Do you deal with remote teams in different time zones? Things to know about the virtual team challenges you are going to mess with.
Virtual Team Challenges
Today we are going to talk about the challenges and specifics that you need to consider when leading a remote team that is distributed around the globe. So if you’re interested in remote work, or if you’re already in then keep on watching or reading 🙂
What is the uniqueness of this type of collaboration? Recently with our colleagues from the international project management industry we have recorded a webinar where we have been sharing our experience and insights.
Now I would like to go a little bit deeper and to discuss what specifics you need to consider when you are dealing with international distributed teams. So what do you need to expect?
#1 - Unified Language
You will need to speak the unified language. In most cases this is going to be English because English is considered as the international language. That is why if English is not your native language make sure that you have mastered it and you practice it often.
#2 - Foreign Language
Language again, and again English. However, here we need to look at the
situation from a little bit different side. What I’m talking about is that while working internationally there is a huge possibility your peers are going to be from different countries which means English might be a foreign language for them, which definitely means something.
Firstly, the communication level may vary. Those, for who English is a native language; or it is a second language for them; or maybe they are practicing it often; or they have mastered it perfectly, they could speak English better than you are. And vice versa, for some of your peers English could be really challenging. That is why you are as a project manager need to find the best communication channels that would fit the whole team; and will facilitate your communication; and you will be able to collaborate altogether.
Secondly, even if you have managed to find the perfect communication channel that suites everybody on a project, there is still a room for misunderstanding. What I’m talking about is that when you’re using a foreign language most likely you’re gonna have an accent; as well as your peers. That is why in this situation we still have a possibility for miscommunication. What is more, even native speakers from different locations could have different accents. When I have started for me personally it was a real challenge to understand Australian people. Thus, you never know where the obstacle could come from.However,
#3 - Culture
What you need to expect and you need to consider on international projects
is cultural and national differences. What I’m referring to on the international remote projects, there are some national holidays; or cultural vacations; or maybe daybreaks that are typical for the certain cultures or nations and which you definitely need to keep this in mind and to implement in your project plan.
Oh, please let me know what challenges do you see in dealing with international remote teams?
#4 - Environment
Another challenge that I see while working internationally and with remote teams is a possibility of some environment limitations. This means that some tools or software, or some websites could be restricted in certain regions; which could limit the team engagement and collaboration opportunities. You definitely need to keep it in mind while planning a project work.
#5 - Time Zones
This is my favorite one. As you can see from the title while working internationally with remote teams you’re gonna be dealing with different time zones; and that definitely could be a pain in the neck sometimes.
The biggest time gap that I had while working remotely with international teams was I guess 15 hours; and that was between Australia and the United States. Luckily at that time I was located somewhere in the middle. That is why I had a chance to overlap with Australia in the afternoon and with the US in the morning hours.
In my experience while working internationally with the remote and distributed teams the regular time difference is between 4 and 6 hours. This means you need to carefully plan the collaboration process. On one hand, it is even convenient because you are able to complete your individual tasks without extra distractions. On the other hand, this time gap significantly limits the collaboration opportunities for the team. Which means you are as a project manager need to constantly find a balance and a happy mean. Now you know my top 5 tips for dealing with international teams located in different time zones.
What challenges do you see in this type of collaboration?
Stay safe, cheers!