If you’ve been with us for a while now, you might remember a small talk we had about this subject when discussing whether or not to hire a PPC from another country, but even then we didn’t get to develop on it as much as I’d like to. So today we are going to review a few things to work on and suggestions if you indeed choose to work with a PPC that sleeps when you are awake.
We have already gone through the many pros and cons of hiring a foreign PPC specialist, so that’s not what we are going to do today. Let’s say you figured out the budget, requirements, organization, and priorities and decided that it was a great idea to hire someone from a different location. So now, facing that situation, you realize the situation is much different than working with someone who’s just a few blocks away. Not necessarily bad, but for sure you’ll need to figure out a strategy to make the best of the experience, and that’s why today we are going to review a couple of untraditional pro tips to work with someone who doesn’t share your time zone, learned from nothing but experience.
Send your PPC their tasks and feedback ASAP
Common sense will tell us that we should never send our employees things to do on a Sunday afternoon unless we want them to hate us really bad. However, when working with someone whose schedule could be completely opposite to yours, it’s really important that you keep the back and forth moving. Perhaps you figure out you need something on Sunday, then you wait until Monday to send it and they receive it on Tuesday when they wake up so then you end up getting the job done Wednesday morning, and that’s not productive for anyone. First things first, let your PPC know that he doesn’t have to get back at you the second he gets your message, and then optimize your working dynamic by always sending things right when you think of them.
Take advantage of technology
When we share an office with a bunch of people, we can always stay on top of what everyone needs to do. From hand-made to-do lists to post-its everywhere and even cool modern blackboards, there are a lot of manual ways to stay organized and know what you have to do (and what everyone else has to do). However, a PPC that’s 8 thousand miles away may not find it so easy to just go check your cool blackboard. Luckily, nowadays we have a bunch of tools such as Asana, Trello, and even Google Drive that can come in handy when we need to assign tasks to many people and when many of them aren’t right by our sides. This way you can send them as many “Hey could you design this Display Ad?” as you like, without missing them under a pile of emails.
The controversy of video-conferences
I totally agree that some things, especially in the Advertising Industry where visuals matter so much, just can’t be explained over an email or a text, sometimes not even through a voice note. That’s why I’m a firm believer that we definitely need to have video conferences for some specific situations, even if that situation it’s just creating a bond with your foreign PPC specialist over a virtual coffee.
However, if I had a dollar for every time I said “this call could’ve been an email” during this past year, I might be a millionaire by now. Everyone by now is pretty close to being, as we call it, “Zoomed out”, meaning absolutely done with having Zooms or any other type of video conferences. We already spend a lot of time with computers due to our jobs, classes, readings, among other activities, to add up an extra hour of staring at the screen. My point here is, whenever you choose to have a video meeting, make sure it’s really the most beneficial thing to do. And also make sure that it absolutely couldn’t have been an email.
Be considerate with other people’s time
I know a lot of people, even myself usually, who don’t mind having calls at midnight, and that even work better at weird times than in the usual working hours. If you are working with a PPC in a different time zone and you have this outstanding night-owl quality, then you’ll have a great advantage because you might even be working at the same time after all. However, not everyone shares this same way of working, some people need to sleep in regular time and that’s a respectable inquiry. So if you are not the only one in your team that works with the international PPC specialist, be careful with how you handle your expectations of them and take into consideration what other people need. This also applies to avoiding demanding your foreign employee to adapt to your time zone, unless that was something that basically was included in the PPC’s job offer.
Get really specific about deadlines
As said before, time management when working with global teams can be a bit of a challenge, and that’s why you need to cover everything in order to minimize the risk as much as you can. One of these areas to cover are deadlines, and even when it’s really important to be clear on them with every type of PPC, they get a much higher relevance when working with someone in a different time zone. Basically, every time anyone gets behind on something, that means, not just a few hours, but calendar days of delay because it’s likely that they won’t even be awake when you need to handle the crisis. This is why you should always leave everything really clear, specifying the date and time of the deadline, including time according to which country. My recommendation here is that you leave it written somewhere (an email, a text, a ticket in Asana) so that there’s pretty much no room for confusion, if there’s a clear “X Brand’s Advertising Campaign due to May 7th at 7:30PM (PST)” then there’s really none subjectivity around it.
So, to conclude, I believe working with someone from another country can be a really enriching and interesting experience and for sure it’s worth being tried out, as long as you make sure to make it enjoyable both for you and for your PPC. Hopefully, these suggestions will help you design a successful strategy that makes your work relationship one everyone can learn from.