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Navigating Global Teams in Today’s Dynamic Work Space

Navigating Global Teams in Today’s Dynamic Work Space

By: Adina Beer

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A Hungarian, a Brit, a German, an American and an Italian walked into a bar and sat down at a table…

No this isn’t the beginning of a joke, this is a true example of a team socializing event that took place just last week as part of the EIT Global Outreach’s work.

In today’s digital age, such diverse occurrences are becoming more and more common and you could very well find yourself working in an international team with a different work ethic, culture, language and set of values. No longer is physical location the basis for building a team, and your co worker could hail from across the world, as much as they could be sitting beside you in the office.

There are many advantages to working with a global team, such as access to a vast talent pool, and diversity can lead to creative problem-solving and fresh perspectives, however understandably it is not without its share of challenges that can affect productivity, efficiency and inter-personal relationships.

Here at EIT Global Outreach we have the privilege to work with team members literally from across the globe on a daily basis, and we are here to share with you the main challenges that we have identified, and the basic do’s and don’ts to turn global teams into a strategic advantage and propel you to international success:

1 – Hey Boss:
One of the first stages of working in a global team is to assess the level of formality vs informality that is expected, based upon the emphasis put on hierarchy and respecting authority in the team member’s home country. Some cultures such as those in East Asia and parts of Europe value formal relationships in the work place and professional boundaries, where others such as the US, Australia and parts of Latin America embrace informality and personal relationships with colleagues.
Don’t: Push boundaries or assume informality to begin with.
Do: Start with a more formal approach and assess the situation from there. A first email should be more formal; and if you received the first email, our suggestion would be to respond in the same tone that was sent to you. That means beginning an email with Dear, rather than Hi or Hey, and maybe hold off on sharing your stories of how you spent the weekend until you’ve gathered the expected boundaries.

2 – You say tomato, I say tomahto:
Effective communication is at the heart of any successful team, but language barriers and varying communication styles can hinder the flow of information in global teams. Miscommunication can lead to errors and misunderstandings, and requires careful navigation to maintain productivity.
Don’t: Necessarily use humor with your co-workers until communication is clear and you can grasp what they might find funny and what might be offensive.
Do: Invest in communication tools and foster an environment where team members feel comfortable asking for clarification if something is unclear. If meetings involve participants who speak different languages, be mindful of language considerations. Clearly communicate the primary language for the meeting and ensure that interpretation services are available if needed. Encourage participants to speak slowly and clearly, allowing for better understanding in a multicultural setting.

3 –  It’s 5 O’clock somewhere…:
With team members scattered across different time zones, scheduling meetings and maintaining a balanced schedule can be complex and it requires careful planning to ensure everyone’s needs are met.
Don’t: Schedule mandatory meetings outside colleague’s working hours unless properly communicated and agreed upon in advance.
Do: Be flexible with scheduling and expectations, recognizing that not all team members will be able to commit to the same work hours.

4 – I hope this email finds you well this weekend:
Work-life balance in global teams can vary significantly due to differences in cultural norms, time zones, and workplace expectations. In Singapore, Russia and the UAE for example, a strong work ethic, working overtime and being available outside of office hours is valued and seen as a sign of dedication and commitment; whereas in the Netherlands, Sweden and France for example, it’s common for employees to leave work on time, to take extended vacations and work emails are often discouraged outside of working hours.
Don’t: Expect your global team members to have the same work ethic as yourself, whether it be on either end of the work-life balance scale.
Do: Be respectful of individual preferences, and consider the impact of company policies on remote work and well-being initiatives and your team’s mental health. Encourage open communication from the get-go, and team members should share their expectations, cultural norms and experiences.

5 – In my team I trust:
Building trust among team members who have never met in person can be a lengthy process. It’s challenging to establish the same level of trust and camaraderie as you would in a physical office setting.
Don’t: Expect team members to be able to open up online in the same way and at the same speed that they would in person.
Do: Invest in social screen time, celebrate holidays together in joint video chats, arrange cross-globe Secret Santas, and understand that going the extra mile to create online social connections will benefit work productivity in the long run.

Working in global teams is a complex but rewarding experience that in the near future almost all of us will undoubtedly engage in. The challenges are real, but with the right approach and a commitment to overcoming obstacles, the opportunities for growth and success are boundless. By embracing diversity and building strong communication and trust, global teams can achieve remarkable results while enriching the professional experience for everyone involved.

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Access to Healthcare

The Health not The Death is a fundamental human right. A healthy population is not to be seen as human and social capital, an input, or by-product, towards economic growth. Alongside a healthy and sustainable environment, a solidarity, a healthy population must be the ultimate goal especially nowadays in helping Ukrainian migrants with cancer and their families.

Solidarity in health is a cornerstone of EU health policy. There are wide disparities in many health outcomes across the region and those outcomes. The access rules dramatically affect healthcare systems which are at the forefront of the migrant way, the people who are searching for help and the way how we could enhance and support their healthier and wellbeing status.

In order to ensure their access to care and continued cure in need, the probability of receiving a timely diagnosis and of surviving differs greatly from country to country where they are now. There is lack of information, help and inequalities in access. People need help in navigating cancer knowledge, diagnostics, secondary monitoring and prevention, way of treatments, and care.

Shifting our mindset, supporting healthcare connectivity, removing inequalities overall across Europe is our mission and even more now in a time of crisis, helping the Ukrainian people dealing with cancer is a good place to begin this transformative revolution.

1) Whether we have a chance to foster more holistic and integrated approaches to receive information and care, by supporting coordination and maximising an enabling and health-enhancing effect of care across services from different countries?

2) Whether actions should address the social determinants of health, the countries where they are now, the health need which they have, the social and language barriers are the conditions which have to be taken into consideration in a coordinated manner?

How might we improve patients and /or people who seek healthcare support, access to healthcare services at an EU & the Member States Healthcare systems level? Especially in a time of crisis in Europe.

How might we support refugees fleeing from their countries by navigating them to medical centres to receive best available care?  

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Predictive Treatment

Precision medicine aims to personalise care for every individual. Nongenomic and genomic determinants, combined with information from patient symptoms, clinical history, and lifestyle (nutrition, physical activity, stress etc.), can facilitate personalised diagnosis and prognostics. Yet this goal requires access to massive amounts of data which may come from different structured and unstructured sources; these can be our medical records, laboratory testing, a range of medical devices as well as from the patient himself. AI & ML can combine input from these multiple sources, analyse them and identify biomarkers that can support health professionals make more informed decisions. The convergence of precision medicine with the advanced AI capabilities will improve the ability to personalise care – improve diagnosis, risk prediction as well as therapy planning.  

HCPs want to better predict treatment response, given uncertainty around which treatment to prescribe to which patient and when to prescribe. How do we risk assess the patients, match them with the right treatment (personalised). How can we transform the wealth of data and link it to the predictive nature of how the patient will respond?

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Patient Journey Navigation

Being diagnosed with cancer is overwhelming and comes as a blow. Patients may feel on a roller coaster of emotions—they are scared, lost & confused not knowing what to expect, who to refer to, what to do and how to tell their loved ones.  They directly refer to “Dr. Google” to look for information about their disease, possible treatments, QoL strategies with the aim to have better understanding of their disease and learn how to better cope with their disease & treatment, yet information is not always valid, accessible, nor personalised or tailored to the patient’s status and needs therefore left with huge amounts of non-relevant information. Coming to the doctor, the physician’s time is limited and mostly focusing on the physical aspects of the disease & treatment, not leaving much time to ask questions nor discuss more holistic aspects of the disease such as emotional, psychological, social aspects. The patient (& caregiver in many cases) leaves the room with unanswered questions, doesn’t remember much of what has been said, and feels he is not heard, nor seen as a whole.

The need for navigating this journey along the emotional psychological stress is overwhelming & patients and their caregivers look for support (case manager/companion/partner) to help manage their disease holistically – starting from having clarity around their disease and treatment by having access to reliable and personalised information during their journey as well as having an integrated holistic care system , supporting them and their loved ones to navigate through the different aspects of their disease – medical, emotional, logistical, psychological, social, rights.

How can we support patients to navigate through the complexity of their disease and treatment ensuring they have validated holistic information about their disease journey & treatment and be empowered to  effectively manage their care 

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Peer-to-Peer Medical Exchange

As medical events pivoted from conference centres and meeting rooms to the virtual settings, learning opportunities continue. Lectures and presentations are translated to the new digital world, yet the ability to connect and network is relatively lost. Peer interaction is essential not only for information exchange but to share practical insights, allows consultation & in-person experience cross country and across borders leading to better disease management.

This peer-based learning/ consultation is highly valued amongst practising clinicians and was generally achieved when HCPs and KOLs met their peers in national & Intl conferences, group debates, advisory boards and even during quick corridor conversations. Attempting to replicate these in-person experiences into the digital space creates challenges and are not effective nor impactful as face-to-face engagements. 

How might we improve HCP medical exchange enabling physicians to easily communicate, consult, exchange opinions leveraging individual experts & centres of excellence knowledge, experiences, and practices?

How can we leverage the technological expertise to allow HCPs to connect with leading experts across countries to get advice / counselling for their cases?

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Application for 2022Calling2Scale is closed.
Interested in participating in the next cohort?
Email maayan.sharon@eithubisrael.eu