‘Look at this.’
It’s the simplest of requests and one you’ll ask your office colleagues on a daily basis. But it’s not so simple when your colleagues are in an office across the ocean:
These barriers are substantial, but not insurmountable. Check out these four ways to make it easier to collaborate with your international office.
A simple way to counter a culture of information silos is to store data on a cloud service such as Dropbox Business that all teams can access, any time. That alone though, won’t encourage collaboration between international offices.
Collaboration software, such as Basecamp or Active Collab, allows disparate teams to assign tasks, respond to new information and collaborate all in one place, accessible any time. Tools like these reclaim the ‘come take a look at this’ feeling of small offices.
Conference call systems have a bit of a bad reputation:
But, pick the right system and get a professional to configure it, and it’ll bring everyone into the same room. Zoom, Skype for Business and GoToMeeting are all good choices. Whatever you decide on though, make sure it includes:
Without informal chatter, the bonds between your international offices will be weak and easily broken.
Rather than clogging your colleagues’ inboxes with informal conversations, use an instant messenger app. Or, consider office social media platforms such as Slack or the upcoming Facebook at Work. They make conversations easy, communal and - most importantly - fun.
There’s no one communication app to rule them all. It all depends what you need to communicate about, when and why. But with multiple systems available, you need to agree on how and when you use each to collaborate with your international office.
It’s simple. To effectively collaborate with your international office, you have to make an effort. And deployed right, technology can be the glue that holds your disparate teams together.