Working Across Time Zones Can Be Tough Here’s How To Do It Right

Implementing a rotating schedule for your fixed time-zone is a way to shake up your organization and try to improve it. This will let employees in one part of the world experience a different schedule, and you might even find that it works better for everyone. But, communicate with your clients if you’ll be changing time zones. When you schedule a meeting with a client in a different time zone, check and double-check that you’ve done your math correctly. I spent a week in Florida in February collecting seashells, eating the best doughnuts in existence, and reading at least a book a day. I also put in a few hours each afternoon writing and scheduling client appointments . Asking for permission takes time—especially on a distributed team.

You may also have team members who like working split shifts, where they work part of the morning, take time off to run errands or pick up their kids from school, then continue working at night. When you’re working remotely or in a different location from other team members, you can’t easily turn to them, ask a question, or make conversation. This can make it hard to communicate working across time zones and develop a relationship with your colleagues. With all of the technology at our fingertips, many teams are no longer required to work in the same location or at the same time. “There’s a give and take. So long as you check with the person on their preferences, it’s fine to ask. Some might even prefer to work a non-standard shift anyway,” Kelly explains.

Get Asynchronous Communication Right

If you use a group chat tool, communicate in public channels unless it’s a sensitive or personal issue. You might not know everyone who needs to be aware of something or whose help you’ll need, but if you work in public, you increase the odds that they’ll see it. Plus, a massive public database of chats allows teammates to find the answers to their own questions by searching. In addition to working asynchronously at Zapier, I’m also taking some classes outside of work that require asynchronous communications with my classmates. When asking a question, don’t assume the person knows what you’re talking about.

working in different time zones

It’s easy enough to understand time zones where you live, but if you’re working in a remote team spread across the world, it gets harder to remember what time it is for your team members. This is one of the most hassle-free and easy ways to check time zones, especially when freelancing and working with clients in multiple locations and time zones. Of course, there’s the argument that the vast majority of meetings may not be necessary, and flexibility is pretty much a part of the remote job description. Still, some form of meetings is vital for organizations looking to keep the connection and interaction across distributed teams.

Allow For Synchronous And Asynchronous Communications

I feel confident that as time goes on, remote work will improve as we each individually develop better remote work skills. Even now, as I work remotely from home in Santa Barbara, CA, my seating situation is crucial for how my neck and back feel at the end of the day, and my mental focus.

  • In these tools, we can log what we’ve done, what we’re doing or questions and comments we have and know that other team members can read and comment later on their own schedule.
  • Managing a global team is more complicated than managing one that works from the same office.
  • An asynchronous-first team communication style can be very beneficial for remote teams working on projects across different time zones.
  • If you’re not yet aware of this, writers like to procrastinate.

Use 24-hour (or “military”) time to be as clear as possible and eliminate errors. Don’t miss our evergreen list of how to pack for a remote work trip, for anywhere in the world.

Know Your Remote Team’s Working Hours

When working within different time zones, it is very important to be mindful of your teammates’ time zone. You should avoid scheduling meetings during the times that you know everyone will not be awake, but this isn’t always possible if you work with people across multiple continents. If you do need to schedule something during off-hours, check first to make sure it is okay. Teams employing a globally distributed workforce should pay special attention to learning and optimizing for different cultural specifics. Your employees’ communication styles, collaboration methods, and work schedules are largely impacted by their cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. Consider making a record of all culture-specific holidays to make sure no meetings or group work sessions are scheduled around those dates.

working in different time zones

If you believe in keeping labor in your home country, foreign outsourcing isn’t for you but there are plenty of business and humanitarian advantages to taking work out of the country. Find opportunities for businesses owned by women and people of color. We value your privacy and we’ll only send you relevant information. Oyster enables hiring anywhere in the world with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks. Even if your company hosts yearly conferences, that’s still a lot of missed opportunities and time apart on a daily basis. This way team members can digest all the information they need at a time that suits them, without having to worry about falling behind or missing out on crucial work details. Some companies that are already going this route include HubSpot, Zapier, Upwork, Automattic, DuckDuckGo, and GitHub.

Encourage Flexible Working Hours

These can be used as a reference point throughout the hiring process and as additional coaching with established teams. Similarly, the rest of the team should be comfortable working autonomously with minimum instruction and interference to ensure maximum productivity.

working in different time zones

Thus, setting weekly objectives can help keep the workflow going, irrespective of different time zones. However, failing to manage your team working remotely from different corners can negatively impact the growth of your business by disengaging the workforce and reducing employee productivity.

Time zone differences can mean that there’s always someone in the world pushing the project forward. It can mean that my client can send a brief before they sleep, and wake up to the job done, because I can work uninterrupted during my day. This also applies to when you are deciding on ETAs or meeting times. ALWAYS confirm the time zone you’re talking about so it is clear for all parties. You can use time zone abbreviations like EST, UTC, etc., or just clarify if a meeting is ‘my time / your time’. That means if you’re messaging/emailing a client outside their working hours, do so in a way that doesn’t require them to send lots of follow-up messages to understand what you’re telling them. A clock to eliminate time zone calculations for remote workers.

Example #1: You Manage A Large Workplace With Teams Of Employees Across Multiple Different Time Zones

The clockwise is one of the best tools for managing the calendars and meetings for remote developers in your organization. The clockwise is essentially a smart calendar that helps in optimizing your workflow so that the right resources are allocated to the important tasks and projects. These are some of the best practices and tips that can help you manage the time zones of different employees from around the world effectively and efficiently. Let us analyze a few of these applications, their features and functionalities, and how these tools can be useful for managing developers from across the world.

  • New hires meet with people across the company to learn about our different teams.
  • You might not know everyone who needs to be aware of something or whose help you’ll need, but if you work in public, you increase the odds that they’ll see it.
  • In this case, you’ll have to constrain your hiring to specific regions or time zones.
  • Like most factors in remote work, time zone management depends on how each company chooses to deal with the spectrum of time zone differences, as well as the tradeoffs they want to make.
  • Given that after my day, the other person’s day would start, there was no room to skip a beat.

It can be used by the teams as well as solo programmers for tracking the working hours and boosting the productivity of the enterprise-based functions. You must have an effective communication mechanism that sets out the requirements for the team. Here it is worth mentioning that, it is not always essential to have team-wide meetings for every little task or project. The team-wide meetings should only be scheduled for high-priority and critical tasks.

Since you have employees across several time zones, a scheduled meeting time can be convenient for few, while disappointing for the rest. So, in order to offer equal respect to every individual’s time zone, try changing meeting time at regular intervals. But, did you plan on how to manage teams and different employees located in various parts of the world?

  • Real-time collaborating sometimes isn’t as productive as we like to think it is.
  • But it also requires available management and qualitative exchanges.
  • If you’re at a loss for ideas, here are 57 virtual team-building activities, games, and ideas to boost remote employee morale in online teams.
  • I’m certainly guilty of spending way too long scrolling through feeds and panging with wanderlust, but it’s time to put that phone to a better use.
  • Whether you’re putting together a remote team, working with a digital nomad, or have officers across the world, I hope these tips and my hard-learned lessons help you out.

It’s also possible to make this something that has multiple team members working on it if you are a large enough team with a large enough need. The Uruguayan time zone is also 2 hours ahead of EST, giving U.S. companies a good opportunity to work with employees during the same working hours as the U.S. Uruguay has an English proficiency score of 509, which is higher than many other countries on our list, including Brazil and Peru. Mexico is divvied into four time zones, and three are the same as the U.S. — PST, CST, and EST. Besides similar time zones, the proximity of Mexico to the U.S. also makes it a perfect country to hire employees from. You may have to move other things around or request your employees to be available during off-hours or work hours.

Know What Time It Is

Len Markidan worked at Groove,he was keen to work the overnight or late night shifts so that he could get in some quality time with his wife, a nurse. If you’re in Denver and the person you’re asking is in Perth, waiting for approval or 100% certainty will slow every decision down by essentially a full day. At Zapier, if there’s a Slack thread about something that results in a GitHub issue or a Quip doc, we share a link in that thread. The same goes for including links to other Slack threads if an issue ended up being resolved elsewhere. That way, anyone who’s jumping in at a different time knows where the most up-to-date info lives.

But what if your remote colleague is going to see your message hours later and you’ll be out of your office by then? If they run into trouble with access, they’ll have to wait another day until they can do the work (or you’ll be receiving a late-night phone call!). This loss of productivity — and increase in frustration — can add up quickly. But if you’re working on a remote team that’s scattered across the world, it gets trickier to remember what time it is for your colleague in Germany and another in India. Sometimes, scheduling a meeting at a time that works for all timezones is easier said than done. For example, if you’re based in the U.S. and have teams in Asia and California, finding a time that fits into everyone’s schedules and usual work hours can be tricky. Expecting your teammates to be “always-on” doesn’t create the best culture and might make them feel disrespected.

But as we learned in our State of Remote Work Report , more people want to work remotely than ever before. So you may soon see team members working across borders and time zones becoming the norm. Whether you’ve built an asynchronous culture or not, the nature of working across time zones necessitates it to a degree. Another side effect of a multi-time zone team is increased autonomy. When a team can’t rely on synchronous communication, it increases the need to get work done without help.