A part of your team works far away from the main headquarters, and you have started to notice that those team members are slowly disconnecting: they are less communicative, participate less in meetings, and seem to be less engaged. The truth is that they are lonely and feel very disconnected, fix it with icebreakers.
It only takes 5 minutes to start building up trust, as well as bonding, between team members. The first step to good communication is trust. Team activities, like icebreakers, are the only way for you to build a team where communication flows well, and where people are not afraid to ask each other questions.
Timing: Give a 2-min. explanation of the icebreaker, 2 min. per participant, and a 1-min. summary by the facilitator at the end.
Timing: 5 minutes.
Ask 1 question that everybody in the team has to answer. Examples:
Timing: Give a 2-min. explanation of the icebreaker, max 1 min. per participant, and a 1-min. summary at the end.
We face a constantly changing reality linked to new labor dynamics that have emerged with the impact of technology, telecommunications and the ability to quickly close geographical gaps more easily.
As companies become increasingly global and begin to occupy different geographical areas, so arises the need to distribute workers across different parts of the world but with a significant need for connectivity between them. It is here that the work team is confronted by a paradigm shift: to change from a physical, in person team to a distributed team where people span across different cities and even countries, and a high tendency towards multiculturalism.
Even though in most cases workers have physical offices and working spaces, they still must take steps to address this cultural shift that calls for a transition and adaptation on the part of workers to the new structure and dynamics that distributed work brings, with different types of communications and strategies for maintaining a good working environment.
Resistance to change is the main factor that gives human beings difficulties in the adaptation process, where there is also a risk of running into the following problematic situations:
With this paradigm shift comes the need to create a pleasant working environment in both the in-person and remote workplace in order to allow the transition and change process to be assimilated in a proactive and healthy way. It is also essential to create the conditions to reinforce the virtual team as a new way of going about the day-to-day. It is therefore advisable not to lose sight of the following aspects that will help build a good online culture:
With the current economic situation in Europe and the United States, many companies are taking their chance at opening foreign markets and exporting their products. As a result, they will bring even more cultural diversity in the workplace, which in turn will lead to the establishment of even more international relations than before.
Big companies are starting to realize the importance of considering cultural factors when working with multinational teams, as ensuring that collaborations between people from different countries go smoothly and successfully is a key consideration for companies with international aspirations.
43% of the companies surveyed in the study by The Economist think that communication problems have affected transactions like sales, supplier contracts, mergers, acquisitions, expansions of capital, and so forth, within their company. Seeing this type of data leads many companies to start making their employees learn not only languages, but how to understand the way other cultures think and work.
In view of this picture, most companies see that they should set aside part of their budget to help their employees communicate, understand and manage expectations during their dealings with multicultural teams.
As Nancy J. Adler, author of International dimensions of organizational behavior notes, "There is a misconception that just because reaching someone across the world is as easy as calling them via Skype or sending them an email, that you're really communicating in the best way." New technology without a doubt is a great help, but it's important not forget the educational, social and work contexts of the people who we communicate with.
We, the members of the Managing Virtual Teams staff, have set out to help all of the companies that are dealing with cultural diversity in the workplace. This means we are helping both remote or virtual teams and colocated teams alike. Our experience working with people all across the world can help companies maximize the achievement of their business goals. Contact us for more information!