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The Power of Intercontinental Teams

July 18th, 2023   |   Gareth Llewellyn

As a company that spans multiple continents, we often get asked what it’s like to have teams across borders and time-zones that work so closely day-to-day. At Brew Digital, we really embrace the advantages of an international squad, and believe that good ideas aren’t constrained by geographic or geopolitical constructs; innovation and comradery knows no boundaries. We currently have staff in the UK, Canada, Malaysia, Portugal, Croatia and South Africa, and in an era of remote working, and with the great culture we’ve spent time developing as an organisation, it feels completely natural. 

We’ve pulled together some of the great things that come from having international teams working in harmony, and what it means for our clients, our people and our company.

Cultural sensitivity and enrichment

Being a global team allows us to tap into a wealth of diverse experiences and references. They say travel broadens the mind, but working with people from different countries and cultures is the next best thing. 

As a company we love to learn about different cultures, foods, festivals, holidays and traditions. We can do an amount of that in the office, and through conversations with clients, but it’s so much richer when we actively work every day with people in different countries. Everybody contributes their own unique perspective, cultural background and way of thinking to the melting pot of diverse talent. This expands our understanding of the world, the different markets we operate in, and allows us to better respond to the needs of our clients. 

A great quote from Katya Watkins from COLLINS, is: "We are not hiring for a cultural fit, we are hiring for a cultural addition," and that is exactly how we think about our international growth. We don’t look at it as a purely commercial decision, we want to ensure that any new member of the team adds to our overall collective experience in lots of diverse ways. This has the benefit of promoting a mentorship environment where everybody can learn from each other, expanding our skillset and making us a more innovative team as a result.

We are in sync, even if we’re not in the same room

In the era of hybrid working, we find that being on the same wavelength matters more than sharing the same physical space. We have learned that working together in the same room is great but doesn't automatically translate to harmonious collaboration, whereas being miles apart can require a team to develop a deep understanding and synergy. There are times where we will be on a conference call and finishing each other's sentences, because we’re that attuned with each other's thought process – super important when doing handovers across time zones! This has developed naturally over time because of our shared values and collective understanding. It also had the secondary benefit of making us more sympathetic and empathetic towards one another. We invest time and effort into hiring people with the right attitude and cultural fit, fostering and maintaining connections, and going beyond borders to build bridges of collaboration.

“It’s more important to be on the same wavelength than it is the same continent”

Genuine friendships and connections

Despite being physically distant, our global team feels remarkably connected. Despite some teams rarely seeing each other in person because they’re on different continents, there is a genuine sense of camaraderie and we genuinely like and care for one another. Although we never expect or demand it, that compassion means our team members sometimes actively choose to start work early or later to support one another, professionally and personally. That willingness extends to our clients as well! This commitment to each other creates a supportive environment where everyone can be themselves and work together to produce outstanding work.

Continuous progress and flexible communication

One of the key benefits of having intercontinental teams is the ability to maintain project momentum. With team members spread across different time zones, progress on your project is almost always being made; handovers happen seamlessly, allowing projects to move forward more quickly. This also means that responses are more frequent, ensuring that we can easily connect with clients and giving them more freedom to contact us on their terms. Another benefit is that if a client requires something quickly out-of-hours, we can reach out to our international colleagues to get it done. This dynamic environment enables us to be agile, responsive, and achieve faster turnaround times for our projects.

We <3 the slang

We love to celebrate the differences between our different cultures and languages, and nowhere is that more apparent than with our slang!

I was quite confused when asking one of my Canadian colleagues what they would be wearing to a formal company event, and they said “pants and vest” (which means underwear in the UK), whereas they meant smart trousers and a waistcoat…

And you’ll often find us spending time on Zoom calls trying to work out the best way to explain the meaning of words like “kerfuffle” or “peng”, which then get picked up as part of our growing global lexicon…

To find out more about the great work our international team of talented folk get up to, view our case studies.

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