Working Seamlessly Across Cultures
You’re working on a diverse team where people from different parts of the world have different thinking styles, converging in one place to share ideas. That is pretty powerful!
According to a recent study, organizations with ethnically and racially diverse teams tend to outperform those that aren’t as diverse.
If this is the environment you are working in, you may want to consider a few things to ensure there is seamlessness across different cultures.
1. Time Zones
When working cross-culturally, you need to consider time zones. Remember the different time zones your team may find themselves in to promote a seamless working environment.
Consider the following:
- Recurring Meetings – If your organization has typical recurring meetings, you want to ensure everyone feels included. One way to do this is alternate the time of your meeting each month. For example, one month, you will have the meeting take place during the morning hours, while the next month, you can have the meeting take place during the evening hours. This will help people from different time zones feel like they are also being considered.
- Communications Expectations – When working with people in different time zones, it is important to remember your communications may not happen in real-time. For example, if you need a report sent to you immediately and the person who creates the report is in a much different time zone, your report may not get to you until the next day. Making sure you manage communication expectations with everyone on your team will help you work seamlessly across cultures.
When everyone on your team feels considered, your team will be much more productive.
Another thing to think about when working with an international team is holidays. Different countries have different national holidays.
Consider the following:
- Project Deadlines – Some cultures have holiday celebrations lasting several days. Because of this, you will want to plan ahead for any projects and their deadlines. For example, it is common in several European countries for manufacturing to stop for six weeks during the summer. Making sure you and your team are prepared for these holidays can help projects run more smoothly.
- Time Off – Your team has people from all over the world, which means holiday time off will not be the same across the board. Some people will celebrate Christmas Day, and others will not. As the leader, it is up to you to ensure everyone can take off their country’s holidays. For example, you may not know the holidays each country celebrates. Ask your team to send you their holiday schedule so you can ensure everyone is aware and can take time off. This will also help you plan for projects and communications.
Making sure everyone is on the same page with help you work seamlessly across cultures.
3. Communications Platform
Ask yourself, “Are you communicating on a platform where everyone has easy access to the information they need?” Everyone on your team needs to be able to hear, read, and respond to communications.
Consider the following:
- Meetings – With people working in different time zones, there will likely be many meetings not everyone can attend in real-time. Because of this, you will want to ensure you record all of your meetings. This will help everyone be able to access any meetings they may miss. Putting your meetings in a place everyone can access is critical. For example, you may want to use a shared dropbox folder where everyone can watch the meetings.
- Real-Time Messages – Most companies have a real-time messaging platform, whether it is Teams, Slack, or something similar. These messaging platforms can benefit people working in different parts of the world. You can send someone a message, and then they can read it at their convenience.
- Platforms – As your team grows, you want to ensure everyone knows what to use and where to use it. For example, if you have one platform where you can house all of your real-time messages, as well as your recordings, and documents, your team can get all of their information in one spot. A platform like Trello, for example, allows you to create boards with assignments, notify others when a new message pops up, and uploads documents. Choosing a platform everyone can access is key to working seamlessly across cultures.
If there is one uniform platform to communicate through, it can ensure everyone, regardless of time zone, can collect and find information in one place.
Considering these elements will go a long when working in an environment where people connect from different parts of the world.
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