Work-Life Balance – Having developers around the world may be good for business, but CIOs pay a personal toll. Because remote operations may be located up to 12 time zones away, the workweek can stretch from Sunday night (as teams in Asia come into their offices) until Friday evening (when stateside staff wrap up the workweek). This schedule, combined with grueling travel demands, can pull families apart as professional responsibilities bleed into personal and social time.
Ashwin Rangan managed worldwide technology teams for more than a decade as CIO of Conexant and as a senior manager at AST Research. He suggests six New Year’s resolutions for IT execs with global responsibilities:
1. Travel with your spouse. If your spouse joins you on an overseas trip at least once a year, he or she will better understand what you’re going through, as well as share in your cross-cultural learning.
2. Get comfortable. If your company pays only for economy class airline travel, use your frequent flier miles to upgrade to business class. If it pays for business class, upgrade to first.
3. Give yourself a break. Jet lag affects your judgment and your attention span, so keep a light schedule on the day you arrive at your destination.
4. Send someone else. Your key reports in other countries should also visit each other frequently to build their own connections and sympathy for one another. You don’t always have to be there.
5. Minimize off-hours work. When transcontinental conference calls are necessary, distribute the inconvenience around the globe. For half of the calls, you can have stateside teams come in early while the offshore team is at work, and you can schedule the rest during the U.S. workday, when the offshore team stays late. Families on two continents will thank you.
6. Stay home. Limit your Sunday evening social engagements, and advise your direct reports to consider the same. If no work issues crop up offshore, you can have an evening with your family; if they do, your loved ones will forgive you more easily than your friends.