(NewsUSA) – The nine to five workday seems as outdated as the typewriter. Global businesses operate around-the-clock. While some employees sleep, others work towards corporate goals.

In the past, businesses relied on hierarchies. But to leverage technology, knowledge and human talent, businesses seek assets worldwide.

Parallel work teams, known as “mirror zones,” help global companies compress the time it takes for products to cycle through planning, design, testing, development and market entry. The technology, automotive, computer and healthcare industries especially rely on innovative global partnerships. To develop its 787 Dreamliner, Boeing used global interdisciplinary job teams and more than 70 companies.

Progressive companies that use worldwide work teams are called “global collaborative enterprises.” The employees who work in these systems need to develop exceptional communication skills.

Engineers, for example, must become “system thinkers.” Instead of working closely with one team in one office, engineers work with multidisciplinary teams across disparate time zones.

Managers can no longer rely on their personal skills, which diminish in comparison to the market’s larger universe of talents and abilities. Managers need to approach projects holistically.

Good collaborators will always focus on innovation and will import widely dispersed knowledge and skills. The world provides a tremendous pool of resources that can improve quality and efficiency in product design -; if businesses can harness it.

Fortunately, tools help workers operate in collaborative work environments. Instant messaging and videoconferencing speed up communication. Some firms use virtual work environments to simulate physical work spaces. “Avatars,” or digitally rendered headshots that move across computer screens, help workers feel like they’re talking face-to-face.