If the early part of this year was confusing for knowing when New Year might be celebrated – with the Gregorian/Western calender New Years, Asian New Year, Nowruz already celebrated, and the Water Festival still to come (as well as New Year in Myanmar, which falls on April 16 – Easter now raises its head in many Christian based cultures. As it’s also a Spring festival with its timing originating in many older traditions, no one working cross-culturally or internationally can’t take too much for granted. (That said, this year (2014) looks better than most, as in Easter and Western churches the date celebrated coincides – April 20. This is a fairly rare occurrence.) How people celebrate varies hugely, and the amount of interruption to the workplace is highly variable.
Jewish Passover falls beforehand on April 15 (we hosted a really interesting blog by Anna Moss on this last year, and although the dates have changed, the lessons still hold true: Passover and the Workplace). Add to this at least 37 national or military memorial days that I could trace, and three national days off in different places for Royal birthdays, if we had a truly global team, we’d always have at least one person off every day of the week.
The practicalities of this dictate that someone will usually be missing an important celebration to participate in that global conference call or attend a global meeting. The best way to cope is to understand that this is the case, and always check what events and celebrations colleagues may have over the next few months or over the course of a project. Make it clear that even though they may celebrate something on a certain date, it can’t be taken for granted that others will, and even if they celebrate the same day, they probably won’t celebrate the same way – when you’re expecting a minor celebration and a day off, they may be expecting a week long festivity in which no work can be expected to be delivered. If you’re managing a project, and someone has interrupted a major celebration to participate in a meeting or a call, even a small acknowledgement of the fact can make a big difference to morale.
Of course, if it’s you celebrating things, how hard would it be to drop a note to your colleagues and let them know what dates are important to you, how it will affect your availability, and even how you’ll be celebrating?Worst case, it will allow them to schedule and not get irritated by your absence. Best case, it can help you know and understand each other a little better.
Don’t forget that World Book Day is on April 23, and we’d love your book recommendation in exchange for prizes: http://www.global-integration.com/blog/world-book-day/.
It’s also our birthday in April, and if you already know us, please don’t be shy about leaving a message and joining us for a ‘virtual coffee ‘ to help celebrate: http://www.global-integration.com/birthday/
- Find out more about training to help with the complexities of global working.
- Let us know, below, what you’ll be celebrating this month, and how.
- Contact us for help making global working work, or to benchmark your global team’s performance.