The world is becoming more and more open nowadays. Companies become international, and boundaries are getting erased. It is more common to move to foreign countries and find a job there (that is partly my story as well). If we take US as an example, according to Seattle times post from May 2018 (1):
The number of foreign-born workers in the U.S. labor force has reached 27.4 million, or 17.1 percent of the total number of workers…
That is an impressive number, and it is only in US! Also companies have their offices around the globe, so you do not need to necessarily move anywhere in order to work with the foreign colleagues, as current technologies and internet allow to communicate and do tasks together online. So our working environment becomes more international, and while it has its’ benefits, it also brings challenges.
The main benefits of international work teams are:
- Experience exchange. When team members have different cultures and background, it helps to broaden the big picture. It adds new perspective to the tasks and sometimes make it easier and faster to solve.
- Learning about other cultures. While working in an international team you can learn a lot about other cultures, some interesting facts and behavior features.
Even though these benefits have a great value for the team work, there are many challenges, which multinational working team can face:
- Misunderstanding. Even people from the same country and city, who speak the same languages can misunderstand each other, when it comes to people from different parts of the world working together, it is very difficult to always understand each other. This can lead to delays during the work process.
- Cultural differences. From personal experience of working in the international team: our cultures affect our way of working and dealing with things. Some cultures are easier to work with, some are harder, but sometimes you can get really stuck in the work process just because you see things differently.
The only solution to the struggles inside international team at work is patience. We are all in the same boat, and we just have to “keep on rowing”.
May the force be with you!