The coronavirus pandemic brought a shift in workplace dynamics as a gradual acceptance for remote work developed a few months into the first wave. The first in a series of lockdowns forced companies across the globe to adapt to innovative approaches to work. This not only revolutionized various sectors but forced companies to delve into digitization.
Because of this, managers can now handle operations from one part of the world while their team works from others. One of the finest advantages of this approach to conducting business has been the promotion of meritocracy. Now valued on their skills and expertise, these workers enter a global workforce where merit is upheld.
Another advantage is that workers are no longer reliant on their domestic markets. Hence, regardless of how bad the economic condition is, employees have a chance of working for global companies from their home countries. The pay is often higher than what they get in their home countries. In the case of developing countries, the figures are even higher.
But remote work comes with its challenges, especially for managers. It is not an easy task to manage people coming from different countries, different cultures, and different time zones. Furthermore, things can get difficult because you cannot physically go up to people and give them a pep talk. Sometimes, employees need guidance in-person, and remote work can make that hard. So, to help managers such as yourself manage a global workforce, here are a few helpful tips.
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Diversity is meant to be celebrated, but it comes with challenges. The first step to addressing these challenges is developing a deeper understanding of them. Once you recognize you cannot mold everyone into a uniform pattern, you start looking at things differently.
People from different cultures will have difficulty adjusting to your domestic dynamics. Therefore, you need to be considerate because you have to make them feel at ease. Unless they are comfortable working with you, they cannot perform up to the mark. For this purpose, you need to educate yourself about their cultural backgrounds to be able to develop a meaningful connection with them.
To build a connection with your team, you need to enhance your communication with them. People perform better when they know they are dealing with an actual human being, not just a voice on the computer.
You should talk to your team about their day and hobbies between work-related conversations. It will make them comfortable talking to you. Once they are comfortable, they will be able to speak to you more comfortably. This helps take the work-related conversation a notch higher. Those hailing from developing countries need this the most because most of them may not have access to the same quality of education as you.
Use administrative tools
You need to set boundaries to maintain a healthy workflow. Administrative tools can come in handy. These tools can allow you to time an employee’s hours, generate bills, maintain a schedule, etc. Things can get easy once you set up tools to do routine tasks for you.
However, depending entirely on computerized data can sometimes be problematic. Not everyone has access to the same infrastructure as you. Therefore, sometimes you have to give employees certain relaxations to facilitate them. This is an equitable approach towards team management. It allows you to bring disadvantaged employees to par with those from privileged backgrounds. Data is meant to help you improve workflow, not meant to be used ruthlessly.
Use coordination tools
Tools like Asana and Microsoft Teams can be helpful for establishing a workflow and holdings meetings, respectively. Asana can help you organize the workflow for your team. It maintains transparency and establishes deadlines and communication channels. Each team member would have the ability to work on their tasks and get in touch with others if they need any assistance.
Similarly, Microsoft Teams can be a good app to hold video calls and maintain text conversations with your team. Many people do not have a separate work phone, so using WhatsApp as a primary tool can be problematic. It disrupts the balance between one’s personal and professional life.
Awareness and etiquette
You must encourage your team to educate themselves about different cultures to be respectful. This especially applies to video calls where even a gesture as small as laughing with your mouth uncovered or showing a thumbs up can be interpreted differently.
Once you and your team develop an awareness of these cultural differences, you can hold respectful meetings. Good etiquette will create harmony among your team members and bring them closer. This will promote coordination among them and will result in good professional outcomes.
Understand religious differences
Since you are going global, your team probably comprises people from different religions. Each religion observes certain days. In states where one religion is dominant, religious events are often observed with a day off.
While Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December, Eid holidays for Muslims are not determined in advance unless the moon is sighted. Similarly, Hanukkah is considered a national holiday in Israel. If you have employees from countries where these religions are dominant, you need to take care of these observances. Moreover, some employees may also need prayer breaks between work.
Follow local laws
Every country has its own set of laws and regulations, and you need to be aware of those laws before making an offer. Differences in pay and benefits can be loud when it comes to this. Therefore, your company must be ready to honor local laws. Otherwise, you can face penalties, preventing your company from working with the domestic workforce.
Moreover, specific payment methods do not work in developing countries. Therefore, you need to accommodate other channels to pay your employees in these countries.
Managing a global workforce may seem cumbersome, but if you take one step at a time. You can gradually develop healthy work culture. The less friction among your team, the more productive your workforce will be. Your job as the manager is to ensure that the team enjoys working for the company while carrying out their duties. So take advantage of the tips mentioned above.