3 Tips on Working With International Remote Colleagues
The struggle the business world has been going through for the past year has been immense. Communication between teams is now different than what it used to be as technology is the means businesses have come to use to keep the ball rolling
Therefore, many people have had to convert their homes into offices and adjust to remote work. A lot of employees were placed on furlough or lost their jobs due to budget cuts and business transformations.
Business owners have adopted a new model – working with freelancers and outsourcing certain services they no longer perform “in-house”. This often means managing a remote multilingual team which adds the language barrier as yet another obstacle in remote working.
In this article, we explore 3 helpful tips on how to effectively work with international remote colleagues and get the most out of virtual work.
Embrace Task Management Technology
With your colleagues spread across the world, it gets difficult to keep track of everyone’s progress on projects. BPM software lets teams organise their workflow in separate task templates and makes responsibilities of each role transparent and easy to locate.You can assign tasks to individuals and teams, incorporate specific details and deadlines for each project, all from a simple centralised dashboard.
A common misconception is that productivity gets compromised without direct supervision. However, as remote work is more flexible and yields a better work-life balance, employees tend to be even more efficient – we work 1.4 days more per month when running work errands from our homes. Less stress and the advancement of collaboration tools have made this tendency possible.
Other tools that have proven useful for communication across global teams are video call tools like Zoom and Skype, instant messaging solutions like Slack, G-chat and Telegram, and digital assistants such as Amazon Echo.
Agree On Working Hours
If the team of the company is international, it is quite possible that there are employees in different time zones. Hence, it’s important to decide on a work schedule that would work for all.
This may be quite challenging especially if the time difference is more than a couple of hours so it’s advisable to set a reporting routine for every day and/ weekly to keep track of everyone in the team.
Technology proves to be a major help for this one, too, as with remote teams, it is crucial to make everyone’s tasks and achievements visible to the rest of the team and especially, to the colleagues involved in the same task.
You can organize tasks, post reports, add requirements and responsibilities and all communication relevant to a specific task in a BPM software that is appropriate to the type and size of your business. This would facilitate the smooth progression of a project where employees from distant time zones are involved. Everything concerning the project, from subtasks and internal comms to deadlines, would happen there to be visible for everyone involved, so no bits and pieces of information are missed out.
Leave Room For Fun
Although many remote workers find the virtual work arrangements better than their office counterparts, a lot of people are not on the same boat. Thus, managers and business owners need to find ways to encourage their teams to take regular breaks and help them socialize.
Loneliness, anxiety and depression are very common under the current dire circumstances. It’s easier to lose control over your emotions and self-discipline when in an informal environment, and being a foreign remote worker in an organisation where most people share the same language and customs certainly doesn’t help in this aspect.
A few ideas to spread some joy in the working process are: online board games, video exercise sessions, ‘mystery’ questions in daily and weekly routine chats and reports, personal facts guessing game etc. – use your creativity to spice things up and remain human and more close-knit as a team!
Many businesses across the world have had to convert to remote work and outsourcing services to international freelancers has become common. This major transformation has brought a lot of unexpected struggles as international remote teams have to work together and overcome cultural differences, language barriers and distant time zones. However, collaboration tools, flexible working hours and incorporating regular breaks and group fun activities can make for great productivity and smashing results.
About the Author: Mariela Kashukeeva
Mariela Kashukeeva is a Marketing Executive at SaaS BPM, a productivity process management system solution designed to manage the recurring activities of teams and entire organizations. With over 2-year experience in SEO, she is responsible for establishing collaboration opportunities with high-authority websites and creating amazing content.