INVNT APAC Managing Director Laura Roberts shares her tips.
Working with colleagues and clients in different time zones is the norm these days, but time, much like the weather, remains one of the things that we humans can’t physically manipulate. Staying alert until 11 p.m. in Sydney for a 9 a.m. call to New York, for example, isn’t always going to be sustainable, but there are a number of tactics that can be employed to work across multiple time zones efficiently and effectively. With eight offices in five different countries, INVNT actually uses the different time zones we operate in to our advantage. Event professionals can achieve this by:
Curating a Global Team
Aim to establish operations — even if they are small — and recruit talent in different time zones. That way when a brief lands, or a new project comes in, you can curate a team of staff who are located on the ground in the client’s city, along with talent in other time zones. This means there’s a dedicated team working on a client’s event 24 hours a day. While our client services team sleeps in Sydney, for example, our creative department in New York will collaborate with our SWDSH Design Studio in Stockholm to add a new layer of branding and creativity to a deck based on client feedback, ready to be discussed during a conference call with the Sydney team first thing in their morning.
The Atlantis Sanya launch that took place in China last April is a great example of this. INVNTrs in Sydney and New York worked in close partnership to conceptualise the experience, which comprised an original narrative and a five-act performance that featured a dramatic original score, live instrumentation, and bespoke lighting design. They then partnered with producers in Sydney, New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore to bring it all to life.
Adopting a Blended Resource Model
It’s important to have a strong full-time team in place — all of our key positions on a project are staffed with INVNTrs — and supplement it with specialist freelancers. Focus on establishing a talented and reliable network of freelancers across all of the regions you operate in, who you can call upon based on their areas of expertise, home base, and knowledge of the local culture. You can hand-pick the talent who is best suited to a particular project, and who can work in close collaboration with your team of global full-timers. This approach also enables a business to stay lean and keep costs down for clients, as they pay only for those who touch their projects.
Now, for example, we’re delivering a super cool influencer event in East Asia. The client loved the creative that came out of the Sydney office. The team working on this included full-time employees in Sydney and members of our vetted freelance network in Singapore and Tokyo. We connect each day on all aspects of the event, and the client has a point of contact, regardless of the time of day.
Embracing a ‘Work-Life Blend’ Approach
The world is moving very fast right now and the events industry, in particular, is always on. Work life is no longer 9-5 and achieving that elusive work-life balance is not so easy anymore. We therefore advocate for creating a “blend.” This can mean that project teams work longer hours or on weekends, or take calls late at night as a project reaches the delivery stage, however they’ll then take some extra time off to rest and recuperate once the event wraps.
At INVNT we call these “chill days” and we’ve also introduced global perks like in-office massages following busy periods. This might see teams in Sydney, Singapore, London, and New York all treated to a massage. It’s an approach that enables us to service our clients at all times during event delivery periods, while also ensuring we don’t burn out.
While time is something we don’t have complete control over, by leveraging technologies — like the smartphone, social media, conference call service providers, and apps such as WhatsApp — and adopting a combination of the above tactics, working across time zones can prove incredibly beneficial for both event agencies and their clients.
Laura Roberts is managing director of INVNT APAC.