Team collaboration is never easy, whether you’re in the same office, the same, town, or the same country. And managing teams that are spread out globally just adds to that difficulty. So how can you keep your global team connected? Here are a few tips.
Choose the Best Shared Space for Your Global Team
In this digital age, you don’t need to get everyone to the same conference room to have meaningful team collaboration. Your global team may not be in the same postal code, but you can create multi-functional shared spaces using apps and collaboration tools. But how to you choose the best fit for you from lists like this one that gives you hundreds of options?
Take time to figure out what the core functions of the shared space should be: do you need the ability to share media- and memory-rich files via chat? Do you need a reliable video conferencing function with the ability to facilitate dialogue and creativity with 20 of your top marketers?
Choosing a few must-have functions can help you in your search for the perfect collaboration platform for your global team.
Meetings and Deadlines: Embrace and Encourage Flexibility
No matter where your staff members live and work, there will come a time when you need to coordinate all-hands meetings. But how do you do that if, for example, your workday occurs in the middle of the night for some of your team members? This is where flexibility comes in.
You can schedule or break down meetings in a variety of ways that will still include everyone and help them fit into everyone’s vastly different schedule.
Need to send out a company-wide update? You can schedule a time for streaming and also send out a mass email with the recorded file for those who were unable to make the live show.
Trying to sync up a team located on a few different continents? Try rotating your meeting times so the same team member isn’t forced to jump on a conference call at 2 A.M. local time.
Deadlines are another tricky area to navigate when working with a global team: for example, 5 P.M. on Friday in California is Saturday at 1 P.M. in New Zealand. The rotation could be good here too: moving that deadline to something less traditional, like 8 A.M. Monday rather than Friday at 5 to accommodate the time difference can help save your team members who are nearly a full day ahead of you on their schedule.
Build and Maintain Trust
If your team is a global one, you should establish some basic guidelines for where information will be posted – news, updates, celebrations – and make sure everyone has easy access to them.
Whether it is all through a specific forum in your collaboration platform or you have an intranet page devoted to announcements, keeping everyone in the loop is the first step to building trust between co-workers with states or oceans between them.
Don’t forget about the person behind the position: many great friends are found one cubicle to the right, but you can break down that geographic distance by building virtual spaces for people to hang out during breaks. Creating digital “break rooms” where your employees can chat about their home life, local happenings, or global events is a great way to build camaraderie and grow trust.
Work Towards Inclusion
Don’t forget that automation and scheduled updates are great, but if you aren’t rotating live stream times or collaboration-style meetings so that everyone can feel like they have an equal opportunity to participate and contribute, feelings of “us vs. them” could arise, making future collaboration harder. Feedback channels, where you and other decision-makers can hear from and listen to your employees’ issues can stop a lot of small blips from becoming full-blown problems later.
Enlist the Help of Outside Experts
Need help organizing or educating your global team? Meet Me In The Cloud is your go-to resource for white-glove support and training of collaboration services and tools.
Whether you need training and education, event assistance, or other collaboration-based support and service, contact us today.