How to Maintain Positive Work Atmosphere When Managing Offices in Different Countries

Today, digitalisation takes over the traditional workspace and companies allow employees to work from anywhere. So, how can a manager create a positive work atmosphere in different countries?

Today, digitalisation takes over the traditional workspace and companies allow employees to work from anywhere. With this, remote job positions are on the rise, and so are international teams. From an employee’s point of view – this is all good and flexible. However, from a managing perspective, these types of teams often come with a few challenges. So, how can a manager create a positive work atmosphere in different countries?

A diverse, international team can be a blessing to your company. It is a team that provides different perspectives and more possible solutions to any issues the company faces. All this boosts creativity, improves productivity, and creates a positive work atmosphere for everyone included. Maintaining this cycle is of great importance and will undoubtedly lead to success.

In this article, we will go through several ways to be successful when managing a team situated in two countries. These include:

  • Create structure but allow for flexibility
  • Incorporate digital tools for communication
  • A positive work atmosphere means no cultural differences
  • Make sure everyone has a say
  • Emphasise the importance of goals and objectives
  • Make time for in-person meetings
  • Limit the micromanagement approach

Working with people from different backgrounds and origins is a big bonus for your brand, but none of this would matter if you lack managerial skills. So, let’s break these tips down for you.

Create structure but allow for flexibility

The company structure is of great importance for in-office teams, but, if possible, it is of even greater importance when managing a multi-office team distributed in two or more countries. Since you won’t be able to do regular check-ins in person, as a leader, you will have to create a well-defined framework for all employees to follow. This will prove to be the foundation on the way to success.

First and foremost, it’s essential to start implementing that structure as early as possible. Once a person gets to work for you, he/she should go through a training stage where all useful information will be available – workflow, everyday processes, and the entire concept of the company.

Besides that, it helps to include what you expect from your team and each team member individually. And lastly, confirm that everyone understands the structure in place. There is no place for doubts and assumptions here. Make these structural rules easily accessible at all times. More experienced employees should follow them too (of course), and lead by example for new ones.

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Finally, don’t forget to be flexible. Yes, structure and detailed information and expectations matter; there is no question. However, don’t ignore your team’s feedback as it may include ideas that will improve productivity and team spirit.

Share your views, listen to theirs – and make any additions or changes you see fit. The end goal is a team and work atmosphere that results in company progress. For instance, some staff members may find taking more frequent breaks to be a good idea, and it is worth considering. When managing a whole team, especially one you don’t meet with in person, listening and understanding them and their needs is essential.

Additionally, it would help if you made an effort to get to know your team members. You will build trust, and it will be easier for you to find the methods that boost their productivity and motivation.

A positive work atmosphere means no cultural differences

As already stated above, people with different cultural backgrounds may bring more insightful solutions to the table. This means diverse perspectives, opinions, ideas, and views that can increase creativity and performance. All in all, a diverse team is a problem-solving team.

For all this to work smoothly, as a manager, you need to be aware of the cultural differences the group may have. In my experience as a manager of a marketing automation company focused on marketo courses, with a team in two different countries; I can assure you that by taking into consideration your team’s background and their customs you will create a positive work atmosphere in both countries, for each team member individually. It is worth the time, for sure.

Consider the religious and national holidays each country has, and allow your staff members to honour them as they see fit. It is your responsibility as a group leader to make them feel comfortable, accepted, and understood.

Incorporate digital tools for communication

Proper communication is a vital tactic that all companies must adhere to. Regardless of how your company operates, if you don’t communicate with team members regularly – how can they understand the structure, the systems, and the values of the company?

Luckily, staying in touch overseas is not as challenging as before. There are digital tools which can help you maintain a significant relationship with everyone in the company. Digitalisation brought about numerous ways in which you can communicate. From sending an Email or a simple text – to using different kinds of social media outlets. As a manager, you can schedule weekly conferences by using either Skype, Slack, Zoom, or Google Hangouts.

Communication is another area which can be challenging due to time difference. Bear in mind this fact when scheduling a meeting, and don’t forget that you may not receive an immediate response – and (at times) that is okay. Having a positive work atmosphere is all about good communication and respecting the company’s work hours.

Make sure everyone has a say

Besides structure strategies, you also need to incorporate participation strategies. This can be as simple as making it mandatory for everyone to speak at least once during a team meeting.

When putting this strategy in place, a good manager should have in mind the possible fluency issues a team member may experience. If possible, try to communicate in one language which everyone knows, or if that is not a viable option – you can hire translators. This is especially needed when going through important documentation, and you must be sure about the meaning of every word in it.

Inclusion means everyone has a say; everyone has their moment to speak their mind, and that you will at least consider their ideas and propositions. This builds confidence, which often leads to personal and professional improvements in the team. None should feel like they are left out. This can be one of the strategies for creating a dream team.

Emphasise the importance of goals and objectives

Once you settle the barriers concerning language, time zones, and cultural differences – it is high time to point out what exactly is the main goal. As different and as far away team members may be from one another, they all should work towards achieving the same company goal.

Sure, flexibility is vital in some areas, but everyone must remember why they are here and try and fulfill their duties on time and in an orderly manner. You can create weekly goals that are part of the company’s primary mission – and do check-ins. This means making sure everyone is familiar with the primary week’s goal.

When pointing what matters to your staff members, don’t preach, but instead coach them if you feel like they need it. Once they effectively complete a task, you can build up their confidence by praising their good work. Also, don’t forget to remind them how each week’s goal is a step closer to your company’s main objective.

Make time for in-person meetings

Your position requires that you keep up with your employees’ work as often as possible. It is harder to stay in the loop if you are not there. So, make the trip and meet your team members face-to-face as often as the company’s budget allows.

It is undoubtedly true that technology helps a lot with communication, but it is not a complete replacement for the more traditional approach of having a meeting in person. You will build trust and quality relationships with employees.

Limit the micromanagement approach

There are instances when managers think they will lose control of the teamwork if they aren’t present in person to overlook their day-to-day work. Although this can happen, it is not a good idea to monitor the team members at all times.

By giving them the space they need to work and trusting them that they will, you will ensure a more positive outcome. Besides that, your team will be grateful for your trust and be loyal in return—a win-win situation for everyone involved.

In Summary

International teams are more common these days, and creating a positive work environment for these teams can be intricate. In the end, it is totally worth it. By doing so, you will have a team that is eager to do more, cooperate, and bring about considerable company success.

Some of the ways a manager can help this process are:

  • Create structure but allow for flexibility
  • Incorporate digital tools for communication
  • Positive work atmosphere means understanding cultural differences
  • Make sure everyone has a say
  • Emphasise the importance of goals and objectives
  • Make time for in-person meetings
  • Limit the micromanagement approach

Each team has unique circumstances, and that requires a particular set of skills to deal with. Work on yourself, your skills, and your goals – and success is inevitable.



About the Author

James T Fletcher is a Marketing Automation and Technology Guru and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of JTF Marketing. He is eager to learn, improve, and invest in himself. Besides marketing, he is also interested in creating the best possible work environment for all employees.


Team 6Q

Team 6Q