The survey by leading software research site Capterra covers insights from 500 employees across different industries in Australia.

Analyst at Capterra, Laura Burgess, said: “The survey shows that we’ve entered a global and interconnected economy, noting the potential challenges and opportunities this type of work environment can deliver. Organisations are encouraged to continue efforts in empowering employees to navigate international collaborations.”

“Various factors of employee job satisfaction, such as interpersonal relationships with supervisors and coworkers, diversity and inclusion, or effective meeting culture, play a significant role in contributing to a collaborative workplace,” Laura Burgess adds.

Work-Life Balance and Company Culture

Australian employees perceive work-life balance and company culture less positively than other English-speaking countries, falling behind the U.S. and India. Only 15% of Australians rated this component 10 out of 10, compared to 23% of U.S. respondents and 28% of respondents from India.

Considering the significant time difference, the biggest challenge of collaborating with coworkers in other countries is the volatile work hours, according to 44% of respondents in Australia. While this is true for other countries surveyed, Australian employees feel they are most impacted by this arrangement when it comes to work-life balance and company culture.

Having coworkers from different time zones requires some adjustment, leading to some having to work outside of official hours to accommodate late-night or early-morning meetings and irregular schedules.

Productivity and Focus in Meetings

Online meetings are a platform for communication, creativity and innovation, especially with remote coworkers from another country. Given that this is the only viable medium, there is a tendency for lack of efficiency with poorly run meetings, leading to fatigue. When meetings run for too long, 43% of employees switch their focus to other matters.

Other factors that contribute to employees losing focus during meetings include deeming information as irrelevant (42%), one person overly dominating the meeting by talking too much (37%), information overload (31%) and if they already know the key discussion points (29%).

Having international teams can also pose the language barrier as a challenge when it comes to meetings. The survey reflects that 69% of Australian employees have coworkers with a different native language, regardless of whether they’re based in the same location or remotely in another country. This may lead to miscommunication and require more clarification, which could further encroach on personal time.

Benefits of International Collaboration

Despite the challenges encountered in having overseas coworkers, employees shared that there are advantages to this kind of arrangement. International collaborations provide networking opportunities, according to 35% of employees in Australia. Other benefits coming from working with global teams include diversity and inclusion (33%), new perspectives for problem-solving (30%), understanding other work cultures (29%) and a flexible work environment (29%).

As companies in Australia continue to embrace global collaboration, it is important to utilise strategies to mitigate challenges and maximise productivity. Software tools are available to align project timelines and written materials, and having good leadership will help address language barriers. Clear communication and technology-based solutions would help create a more positive work environment.

Capterra’s ‘2024 Collaboration and Productivity Survey’ was conducted online in January 2024 among 6,490 respondents in the U.S. (503), UK (496), Canada (499), Netherlands (498), Brazil (501), India (500), France (497), Spain (501), Germany (497), Italy (500), Mexico (500), Australia (500) and Japan (498).

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/Public Release.