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Building bridges across borders: Strategies for a cohesive remote global team

| April 17, 2024

The global landscape of work is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Fueled by advancements in technology and a growing desire for flexibility, remote work is rapidly becoming the norm, bringing a host of benefits. This shift offers undeniable advantages like access to a broader talent pool and improved work-life balance, even though it presents unique challenges.

Bridging geographical and cultural divides requires a thoughtful approach. Emphasising the importance of fostering a deep understanding of diverse work styles and communication preferences is key. By implementing effective strategies to create a solid and inclusive work environment, we can unlock the immense potential of remote global teams.

By fostering cultural understanding and building a solid work environment, companies can overcome the challenges of remote work and create prosperous, cohesive global teams that not only survive but thrive in a borderless world, offering a promising future for the world of work.

Understanding cultural differences:

As per Steve McKinney, President, Kestria South Korea, building a successful remote global team hinges on one fundamental principle: understanding and appreciating cultural differences. Here's a breakdown of why this is crucial and how to cultivate cultural awareness in your team:

Importance of recognition

Diverse Work Styles: Recognise that team members from different cultures may have varying preferences for working independently, collaboratively, or within a hierarchical structure.

Communication Styles: Communication styles can differ significantly across cultures. Some may be more direct, while others may favor a more indirect approach. Understanding these variations is key to avoiding misunderstandings and fostering clear communication.

Work-Life Balance: Cultural norms around work-life balance can also vary. Some cultures may prioritise long hours at the office, while others may place a higher value on personal time and scheduled breaks.

Mathias Friedrichs
Managing Director, Kestria Germany

‘In remote and digital work models different communication styles need to be understood and addressed. While Dutch for example have very direct, non-nonsense communication a lot of Asian colleagues are used to a much less direct communication. Without mutual understanding a cultural clash will be inevitable in remote global teams,’ says Mathias Friedrichs, Managing Director, Kestria Germany.

Strategies for Promoting Cultural Awareness

Training and Workshops: Implement cultural competency training programs or workshops to equip team members with the knowledge and skills to navigate diverse work styles and communication preferences.

Knowledge Sharing Platforms: Create online platforms where team members can share their cultural backgrounds, traditions, and holidays. These fosters understanding and appreciation for diversity within the team.

Encouragement of Open Communication: Encourage open communication and feedback within the team. This allows team members to express their concerns and preferences related to cultural differences, fostering a more inclusive environment.

‘By actively promoting cultural awareness, you can create a foundation of respect and understanding within your remote global team. This, in turn, paves the way for effective collaboration, increased productivity and a more positive overall work experience for everyone,’ adds Steve McKinney.

Building a Cohesive Work Environment

Utilizing digital communication and collaborative tools to strengthen teamwork remotely has blurred distances, allowing teams to be virtually close. "By multiplying inclusive practices and actively inviting team members to speak and ensuring that their voices are heard, a sense of belonging is fostered among global team members. This approach enhances cross-cultural understanding and collaboration across borders by valuing and integrating diverse viewpoints," says Celine Chabee, Partner, Kestria Canada & USA.

Communication Techniques: Effective virtual communication methods include video conferencing, instant messaging, and project management tools. Clear communication, active listening and respecting time zone differences are also crucial.

Team-building activities: Virtual team-building exercises that promote collaboration and social interaction are essential. Encouraging informal online gatherings and fostering relationships through shared interests can also be beneficial.

Inclusive Policies: It is essential to develop policies that cater to diverse time zones and work styles, such as flexible schedules and remote work stipends. Creating a culture of inclusivity and respect that values all team members' contributions is equally crucial.

Rania Abdalla
Managing Director, Kestria UAE & Egypt

‘Embracing Cultural diversity is about genuinely believing that each team member brings a unique set of perspectives, experiences, and approaches to the table. By embracing this diversity, organisations can delve into a wealth of creativity and innovation that arises from cross-cultural complementarity. Moreover, fostering an inclusive environment where every voice is heard and valued not only enhances team cohesion but also fosters a sense of belonging and unity despite physical distances. In the pursuit of building bridges across borders within remote global teams, embracing cultural diversity isn't just about checking a box; Achieving shared goals and achieving sustainable success is about harnessing the collective strengths of a truly global team,’ adds Rania Abdalla, Founder & Managing Director, Kestria UAE & Egypt.

When communication tools enable everyone to have an active role and a heard voice, resources involve stakeholders and DEI policies allow everyone to have a voice actively listened to and integrated, a sense of belonging can be indeed fostered among global team members, enhancing cross-cultural understanding and collaboration across borders. “By focusing on these aspects, organisations can create a workplace where employees feel valued, connected, and motivated, ultimately leading to higher engagement and retention rates," says Celine Chabee.


The rise of remote work has ushered in a new era of global collaboration. With careful planning and a commitment to fostering cultural understanding, companies can leverage the immense potential of geographically dispersed teams. By implementing the strategies outlined in this article – from actively promoting cultural awareness to building a strong and inclusive work environment – we can create a future of work where diverse perspectives drive innovation and success.

From global leadership experience, we know that successful companies cultivate a sense of belonging and shared purpose that transcends geographical boundaries. We can bridge cultural divides and build strong, cohesive teams through effective virtual communication, engaging team-building activities, and inclusive policies. In doing so, we unlock a world of talent and expertise, fostering a more collaborative and dynamic work environment.

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