How to Work More Efficiently with Global Teammates

27 Jul 2021

The Internet provides people an opportunity to stay connected and work together in global teams. As more and more people work in virtual teams, certain issues arise as a result. Many new opportunities and challenges are brought to the table, as global teams imply different countries, time zones, and languages. In this article, we will give you some tips on avoiding roadblocks and taking advantage of opportunities, so you and your teammates can work together efficiently, even if you are oceans apart. 

1. Work on global mindset

It is essential to be aware of distinctions that can arise between different cultures and countries, even if you speak the same language. Remaining globally aware can facilitate stronger working relationships with teammates whose backgrounds are distinct from yours. Here is what you need to know in order to have a global mindset.  

  • Social capital: diplomacy, intercultural empathy, interpersonal skills
  • Intellectual capital: cosmopolitan outlook, global business savvy
  • Psychological capital: strive for diversity, self-assurance

This mindset can be fostered by actively searching for opportunities to work with your colleagues from other offices. These opportunities will help you develop as a global team player. 

2. Be considerate about your colleagues’ in-office time

If you work in a global team, there is a possibility that you are your colleagues are in different time zones. It is also likely that you observe different holidays. It is important to consider these differences and not to pester your colleagues with emails when they are out of the office. Here are some pieces of advice on how to avoid disturbing your colleagues in their personal time. 

  • Use the WorldClock widget to set up your clock according to the time of your main office locations. 
  • Keep track of public holidays on your calendar according to the geographical location of your teammates. 

3. Keep in mind cultural differences

Our everyday language is rich in colloquialisms and idiomatic expressions that can be lost in translation or misinterpreted even if you and your colleagues speak the same language. Be considerate of these expressions; avoid them if you can. Try using clear and simple language that is easy to understand. Also, keep in mind that units of measurement can differ, e.g., 1 km = 1.6 miles.

4. Small details matter

Working in a global team implies that, most likely, you will encounter first and last names that you haven’t come across before. We recommend that you invest some time to learn how to spell and pronounce the names of the people you work with. If you are not familiar with the pronunciation of a certain name, don’t hesitate to ask your colleague. Chances are they will be glad you make an effort. 

5. Celebrate culture

When a person works in a virtual or global team, it is quite complicated to celebrate holidays together, as they differ. It can be upsetting to receive an email about an office party on the other side of the globe. It is crucial to boost team spirit by acknowledging national holidays and holding remote parties. It also strengthens team spirit and learns more about each other’s traditions, holidays, and culture. 

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