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Tips for Working on a Global Team

There’s no arguing that the world has become much more flat over the past decade. With advances in technology, it’s become just as easy to talk to someone on another continent as it is to talk to someone on the same street. Text messaging, instant messaging, video conferencing, email, smartphones, the list of technology that allows us to work globally goes on and on.

No matter where you work, you’re most likely going to have to interact with people who do not work or live in the same place as you do. I’m not just talking about clients either; I’m talking about working alongside people who might do the same job you do, albeit in an entirely different country!

Today, companies both large and small are working with global teams. The future of the workplace continues to point towards remote work being the norm in most companies and industries. At some point, you’re going to be faced with working alongside someone who isn’t in the cube next to you.

There’s no denying that working globally is different than working with a team in-house. Both present their own challenges. As a global company ourselves, we face these challenges on a regular basis. Today, we’ve got some tips on how best to work as part of a global team so that you’re prepared to become a part of this great global work revolution.

Organize and plan ahead

If you’re working as a global team, it’s not as easy to just visit someone’s desk to have an impromptu meeting. Schedule weekly or daily calls to check in on progress of projects at a time that works for everyone. Take into consideration time zone differences (a major obstacle if you’re working with people on the other side of the world!).

Use the right tools

Having the infrastructure in place to support a remote global team is important. Good video conferencing software, instant messaging software, project management tools, shared drives, whatever it is, make sure that it’s easy to communicate and share progress with the whole team. With the right tools, productivity can actually increase due to efficiency.

Maximize Meetings with Action Items

All victims of the corporate meeting can attest to this: without actionable items delegated within a meeting, the meeting isn’t helpful to anyone. When you do have your scheduled meetings, make sure to share what action items will be completed by each member of the team. This way, everyone knows who is responsible for what.

Be considerate and culturally aware

When you’re working on a global team, there’s perhaps less office politics, however, it’s important to remember the cultural differences of employees. Time differences, languages, religions, cultural holidays and practices can all differ from region to region. Be sensitive to this fact and be willing to compromise.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

I will say it again: communicate! For global teams, communication is key to success. Since you’re not all present in the same physical location, you’ve got to keep communication channels clear and open to all team members. Being attentive to emails and instant messages is imperative to keeping business going. Your team should be trained to communicate with each other and do so as much as necessary to get the job done.

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