Top Tips For Global Working

Top tips for global working

True to one of its core values ‘adventure’, Impact has supported me in making my own dream of an adventure become reality. After nearly three years in our beautiful English Lakes headquarters I have hung up my walking boots and waterproofs for beaches and cliché BBQs. I’ve packed up my Macbook and jetted off to Australia for a taste of life in the sunshine whilst still holding the baton as one of Impact’s Global Account Managers.

I’ve been thinking about bank accounts, medicare, visas, identifying the best wine bar in town and then the best pilates class to burn it all off, but one thing (call me naïve) that I’m not nervous about making work is, well actually, work. 
Working in geographically dispersed teams isn’t something new to most in 2016 and if you work for a global organisation, like Impact, the likelihood is that you’re skilled in navigating time zones, cultures, virtual communications and all the challenges that come with it. There’s definitely an art to working this way. Working virtually, with no face-to-face interaction, can be difficult, but it also opens many doors of opportunity to collaborate with experts, to build relationship across oceans and work both efficiently  and truly globally. As they say, the world is your oyster.
I would love to share with you four lessons that I have learnt from the past few weeks.

Setting expectations 

Clearly communicate goals and expectations. It’s important that everyone understands what deliverables are expected of them and that they agree to a timeline. There should be no assumptions. Agree your ways of working prior as part of your team launch - take into consideration time zones and public holidays when agreeing response times and SLAs. This is especially important when working in remote teams and interaction can often be action and output focused. Honesty - is also key here. If you don’t understand what is expected of you it  is just as much your responsibility to seek clarity as it is that of the person setting the task to ensure they provide it. 

Fall in love with Technology

Although just on the cusp of Gen-Y, not typical to type, I actually consider myself to be a bit of a techno-phobe but needs must. Do your research - there is so much out there and you’re sure to find your tool of choice as simple or as complex as your heart desires. Skype, WebEx and LiveMeeting are my personal favorites. I make calls via Skype or FaceTime Audio which are free and high quality. Try to test everything before you leave and take into consideration any issues your tool(s) of choice may have for your colleagues or clients – there are lots of restrictions out there. Virtual meetings make your interaction more personal and in my experience more effective.

Meeting efficiency 

Maximising the output for your meetings is key to success. Schedule meetings sensitively - where possible aim for a time that is realistic for all members but also be mindful that from time to time there will be a need for you to work outside of the traditional 9-5 working day - nothing new there! To make this fair alternate meeting times to it isn’t always the same region taking the late night or early morning hit. Send pre-reads, circulate a populated agenda and stick to it! This will allow your colleagues to prepare in advance and in turn maximize your efficiency.

Review and refine

At the start of your meeting assign roles, this is something that was shared with me by a long-standing client - I think it’s golden. Who will scribe and circulate minutes and actions? Who will be the timekeeper and ensure we stay on task? Who will observe and provide concise feedback and opportunities for improvement at the end of the meeting? I appreciate this can be seen as time consuming but in my opinion it is worth the investment. Most importantly remember to celebrate success, it’s easy to overlook when you’re in task mode and recognition of success strengthens teams.

Sarah Golding is a Global Account Manager at Impact UK