Everything You Need to Know About Working With Global Teams

Things are changing in the 21st century economy, and the days of hyper-local mom and pop style small businesses are coming to an end. Relying only on skilled employees who happen to live within a few miles of your office is no way to compete with a small business that runs on the global economy. These businesses seek out the most talented people to fill their ranks, no matter where on the globe they live.

Going global also has the benefit of helping businesses retain skilled local employees who want to make a personal decision to move. By allowing these employees to stay on despite their distance, companies can hang on to their talent in the face of huge lifestyle changes that almost every employee is going to go through at some point.

With 37% of the world’s working population working remotely, it’s about time for you to join that crowd. If all this sounds tempting to you or your business is already going global, here’s everything you need to know.

The Benefits of Working Abroad

Before any discussion can be had about how to make a global team effective, it’s important to understand what draws people to work from afar. The truth here is that there is no one single reason that governs every global worker, but there are broad trends that make working overseas seem very attractive.

The most common of these is likely the urge for a drastic change in scenery. For some of these people, the need for change comes from a long-held interest in a particular country and the means to see that interest come to fruition. For some expatriates, the decision to move is motivated by unpalatable changes in the social or political climate back home. Either way, these are people who, in the past, would likely quit their jobs at home and find new work abroad. With advances in global technology, however, it’s possible to make this kind of huge change and stay with the same company.

Another less talked about benefit of having a global team is that you can recruit a diverse range of talent from abroad without having to deal with the costs and challenges associated with bringing foreign workers into the country. By expanding the talent pool that they draw from, companies can find exactly the right people to build their perfect team.

Streamlining a Global Team

The technology and infrastructure required to make global teams work is definitely in place, but there’s still some effort required in order to make these tools work efficiently for you. If a network of global employees is managed well, it can almost feel like everyone is in the same office.

Effective global teams are streamlined on three fronts. First, is everyone able to communicate? Instant global communication by email is what first made teleworking possible, but in many cases these days email is not well-designed enough to manage the loads of a modern business. Instant messaging apps like Slack and cloud-based document storage tools like Evernote are perfect for keeping everyone in the loop on what’s happening.

The second front is payroll, to be blunt. No team is going to work as well if there are questions about whether or not their paychecks will arrive in a timely fashion. Instead of trying to mail checks overseas and decipher foreign pay laws on your own, it’s recommended that you outsource these tasks to entities with the appropriate experience. Fortunately, payroll automation is a fresh part of the corporate world and is more than capable of handling the task.

The third front is client services. If you’re working with overseas employees, you’ll have to find ways of working with clients remotely. This includes responding to client concerns promptly, no matter the time zone, and creating easily-shared digital invoices to bill clients. If some of your clients are overseas themselves, make sure that you’re up-to-date on the relevant international taxes.

Companies that work with global teams are still in their early stages, but using a global team of employees that work remotely is already a powerful tool for those who manage it correctly.