International Communications and Collaboration

Organizations that span countries, continents and time zones face a  particular set of challenges.

International Connections – Phone & Internet

For many organizations, reliable communication across diverse regions  has become increasingly vital. Except in isolated pockets, communications and Internet Infrastructure have grown strong, across the developed world and many barriers to communication have fallen.  Communication between San Francisco and Madrid for example is generally quite straightforward, reliable and affordable. At the same time, however, connections remain tentative in many parts of the world, posing new communication challenges; technical, cultural, and temporal.

Lighthouse technology Associates is experienced in facilitating international communications and collaboration and we can offer support in implementing effective strategies including:

  • Creating a culture in which all staff members feel comfortable/ can participate on equal footing.  When this is in place participants will begin to say speak up, or slow down, or please introduce the speaker in the room – and meetings will flow more naturally.
  • Offering routine testing and troubleshooting for staff who might have tenuous connections, including determining and testing alternatives ahead of scheduled conferences or meetings
  • Offering solutions that make it possible to dial participants into a meeting via their land-line or mobile phone. Training staff to use these features, for example to connect participants with a weak internet connection but relatively reliable local phone service. Note this can also be used to shift the cost of a call from the caller to your central office.
  • Helping Staff stay on top of timezone changes
    • We provide our clients with twice a year alerts about changes in daylight savings around the world
    • Note that Europe switches over one week ahead of the US, Arizona and Hawaii don’t change, and that all around the world you will find anomalies

Skype has increasingly become an essential tool in international communications. Many of us who have a loved one overseas already use Skype regularly to stay in touch, and we have found that many international staff members in the organizations we work with have embraced the service.  Skype provides chat, calls, video calls and screen sharing and many of its services are free. We can help staff members set up Skype accounts, train staff who are not familiar with Skype on the basics, and provide guidance to staff who wish to learn about Skype premium services, which for a monthly fee provides both group video calling and unlimited calling in the US and Canada.

Integrating International Staff into your work

It is easy for an organization with headquarters in the US or Europe to become “centric” around your location, your time of day, your holidays.

We’ve developed effective ways to integrate staff around the world and create an environment and organizational culture that is conducive to collaboration across the entire organization – especially techniques for holding meeting that deploy technology and extend over time zones.

In addition to technological solutions we can advise you in implementing practices which are simple, but as we have seen in our work,  have the go a long way towards promoting collaboration and integration.

These efforts send a clear message to international staff that they are valued members of your organization. Effectively including international staff in your meetings highlights possibilities to forge strong working relationships across regions and open doors to more organization-wide collaboration.