A step too far?

My company has accepted a contract for work in Dubai, but I never took into account the effect another time zone would have on the business. It seems that we need to be open almost 24/7. Can you advise me on how I can best manage my firm so I can focus on what is important and don’t end up running my team into the ground?

Stephen Clarke writes:

It is to your credit that you have recognised this and the strain it can put on existing staff. The contract is obviously very important to your business, as is the profit, but it's imperative that staff concerns are acknowledged.

You need to demonstrate to your employees that changes will be made within the company that take into account their concerns. If your business has to run 24/7, then you will need to implement one of two options, and both will require you to use some of the profit gained from this account.

The first option is to employ more staff; they could work the late shifts in the UK to deal with enquiries from Dubai. A more costly, but better solution would be to set up a satellite office in Dubai. This would deal with the Dubai accounts, and local employees could be taken on to man that branch. These people would also be better suited to dealing with the needs of local customers.

As for your time, it would be wise to look to promote members of staff to be your ‘deputies' during the day and on the late shift in the UK or in Dubai, dependent on the option you choose. You should be comfortable delegating some of your responsibilities to these people on a permanent basis, so they need to be chosen very carefully. This would help to ease your workload, allow you to focus on what is important and help you to not feel like you are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. An added bonus of doing this would be that it would send a positive message out to your staff that there are opportunities to advance themselves within your growing organisation.


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