From serving the needs of overseas customers to hiring virtual assistants in other continents, the modern business is one with a global influence and reach. Emerging technology has opened the doors for globalisation to smaller businesses, meaning that companies of every size can fill their employment needs in offices around the world. And since many businesses are offering flexible work benefits as a way to attract new talent, the people you work with on a day-to-day basis could be located in any place connected to the internet.
Along with the isolation and confusion that may come with a global assignment, your team members away from the office could also struggle to collaborate and communicate with those working in-office. Provide aid with your mobile team needs by implementing the following steps.
Documentation for Tasks and Projects
Between time-zone differences and a lack of in-person conversations, you’ll have limited opportunities to update remote help on current objectives. Even if you share a few hours of the workday, these adjustments can significantly impact your production speed and misdirect your team’s work.
The best way to measure the progress of your goals, keep your entire team aligned and assign tasks is to create a document trail, shared among every team member. Task management systems are a leading workflow documentation system—among other features—created with the collaborative team in mind. As opposed to a spreadsheet stored on a local network, many task management systems are hosted on remote servers, giving everyone on the team secure access to project information, no matter their location.
Technology with a Global Reach
Before your team members migrate to your overseas offices, double check that your business tools operate in the countries where your team members are located. Perhaps the easiest way to guarantee that everyone has access to the same tools is to make sure that these tools integrate with other software in your business toolbox, connect to the internet and don’t rely on information stored on local servers.
Many emerging pieces of technology have a mobile, worldwide workforce in mind. Business calendars, note-taking tools, and even phone systems are making the migration to a digital interface. The technology transforming call services, which is called Voice over Internet Protocol, replace phone lines and outdated hardware by instead using the internet to conduct phone calls. As long as mobile teams have access to an internet connection, they’ll be able to make high-quality calls wherever they may be. With help from these internet-accessible services, your communications-suite will help your team stay prepared for any situation that arises.
Rotating Meeting Times and Responsibilities
Remember: “normal” business hours no longer exist when teams operate globally. Meetings arranged for the middle of your workday might simultaneously be scheduled during the middle of the night for global help. On top of their work, team members who embark on global assignments are likely also navigating a new culture, language and method of doing business.
As a team leader, you can hand out the burden of oddly-timed meetings by rotating when they occur. Of course, this means that employees in your time zone will have their turn attending meetings in the middle of the night, but the positives of a meeting rotation significantly outweigh the negatives. Even from across the globe, your team members will recognise the respect, collaboration and support that your team provides by helping them feel more comfortable in their remote positions.
If miscommunication between team members seems to be a nuisance, failing to accurately convey ideas to off-site help is even more disruptive and can drastically affect both productivity and relationships with teammates. That’s why it’s important to double check your communication, especially when writing emails or chats.
If you’re not sure how to toe the line between being amicable and professional, try to model your language—including the voice and tone of your writing—so that your style reflects the person with whom you are corresponding. Not only does this strategy help you sound more familiar and relatable to your team, but it also inherently personalises each conversation you have for a fortified relationship with every individual you work with.
How has your company assisted team members during their transition to other offices? Be sure to share below, and check out our resource for leaders who are looking for other ways to shape their company culture.