faster by switching tabs less.
Pros of Slack
- Work in real time and asynchronously. Team members can communicate in real time and get instant feedback. You can also leave messages to be read later, which is great to accommodate time zone differences.
- Easy file sharing. Team members can easily share documents and all forms of files. You can even comment on a document.
- Gives conversation history. A team member added to an existing group can easily find past discussions to help them get up to speed.
- Highly customizable. You can customize Slack, tailoring it to your communication priorities. You can mute channels that aren’t critical to you, silence notifications during specific hours of the day, and so on.
- Top integrations. You can integrate a host of industry-leading software and custom apps into Slack.
Cons of Slack
- High pricing. Slack does have a free version, which may serve many small teams. However, you need its paid plans to access its finer features. Unfortunately, these are relatively expensive.
- Steep learning curve. The interface can be confusing for new users and requires some learning.
- Limited storage. You only get as much storage as you pay for. Most teams find Slack’s file storage capabilities limited, making them store larger files elsewhere.
2. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a popular business messaging and video conferencing software.
Microsoft Teams is a powerful digital workspace because you do not need to combine a chat and team collaboration tool with a separate one for video and audio conferencing.
Teams is a good alternative to Slack. While Microsoft Teams does not have the recognition of Slack, it boasts similar features.
You can host meetings of all kinds from anywhere. It even allows collaboration in real time on content shared by the presenter on the screen. Anyone in the meeting can add text, sticky notes, or reactions.
Pros of Microsoft Teams
- Video conferencing. Teams offers everything you’ll expect from a mature video conferencing tool.
- An all-in-one solution. Teams does instant messaging and video conferencing extremely well. So you won’t need to buy and switch between different apps.
- Top integrations. Teams integrates well with Microsoft products and hundreds of non-Microsoft products you may already use to do your work. This saves you time while working as you do not have to switch between tools.
- Reliable. Microsoft Teams has a high uptime. It does well even during lower-quality network connections.
Cons of Microsoft Teams
- Confusing file structure. Though you can search for a file in Teams, links from a Teams conversation to a file can break down, making it difficult to find files.
- Complicated navigation. Navigation in Teams could be more intuitive, as you may have to click through multiple tabs to locate something.
Zoom is a digital platform that lets you talk to anyone, anywhere in the world.
While Zoom is more popular as a video conferencing app, it is an all-in-one solution that includes phone, team chat, whiteboard, meetings, and more.
Many companies use Zoom as a video conferencing tool for communication between team members in combination with messaging software like Slack. Zoom has many unique features not available when using Slack’s video.
Pros of Zoom
- Intuitive design. Zoom’s layout is intuitive, making it incredibly easy to use. Users can even join a meeting without installation.
- Offers recording features. A key benefit of Zoom is it lets you record video and audio conferences. Free subscribers get only local recording, while paid subscribers get local and cloud recording.
- Supports large audiences. With Zoom, you can host business meetings for up to 1,000 participants.
- Generous free account. While the free versions of most tools are severely limited, Zoom’s free version offers good functionalities. For example, you can host up to 100 participants, with calls lasting up to 40 minutes.
Cons of Zoom
- Mixed record of security. There are too many cases of “Zoom bombing,” where hackers disrupt live meetings with inappropriate content. While the company has fixed most security issues, trust has deteriorated.
- Poor customer support. There are too many complaints of poor customer service, even for paying customers.
4. Google Meet
Google Meet is a video communication service from Google. It’s a good alternative to Zoom, as it lets you make video calls and hold meetings.
Google Meet offers amazing features like meeting recordings, polls, noise cancellation, breakout rooms, and more.
It integrates with Google Workspace, making it easy to set up if you have a Google account.
Integration with Google Workspace means you can schedule meetings in Google Calendar and send invites to participants when using Meet. It also lets you collaborate on documents in real time.
Pros of Google Meet
- Access to Google Workspace. Google Meet is compatible with Gmail, Calendar, Google Drive, Sheets, and the rest of the Google Suite. If you already use Google Workspace, Meet will feel familiar.
- Browser-based. Being a browser-based app, Google Meet does not require any installation to use.
- Meetings recording. Google Meet automatically saves your meeting recordings in Drive.
- Fair pricing. Accessing Meet’s finer features requires a paid subscription, but its plans are at an affordable price for many companies compared to other tools.
Cons of Google Meet
- No transcription feature. There’s no feature to give you closed captioning, which may be needed to make communications clearer when sourcing teams from another country.
- Joining meetings limitations. To make meetings safe, no one can join a Google Meet meeting except when invited by the host. It means a user cannot send a join request to another person if the host is unavailable.
In today’s world, businesses are constant targets for hackers, and your company’s security is as strong as your least careful employee.
Making nearshore outsourcing work for you includes ensuring that the team members do not become sources of security breaches. Riot helps you do this.
Riot helps you grow your cybersecurity culture. You can run phishing drills to discover how your team will react in a phishing attack. It also lets you spot in real time when employees appear in new data breaches and warn them.
Pros of Riot
- Cybersecurity awareness. Offers chat-based cybersecurity courses, teaching your cybersecurity basics to your employees.
- Track progress. See how your team is progressing in their cybersecurity awareness program in real time.
- Export to CSV. You can export everything on Riot to CSV for compliance purposes.
- Unlimited users on the platform. It’s free to add users to your workplace.
Cons of Riot
- Syncing limitations. Riot syncs your team automatically (from Google, Microsoft, Slack, and Okta). However, you cannot sync only certain groups from your Google Workspace.
Nextcloud is a powerful free cloud storage solution. It is an excellent solution for businesses looking to combine productivity with secure file management.
While NextCloud is more popular as a storage solution, it is more. It features document editing and teleconferencing, allowing you to collaborate on files. You can send and receive mail and manage your calendar.
Nextcloud integrates with 100+ apps, making it a great working environment.
Pros of Nextcloud
- Intuitive user interface. Its interface is easy to navigate. Its dashboard gives you an overview of your messages, reminders, support tickets, and so on.
- Productivity solutions. Besides being a storage solution, NextCloud features include document editing, teleconferencing, mail, and more.
- Free open-source software. Nextcloud has a version that is completely free to use.
- Good security features. Communications cannot be compromised because calls have end-to-end encryption and chat logs are stored on your own server.
Cons of Nextcloud
- Support is limited. 24/7 support is not available for users of the free version.
ProofHub is a powerful project management tool. With Gantt charts, Kanban boards, custom workflows, and more, Proofhub has everything you need to plan and track your projects.
It also features chat, email, announcements, a calendar, and easy document-sharing that helps you collaborate effectively.
ProofHub also has great admin control measures that can help you take control of your projects. Plus, it integrates with most of the apps you likely already use.
Pros of ProofHub
- Ease of use. PoofHub is easy to set up and use.
- Extensive collaboration capability. Not only do you have discussion boards, chats, and emails, but ProofHub has advanced collaboration features like mentions, proofing, and announcements.
- Project management capability. ProofHub helps you manage projects, making it more than your standard collaboration tool. It features Gantt charts so you can easily see your due dates and visualize project progress to help you get a better grip on your projects.
- Different project views. For example, you can see project status in the table-like Kanban boards or the more visual Gantt chart workflows.
- Good admin control. You can give different levels of access controls and more.
Cons of ProofHub
- Lacks budgeting tools. As a project management tool, ProofHub lacks some features you would expect to find in it, such as budgeting capability.
- Lack of notification control. ProofHub does not allow you to filter notifications so that you only get what’s most relevant to you.
What Are the Best Practices When Managing Remote Teams?
Using the right tools and software is only half of the picture. Some of the best practices when managing remote teams include:
Build a strong remote team culture
Building a strong remote team culture means taking intentional steps to make remote workers happier and more engaged.
If your remote workers feel like they are not part of the team, their morale may drop, leading to lower productivity. Some ways to build a productive and positive remote or hybrid team include:
- Onboard remote workers appropriately.
- Make remote workers feel like part of the team.
- Recognize accomplishment.
- Support professional growth.
- Support a healthy work-life balance.
You may also like: How to Make Remote Hires Feel Like Part of the Team
Keep it asynchronous
The benefits of nearshoring include having a remote team in the same or similar time zones. However, most communication with your remote team members will still occur asynchronously on your chosen communication platforms.
Calls should only be used when necessary. You want to avoid situations where team members arrange a call when an email or message would have been sufficient. Plus, there is not always a reason that remote workers need to keep to normal business hours if the workflow is not affected.
So ensuring you have selected the best software for your communication channels that allows for asynchronous messaging is essential.
Track progress regularly
Regularly checking the progress of work keeps remote workers on track and motivated. It also helps you identify and combat obstacles before they become serious issues and derail your project.
You can set up a daily or weekly call to remind everyone of the deadlines and discuss the team’s progress. For example, if you use agile project management, you can hold your scrum ceremonies over video calls. Not only does this help remote teams complete jobs, but it can also help them exceed expectations.
You may also like: How to Ensure Remote Contractors Exceed Expectations
Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, Riot, Nextcloud, and Proofhub are some nearshore outsourcing tools and software you can use to make nearshoring work for you.
These tools will help you overcome communication, collaboration, security, storage, and task management challenges associated with sourcing your team from nearby countries.
However, when thinking of tools to make your nearshore team productive, you must consider how to build your team.
If you’re a US business, sourcing your nearshore team from Latin America (LatAm) using Near will help you find the best of the best without having to sift through hundreds of resumes.
We help US businesses hire top-quality LatAm talent for up to 70% lower than it would cost to hire in the US. As part of our pre-screening process, we ensure candidates have a high level of English proficiency and any particular skills required for the job.
Fill out this form to get a list of top pre-vetted LatAm talent you can interview for free.