Remote teams are becoming more and more popular, with an increasing amount of people starting to work and collaborate online. This means that global team collaboration is of tantamount importance to nearly all businesses today.
There are many advantages of global teams - such as the ability to recruit from a wider pool, and time flexibility - as well as a few global team challenges. If you are wondering “how can global collaboration be improved?”, read on - this article will look at both and give you the best idea of how to manage a global team!
First, let’s get a good idea of what a global team actually is. They are workplace groups that are spread all over the world, and connect and work remotely. So employees from China, the US, and the UK might all be working together on the same project, but physically not be in the same space - indeed, they may have never even met!
You might be asking ‘so exactly how do you bring a global team together?’ While you can’t physically all be together, there are plenty of ways to connect remote teams. These include:
While there are plenty of challenges that can occur when building a global team, there are also lots of ways that teams can work together to overcome these challenges.
Let’s start with the positives, and look at the amazing advantages of global teams.
The main significant advantage is that there will be a much bigger pool of employees at your disposal. This means that you will be able to pick from a talented bunch, and have only the best working for your brand. Whether they be based in America, Asia or Africa, you’ll be able to hire amazing talent from online callouts.
Cultures shape creativity, and people from different cultures generally think differently, and have alternative ideas on lots of things. Therefore, having a pool of staff from all over the world is a great idea for creative and interesting ideas. You’ll find new perspectives and viewpoints, which is fantastic for creating products that nobody else has thought of!
A big benefit of having global teams is that you’ll get the chance to learn about, and respect other people’s cultures. Global collaboration will give you the amazing opportunities to really engage with other cultures. This will help employees get a more open-minded approach to the world around them, which has only benefits when working in this global world.
Being online all the time used to mean you personally, or a member of your team, being always available to answer any questions - even in your sleep - which can be highly detrimental to your health.
However, introducing global teams is hugely advantageous because teams can be online all the time, without individual members needing to work themselves silly! Having bases in Europe or Africa, the Americas, and Asia or Australia means that someone can be online pretty much all the time, to answer any queries or deal with any issues in this time.
While there are many advantages to working like this, it is undebatable that global team challenges also exist. However, like all challenges, these can easily be dealt with.
There are definite issues with trust when it comes to remote teams. When you meet someone in person, it is a lot easier to gauge their personality. However, when you have never met someone who you will be working on a remote team with, it becomes a lot more challenging to trust them completely.
One of the working globally best practices is to make sure that trust issues are nonexistent. This can be overcome by making regular video calls, and efforts to forge a working relationship like online team building activities, weekly round up emails and celebrating events. It’s all about getting to know your staff, as well as you would do if they were sitting next to you in an office!
Scheduling meetings can prove to be one of the more challenging parts of running a remote team. If there is a less than eight hour time difference, it’s not such a challenge - but if there is more, who should be the one to adapt and take a meeting before or after the working day?
It should really always be the boss. If you are managing a remote team, taking the meeting outside of your office hours will show your employees that you care, and make them more determined to do the best job possible - and employee satisfaction is one of the best retention strategies.
Unsurprisingly, communication can be an issue when managing virtual teams. This is because of the physical distance between employees and the idea that teams don’t know each other as well.
Thankfully, these issues can be easily rectified, so if you are wondering ‘how do you collaborate effectively if your team is remote?”, here is the answer. Modern inventions of software and hardware have been created with remote work in mind, and managing remote teams has never been so easy.
Using apps like Trello, Slack and Zoom help remote teams to stay connected and technology like interactive displays, which are interactive whiteboard alternatives, are easy to sync with laptops and tablets, so are perfect for remote teams. Using devices like these make communication issues in remote teams a thing of the past!
There are very clear advantages and challenges of global team collaboration, however the advantages do seem to outweigh the challenges, which can be quite easily rectified. Staying on top of communication, making efforts to garner trust in the workplace and, as the boss, making sacrifices to increase employee satisfaction are great ways to do so. Using collaboration software and hardware are also fantastic ways to make remote teams a resounding success!