Written by Becky Smith, HJ-PR Intern.
HJ-PR is an influencer and social media agency working with international clients in the United States and United Kingdom. With having a global reach, our team demonstrates cultural competency, exceptional communication skills, savvy technical abilities and a knack for human connection.
In the ever-shrinking world of digital communications, teams are now required to work across time zones, languages, cultures and skill levels. A recent survey showed 89% of white-collar workers occasionally rely on online tools for projects with global virtual teams.
In the Summer of 2018, I got the opportunity to live in Florence, Italy for six weeks studying Italian Language and Destination Advertising. Besides being in the classroom, I was networking with other students from around the world who were spending their semester in Italy.
Italians have a very indulgent culture emphasizing the little things that make life joyous like art, food, fashion and wine. In my advertising class, we had a wine tasting demonstration where we studied the bottle labels for various different wine brands based in Italy. We learned the origins of Italian luxury and the branding behind each. But, what I learned in class was only half the joy.
The lifestyle I was introduced to was equally as stimulating. Most shops in Florence are closed on Sundays as most businesses in the city are family owned and operated by the mass corporations in the US with 24/7 convenience. During the work week, 2 p.m.- 4 p.m. business temporarily closes so workers can take a midday nap, which was definitely a norm quickly got used to. It would be a failure not to also mention my daily espresso, pizza and gelato runs.
When I got back to the states, I quickly adapted my Italian habits of relaxation and peace to my American lifestyle.
Getting the experience to study fashion and lifestyle brands in Italy prepared me for my role at HJ-PR and I wouldn’t change anything about my time abroad. Building the skill of understanding culture when communicating in personal and professional settings has served me well during the recent pandemic where the workforce went virtual and global.
Since the office has been at home, HR teams and recruiters have changed their vision of what ideal candidates have for remote work. These skills include the ability to think broadly and have perspective, social awareness and working well with others.
Of course, working on a team with geographic diversity comes with challenges; however, the benefits are easily identified in the team culture and the work produced. Several studies show diverse teams exhibit more creativity based on stronger fact-based decision-making processes.
With our experience of localized and international projects, we are able to be flexible in telling stories for strong brands whether innovative or heritage. Distributed teams are the way of the future. More agile, complex work environments are created that compete with the global, ever-changing market.
Being able to work with a multicultural team with a jet-setting lifestyle and careers spanning across industries make for great networking and management training.
International teams with knowledge on culture and society are the present and most definitely, the future. HJ-PR is a pioneer in creating moments across time and place in a new world of creativity.