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Modern Work Environment: Problems with Running an International Remote Team

Dmitry Yakimchuk
People city and planet

Gone are the days when employers and employees had to be in the same physical location in order to be able to work effectively and achieve all of their goals. Today, more and more organizations are allowing their employees to work remotely, not to mention that they hire entire international teams, with employees spread all around the world.

There are a lot of studies showing that allowing employees to work remotely can lead to much higher levels of efficiency and productivity. When people can work from the comfort of their own home, they are much more relaxed and can complete their tasks without any pressure.

This unquestionably helps them become better at their job, as their relaxed environment motivates them to improve, especially because doing their job properly is the only way to show their superiors that they are right for the job, as they cannot exactly meet face-to-face.

However, running and managing an international remote team is definitely not without its share of challenges. Many problems can arise and you cannot actually set up a meeting in order to resolve any issue, can you? Of course, there are video conferences and many other virtual communication tools that you can use, but how can you make sure that your team of workers dispersed across the globe always performs seamlessly and effectively helps you reach your goals?

Take a look at the most common problems with running an international remote team, so that you can understand what you should pay close attention to in order to make sure all of your employees are unified and always on track.

Time Zone Differences

Different hours

Managing an international team means that not every one of your employees will be working in the same time zone. This also means that not everyone will be able to attend your virtual meetings at the same time. If any problem arises and some changes need to be implemented immediately, you may have to wait for a whole day for the key employee that can resolve the problem.

You can successfully deal with this problem if you plan ahead, so that you can adjust to different time zones. You need to see when your employees’ work hours overlap and let them know that those hours will be your “office hours”. Send them an email or a message via other communication tools that you use to let them know when they should be available, so that the response time can be as fast as possible. Of course, make sure that the set time actually works for everyone.

Also, you should change your deadlines, so as to make your team always work ahead of schedule. Set new deadlines sooner than your projects are actually due, because buffer time will certainly lead to better performance and much better results, as no one will be stressed out trying to catch up.

Poor Communication

Office girl

Communicating with a team in an office is not always easy, let alone communicating with a team of people spread across the world. Add different time zones to the equation and the problem becomes much more challenging.

Communication is the absolute key for effectively managing any team but, when it comes to managing a remote one, it is exactly what will determine the success of your organization, because you cannot really meet with your workers face-to-face, can you?

In order to establish strong and effective communication in your workforce, you need to use good communication tools. There is a wide variety of those available (Slack, Trello, and Skype, for instance), so make sure you start using the channels that will be the right fit for you and your team.

Not only can various communication tools help you stay in touch with your employees, but you can also use them to monitor your workers and keep track of their activities, as well as to organize your entire projects and always keep everyone in the loop.

Not Embracing the Company Culture

Multinational team

It doesn’t have to be all business talk – everyone can simply try and get to know one another, because forming more personal connections will create a unified company culture. Your employees will communicate and collaborate on various projects much more effectively if they build strong relationships with one another. Good morale is vital for a successful workforce, and those face-to-face meetings will help you build a team of extraordinary workers.

Your company culture and team building are not the only reasons why you should take this step towards a happier workforce. Perhaps the most important reason is helping your employees deal with the feeling of isolation. Working remotely can make employees lose their team spirit, precisely because of the lack of social interaction. It goes without saying that this can reflect on their work and demotivate them, preventing them from reaching their full potential.

Therefore, make sure you get together with your team to help them connect, and all the communication and collaboration tools you use will certainly be of immense help as well, especially video chat and the video conferences you schedule.

Successfully dealing with these, and many other problems of running an international remote team and effectively overcoming any obstacle down the line comes down to good leadership. If you are a good leader who knows what it takes to inspire, motivate, and empower employees, there is no doubt that you will be able to handle any potential problem with flying colors and turn your remote team into a truly outstanding one.

If you follow the aforementioned tips, your remote team will certainly feel like an in-house one and you will manage to easily achieve all of your organization’s objectives and goals.

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