Let’s face it—working from home can be tough, and what can be tougher is trying to work from home when you are a part of a global team. There are numerous challenges that those of us working remotely with international colleagues face on a day-to-day basis. Whether you’re in the home office or stuck on the couch, here are some tips that we have put together to help you navigate working from home on a global scale.
Video Conferencing Across Different Time Zones
Okay, so this doesn’t just happen at home, but connecting with global colleagues can be tough anytime–especially when trying to navigate the time zones of several different cities and/or countries. It’s important to remember that if you’re in London, your colleagues in Chicago might not be awake yet, and your colleagues from Hong Kong might be getting ready to go to bed. Consider using a time zone scheduler to keep your meetings in-line.
We often think about doing our own thing when working from home, but this is not always the case as there are several projects that require vigorous group collaboration. It can be difficult to simultaneously work on the same document or form when your colleagues are thousands of miles away in Singapore or Brazil. you should consider tools like PDF Reader that help you scan and upload documents at home from your mobile device and share them with your team. Then you can easily markup, annotate, and edit text however you need and ensure prime document collaboration success.
Messaging & Calling to Different Countries
Working from home probably means that you won’t be guaranteed the same access to office equipment, and that can be problematic when you have to make international calls. If you are on a personal level with your colleagues, you could consider downloading a messaging app to avoid international fees. Different people around the world use different apps, so pay attention to which one you may want to use. Apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger can be used around Western Europe and Oceania, whereas Chinese colleagues are much more likely to use WeChat. Eastern European coworkers are probably going to use Viber, and Japanese, Taiwanese, and Indonesian coworkers are more inclined to use Line.
Tackling Language & Cultural Barriers
Odds are, if you are working in a global workplace, you have colleagues who speak other languages like Spanish, French, or Chinese. Using apps like Google Translate can be nice for short translations if you need to say something in a language other than your own. However, if you want to really connect with your international colleagues, try learning a little more about their culture and customs. It would be nice to figure out what holidays and events they are (or aren’t) celebrating for the upcoming month so you can connect with them on a cultural level. One quick way to stay informed is by connecting your Google Calendar with that of your international counterparts’ holiday calendar.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
It can be difficult going from being in a room full of people to being alone in your apartment everyday. Work is important, but so is boosting morale among your colleagues. Work together and interact, without actually having to be in the same room! Use food delivery apps such as Uber Eats to order from the same restaurant separately. Try apps like Headspace to practice meditation and relax together at home! Find fun challenges on TikTok that you can play as a group to keep everyone’s spirits high. Most importantly, don’t forget that just because you are separated by distance, doesn’t mean you cannot still function as a team!
No matter where you are working from, don’t forget to keep up with communication. It can be challenging, but there are ways to effectively keep in touch with your global team! If you have any more tips, feel free to share with us! We would love to hear from you!
Also published on Medium.