The world feels figuratively flatter this past decade. Technology makes it as easy to communicate with people on other continents as it is to speak with someone in the same office. Instant messaging, video conferencing, emails—the innovations that allow you to work globally are numerous.
All of this has led companies of varying sizes to consider remote teams. The future of the workplace continues to point towards this trend becoming the norm in most industries. At some point, you’re going to have to work alongside individuals who aren’t in the cube next to you.
There is no denying, however, that working from home is different than working onsite. It presents unique challenges due to differences in culture, language, and time zones. If you want to learn how to work better with your global teammates, we’ve got some tips for you below.
Be More Globally Aware
Develop an open mindset towards different cultures and countries, even ones that speak the same language as you. This helps you build stronger relationships with your colleagues who are from a different background than you and who can aid you towards success.
To foster this kind of mindset, actively look for opportunities to communicate while working together in the same project or task. In this manner, you’ll master soft skills required to be a global team player.
Respect Their Private Time
When you’re part of a remote team, chances are that you’re working with people in different time zones. They likely observe different public holidays than you. Take heed of these differences and make sure you don’t encroach on their personal time by contacting them outside their working hours.
Prevent yourself from disturbing your teammates when they’ve logged out by using a team calendar. It should note all the public holidays across the various geographies and send a reminder the day before that day.
Scheduling emails in advance and setting up a World Clock widget are useful methods as well.
Minimise Any Cultural Nuances
Your day-to-day language is often peppered with colloquialisms and slang words that get lost in translation or break down communications among your team. The same is true even amongst individuals who speak the same language but are from different countries.
So, take note of these expressions and avoid using them if possible. Opt for terms that are simple and won’t be misconstrued. You’ll also want to note differences in units of measurement. The general rule is to follow what the company is using, be it Australian or American English, or metric or imperial.
Be Mindful of the Details
Working with people from diverse backgrounds means you’ll encounter names that you’ve never come across before. Take some time learning how to correctly pronounce and spell them. Paying attention to this tiny detail helps build professional relationships in the company.
If you’re unsure how to say or type it, don’t hesitate to ask the person themselves. They’ll be glad to see that you’re making the effort to get to know them better. Hold off on giving anyone a nickname unless they mention one themselves.
Make Meetings More Visual
Much of the way people communicate is non-verbal, so it’s important that you try to make your online meetings more visual whenever possible. It might seem that audio works well enough for quick catch-ups or progress reports but it’s different when you see the actual faces.
For example, suggest to your boss to make it mandatory for everyone to turn on their videos on monthly meetings. It’ll be easier to see if they’re really paying attention or to read the expressions on their faces regarding certain topics this way.
Reward Success Accordingly
People have their own preferences on how they’d like to be rewarded or praised for a job well done. Some are comfortable with public acknowledgements via company-wide emails or group chats. Other would like to be congratulated in private with their direct supervisor.
Be aware of these inclinations and compliment your colleagues accordingly. Never allow distance to be a barrier for saying “good job”. Send a short email to your teammate about how you appreciate what they’ve done for you or the team. A direct message can suffice too.
Celebrate the Various Cultures
Build a sense of camaraderie by acknowledging each other’s national holidays and holding remote parties to mark the occasion. This also helps educate other colleagues about your culture and traditions so they can develop a global mindset.
Here’s an example: If you’re from Nicaragua and you’d like to celebrate Independence Day with your co-workers, maybe you can have a short trivia game about bullfights and cockfights. You could also teach traditional recipes so they can prepare similar food as you.
Are You Part of a Global Team Yet?
As challenging as it might be to work remotely, it’s great in the sense that you’ll be able to work with people who know the local partners, serve as on-call resources, and are experts in their cultures. Collaborating on content may be more difficult but it expands your world view.
If you’re not yet part of a global team or would like to join another one, Remote Workmate can help. We’re a staffing agency working with clients from all over the world, and we can connect you to them should you be qualified for their vacant roles.Join a global remote team today.
Check our careers page for job opportunities with clients around the world.