By Amanda Winstead

The meteoric rise of cloud-based computing has made working with a global team easier than ever before. Today, you can use tech to work synchronously with dozens of coworkers across national borders and time zones.

Cloud-based programs and remote video conferencing tools can help you break into new markets and connect with global partners, too.

However, if you want to make the most of your global team, you’ll need to adjust your approach to communications. Even simple changes, like keeping track of time zones, can make a world of difference for your employees and customers.

Understanding Cultural Barriers

Connecting with coworkers from overseas can be tricky if you’re not used to overcoming cultural barriers. Even small differences — like the fact that Brits list the day before the month and that January is the warmest month in Australia — can make a huge difference to the way you approach communication. Things can be even trickier if you don’t share a common language and are working through translators.

Embrace a more inclusive, multicultural approach to business management by creating a remote multilingual workforce. Remote multilingual employees innately understand many of the cultural differences that exist in global teams and are well-positioned to find common ground with their peers.

Support your remote team by giving them a space to vent their frustrations and raise potential issues. This is crucial, as cultural differences are often overlooked by managers who preside over global teams. Lean on existing software and create forums where folks can reflect on their experience and work through any misunderstandings.

Understanding cultural differences is particularly important if you manage a B2B firm. Many B2B companies lose out on global partnerships due to poor communication and cultural insensitivities. Rather than forcing global stakeholders to abide by your customs, learn to speak your customer’s language and banish buzzwords that could cause confusion. This will impress stakeholders from other cultures, as they’ll appreciate your effort to make them comfortable.

Avoiding marketing buzzwords can improve the strength of your offering, too. When you pivot away from meaningless buzzwords like “narrative” and “challenger brands”, you’re forced to simplify your communication strategy and produce content with real substance. This can bolster your marketing efforts and help you avoid cultural barriers caused by poor communication.

Researching New Markets

Proactive research can go a long way when working on global projects in new markets. Learning about the laws, customs, and culture of a new country can help you overcome communication barriers and streamline your entry into a new market, too.

When researching a new market, focus on learning more about your potential competitors. Researching competitors can help you get up to speed quickly, as successful competitors understand your audience well and will make adjustments to meet consumer expectations. You can use these insights to streamline your transition, avoid potential communication barriers, and connect with a new audience.

You’ll also need to ensure that your project management workflow tool works effectively across national borders. Some communication platforms, like Slack and Asana, may not work in nations like Russia or Japan. Similarly, Microsoft Teams is relatively new to markets in China and Southeast Asia. This means you may want to connect with adjacent business leaders to

find out which communication channels and workflow tools are most optimized for the market you’re breaking into.

Investing in Global Partners

It’s easy to become frustrated when working with global partners. Most countries have slower Wi-Fi speeds than the USA and many of your global partners may lack access to the infrastructure and resources you take for granted in your home country. Rather than pulling out of global projects when communication falters, support your partners by investing in them.

If Wi-Fi connectivity is becoming an issue, consider investing in alternative forms of high-speed wireless technology. Wireless solutions like cellular network stations, fixed wireless systems, and satellite internet can be a real boon for remote workers who lack a stable connection. Many wireless networks are cost-effective and easy to install. This makes them the ideal solution if you’re looking to expand into a new market and want to support your global team during the transition.

Consider investing in cultural training for your existing staff when opening a new office in a foreign country. Workers from your home nation will be far more likely to appreciate and understand cultural differences if they have received some form of cultural training and know what to expect. Just be sure to guard against stereotyping, as many new employees will spurn cultural norms and may resent coworkers who reinforce prejudices and generalizations.


Cloud computing makes global projects possible today. However, you will need to anticipate and prevent a few communication barriers before you can start working in new markets. Get the ball rolling by researching cultural norms and investing in training to bring everyone up to speed. If possible, make some multilingual hires to alleviate growing pains and improve communication. When you do run into a roadblock, consider investing in your global partners to build trust and break down barriers.

Author Bio

Amanda Winstead is a writer from the Portland area with a background in communications and a passion for telling stories. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.

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