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Working Across Different Time Zones: Best Practices & Tools

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Additionally, you might also find it hard to say no to meetings — or suggest other times — for meetings scheduled outside of your regular working hours. When you have a successful game plan, you’re regularly able to video chat with colleagues, hear their thoughts, and gain insight into what the workplace is like on the other side of the world. These benefits allow your team to work better together and can lead your international teammates to feel more included in your team’s day-to-day work. I know personally, I sometimes like to get stuck in at various points in my day for focused work without too many distractions.

  • Almost by definition, remote work tends to facilitate isolation among team members, and the matter only gets worse once we add the time zone dimension to the equation.
  • Working with a distributed team can be challenging at first because it’s difficult to build the kind of rapport that comes naturally when working in an office setting.
  • In order to avoid inconveniencing the same people repeatedly, you may want to rotate the start time.
  • And for the person that’s listening, you feel like you’re part of the team, even though you weren’t at the meeting.
  • Using a meeting productivity tool like Fellow to share and collaborate on meeting agendas, notes and action items.
  • Particularly if you don’t introduce new processes to manage a truly global team.

If you’ve made it this far, there’s a good chance you’re either looking to find a remote job, already working remotely, or looking to hire remote employees. If you are providing information, invest the additional time upfront to answer any questions or solve any issues you think the person may have ahead of time. It’s crucial that you adopt a remote-first mindset, document decisions clearly and concisely for people who are unable to attend, and record the meeting. Ideally, you’ll write a memo before each meeting to help attendees know what to expect and how to prepare. You’ll be surprised how many meetings aren’t needed if you do this.

Prioritizing asynchronous communication

If your company has remote workers all over the world, it’s wise to be aware of the cultural norms and traditions of the countries in which they work. These cultural differences can dictate the hours they work, the holidays celebrated, and even the manner in which they prefer to communicate. Showing understanding of these cultural differences can go a long way in creating a cohesive team. Make it easy to figure out everyone’s time zones by a quick glance.

tips working across time zones

The lack of physical presence makes it easier for remote workers to lose connection with their team. This can be especially challenging when working with a distributed team in different time zones. Teams that thrive working across time zones have clearly defined roles that fit the model of asynchronous work. To build a successful team that operates autonomously, companies should consider setting clear employee expectations regarding personality traits and soft skills best suited for this work model. These can be used as a reference point throughout the hiring process and as additional coaching with established teams.

How teams can best manage working across time zones

Here are some popular ways to use Slack with app automation tool Zapier to automatically share activity in your channels so everyone knows what’s going on. And that’s nice—we all need human interaction, and it’s great that you can still get that without being in the same room. “They worked the night shift while my team in Redmond worked days,” Berkun says. “If I planned well, we’d find magic in going to bed frustrated by a missing puzzle piece, and waking to find it in our inbox. It was like having a friend in the future.”

Teams you work with span across different cities and countries more than ever. You might have started working with people without ever meeting them. Also, you may find it challenging to decline meetings scheduled outside your normal working hours—or to provide other dates for meetings planned outside your working hours. Make a deliberate effort to treat your international partners nicely, especially if you like your company to flourish.

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While it may be the middle of the day for one worker, it may be midnight for another, and frequently sending work messages at an inconvenient hour can result in burnout and stress. Likewise, employees should inform their manager and teammates about the best way to reach them outside of working hours if an emergency arises. Asynchronous communication should be the norm for remote teams, especially those with personnel in multiple time zones. Remote workers and companies experience lots of benefits—cost savings, less distractions, and increased productivity, to name a few. However, some challenges can present themselves in a remote work environment.

  • It gives you this unique chance to work with people worldwide while gaining exposure to new cultures and perspectives.
  • While it can be challenging to manage a distributed team, fully remote companies have many benefits.
  • This may not always be possible, but being mindful of international schedules ensures that all employees feel included and that their time is respected.
  • Rather than working the same number of hours consecutively, split your shift into two.
  • This leads to a better run company, less stress, and higher quality work.
  • Adopting an official time zone means everyone will set and communicate meetings or deadlines with the same time zone, regardless of where they’re located.

Pick up the phone and talk it out if you need something done quickly or want your coworker to make a choice right away. A value-based culture can be seen in the actions and implementation of the business. It outlines the core vision, guiding principles, beliefs, and priorities of the working remotely in a different time zone organization as the essential driving force. More significantly, it defines who a firm is and where it wants to go in the future. Messages are clear and easy to grasp at a glance with just one simple emoji. These are also useful when your teammates don’t all speak the same language.

If they can’t access the file, they’ll have to wait for you to be online again. Traditionally companies have relegated themselves to hiring people who live within commuting distance of their offices or at most, the same time zone. Attempts to reinvent time zones to make them easier for everyone have failed, we just can’t come to a universal agreement. A remote worker must be a self-starter who can continue working without someone watching them.

  • “If you’re working two timezones that don’t overlap much, why not split your shift into two instead of doing the same number of hours consecutively?” asks Kelly.
  • So, those are some of the best practices for working across multiple time zones that can hopefully help you and your team.
  • Did you know that project management software and tools make your entire team organized?
  • Timezone messages like the one above can help you be mindful of what to send when to send it, and if your message is urgent enough to send as soon as possible.
  • We also have a lot of tools for asynchronous, everyone-at-their-own-pace communication, including Threads, Trello and Paper.
  • This means that if you need something from a global teammate, you determine how urgent the task is before sending it.

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