How to Navigate Cross-Border Work Collaborations

Thanks to advancements in technology, internet connectivity, and the widespread use of collaboration tools, working with an international team is easier than ever. Managing global teams comes with its own set of challenges, but with the right strategies and mindset, companies can create a productive and fun work environment. If you want to take the next step and work in an international company, we recommend
familiarising yourself with any visa you may require, as well as the European CV template which should mention any international and/or cross-border work experience you have.

Syncing Up Time Zones

Perhaps the most nuanced thing about cross-border work with teams is the inevitable misalignment of time zones. While time zones are a headache, your team can turn it into an advantage with a bit of planning!
The best way to sync time zones in a cross-border team is to find those precious hours when everyone’s day overlaps, and make them your prime time for collaboration. This can easily be done with a tool like World Time Buddy, which shows different time zones at a glance. After finding the ideal chunk of time, teams can then schedule their most important meetings, brainstorming sessions, and ‘on call’ hours around that block.

Another idea is to take advantage of communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Discord. Team members will easily be able to see who’s online, and there is also the option to communicate more effectively thanks to options like side chats, file storage and sharing, and
quick messaging.

Clearly Define Tasks and Responsibilities

In situations where employees don’t have the opportunity to ask questions about their responsibilities at any given moment, it’s important for teams to clearly define roles and properly distribute responsibilities. This is exactly where a project manager comes in: this important role
helps divide up tasks, create a project timeline, and be the contact person in case anyone has questions about their share of the project. Establishing a clearly defined workflow and project structure is sure to facilitate a smoother collaboration process, while having regular reviews and check-ins helps keep everyone focused on the project at hand.

Build Trust and Understanding

Building trust, understanding, and camaraderie is critical in any work environment, but it becomes even more important in teams where colleagues may not be able to communicate face-to-face at a moment’s notice. Workers should trust each others’ decisions, understand where the other person is coming from, and foster an environment where everyone can speak their mind freely.

Foster Flexibility and Adaptability

Another soft skill that’s very important in cross-border teams is flexibility. While flexibility is important in any job, working in an international team across different time zones is another story — things change fast, whether that’s project scopes, client needs, or even local laws. Employees should always be prepared to change plans, pivot directors, and adapt to unforeseen situations and changes.