Working in a Global Organization

It’s 10:30 pm on a Monday night and already past my normally early bedtime. But I’m up waiting for a work-call from Bishkek. Because of the 10-11 hour time difference between Washington DC and Bishkek, we normally have meetings really early in the morning here, catching my colleagues over in Kyrgyzstan before they leave for the day. But this time, we are also connecting a colleague who is located in Oregon, i.e. three hours behind my time, so it was more convenient to switch the day and do it early in the morning across the world instead. And yes, constantly working with between six and eleven hours’ time difference, like I do, changes the context in which we work because it’s always necessary to keep in mind that there may only be one or a few hours available when I get to the office in the morning until my colleagues have left for the day. So it’s important to have a clear picture of what needs to be done by the end of the day already at the start of the day. Also, an empty inbox at the end of the day may be overflowing when I get to the office the next morning, since some of my colleagues have almost done a full day’s worth of work by then. But I also find it fascinating how easy it still is, despite all this, to work effectively with a team that is spread out across 14 time zones. Because my colleagues and I work for the same managers and see each other on a regular basis, and because we share a common culture in the organization’s goals and values, I barely think about the geographical distance between our offices. I know my workplace is not the only one working in this way, but I’m sure there will be a lot more in the future. Wouldn’t it be great if, for example, universities were spread out more across the world? So that students could take their different classes in places that are closer to the specific topic? I think there are universities that are already doing this (like John Hopkins/SAIS and Columbia University) but maybe there will be more in the future…  


While waiting for their call, I’m studying Russian grammar and vocabulary for a test that I have tomorrow. Kind of fitting, even though our call, of course, will be in English.  

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