One of the great things about being at 1E is the diversity and cultural mix of my colleagues (and therefore me too) but this hasn’t always been the easiest thing to fully embrace when a large percentage of that culture and people are over 7000Km away in Noida, India. It introduces challenges of dealing with time zones and mis-communications and where some members of the team are nearing the end of their day when I’m just starting… not fair ! 😎
We have pretty good video conferencing facilities meaning we can meet up quickly from our desks or in meeting rooms, and in our India and UK offices have just gained some great new facilities too, including a new communal lunch and breakout space. It would be fantastic to get some live feeds going from the other offices in similar areas to increase our casual contact further, especially as we separate out the teams to focus on local responsibilities, but somehow it still wouldn’t quite make up for meeting-up in person.
So we mix things up a bit by sending people off here and there as appropriate between our offices to get a full on immersion into the other culture (and do some work too). Whether you work for 1E in London, Noida, New York, or Dublin, you can take the opportunity to travel and experience working and living in another country, if that is what you want to do.
Last year I went on a three week trip to the India office in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, a rapidly growing tech city a few miles south east of New Delhi to share the way the UK Dev teams work, the tools we use, approaches we take, and help bring about some positive changes to a new full product team taking over the reigns of one of our products formerly managed in the UK. I ended up meeting colleagues I didn’t even know existed simply because I’ve never had a video conference with them or were not in my product team, nor chatted to in the kitchen. It was a great opportunity to forge some links and learn a lot about life and work in what I originally thought was a vastly different country, but learned so much personally and professionally and saw great sights like the Red Fort, Taj Mahal, Qtub Minar and what snippets of India in between I could take in that have helped me and my UK colleagues to bridge the gaps and raise awareness to things we just might not consider otherwise.
I know both myself and the two colleagues in India that spent a lot of personal time outside work with me were exhausted after the trip, but it was such a worthwhile experience all round and has helped permanently place the India office and colleagues firmly in my head so that they do not become an afterthought, but are instead a key part of my 1E horizon.