having It All With Teams In Multiple Time Zones

In this day and age, offices seem to have no barriers, so you may have colleagues or clients living in different time zones. This is great (and almost magical—thank you, internet!), but it can also lead to headaches when it comes to staying in touch or when projects and deadlines are involved. The post outlines how to build an effective time zone agnostic team as a company leader, people manager, colleague, and as a geographically remote person. Building an asynchronous culture can seem intimidating but you’ll need to if you plan to work across time zones.

  • Sometimes, larger meetings and formal company announcements have to occur at a certain time and place.
  • As remote work and satellite offices become more common, marketers are discovering that global teams can be incredibly beneficial to a company’s culture and ability to hire diverse talent.
  • This keeps us from asking a teammate to dive into a brand-new project if they’re just about to jump off for their evening, for example.

In a physical office setting, personalities, idiosyncrasies, and preferences come into play for both productivity and atmosphere. For a team with some remote members, it can be difficult to accommodate people who aren’t in-house. A team solely made up of delocalized employees, it can be even harder to find a rallying point for everyone. If there are certain processes where you need the participation of the employees then it should be drafted https://remotemode.net/ in your company policies and communicated with the candidates before you hire them. However, apart from that, you must have a flexible working hours policy which gives the employees the freedom of working at their convenience for getting the best results. One of the primary reasons why developers and employees from around the world prefer the remote work culture is because of the flexibility that they get about their working hours.

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When communicating with a team member who lives in a different time zone, always ask yourself if they have enough information, clarity, and access to do their work. Expecting someone to understand what you meant with little clarification can lead to misunderstanding, and in the worst-case scenario, a day of wasted work. Engineering teams, in particular, requiredifferent types of meetings along various stages.

tips working across time zones

These moments didn’t require planning, and were crucial to helping us agree and get on the same page about what needed to be done. Interactions where people feel equally immersed help build high-trust, happier, and better-performing employees. HR teams have a pivotal role to play as companies navigate profound changes to their workplaces and workforces. Some of the most effective meetings I’ve had with clients take just five or 15 minutes.

Leverage Tools To Help With Time Zone Management

Meal prepping over the weekend can assure you always have something healthy to grab when you find the time to take a lunch. That time may vary from day to day, and you should never skip a meal when you only find yourself with a spare half an hour for nourishment. Agonizing from home | Photo by Claudia Wolff on UnsplashThe first few projects we did remotely and in isolation from one another were tough. Our advice for future teams is to design an intentional strategy and process to facilitate team alignment.

Logging time on alignment calls, catchup calls, end-of-day summaries, will give you a good idea of how much to factor this in in future project plans. For example you could define distinct areas of ownership so that every member has a clear idea of what they can pursue independently without coordinating heavily with other members. For example, one member or sub-team could work on user flows and wireframes while another defines and builds a design system and visual design language.

Preparing For Distributed Work

Slack, for instance, lists each team member’s time zone, how many hours that is from your local time, and that person’s current local time whenever you click their name. That’s an easy way to double-check before expecting an immediate reply.

Another handy one, especially if you’re planning a meeting across time zones, is Every Time Zone, which allows you to toggle around to see what the time of your choosing is across every time zone. Possibly the simplest tip of all is also the one that can be the hardest to keep top of mind. Typically, we try to be mindful of what time it is for others when we use synchronous communication like video or Slack. This keeps us from asking a teammate to dive into a brand-new project if they’re just about to jump off for their evening, for example. And as our team grows and changes, we sometimes have to change and renegotiate the way we work through time zones. There are more time zone tools at TimeandDate.com, too, so be sure to check it out if you want to find local times around the world for your event, convert times for any location, and more.

Don’t fixate upon one particular day and time of the week for too long. It also helps cement the learning they’ve already acquired, as studies show that teaching material is one of the best ways to master it. The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. While you may be good at guesstimating, tools can help you get times right, every time. Forty-four percent of employees are working from home five days or more per week in the United States alone. But with the rise of remote work – and the transition to hybrid workplaces – your office likely operates a bit differently these days. Let me know if there’s anything big or a small hack that you’re doing to make your remote work and life a little better in the comments below.

This issue can be compounded when you employ a diverse team who come from different locations and cultural backgrounds, many of whom may be communicating in their second language. If you are at an office or shared network, you can ask the network administrator to run a scan across the network looking for misconfigured or infected devices.

Best Practices For Working Across Time Zones

For example, if someone has trouble accessing a file, they can ping you and you can fix it right away. IT – A no-brainer, really, especially if we consider that information technology is what made remote work possible in the first place. IT companies pioneered distributed work, long before the world got shut down by the pandemic. At first, the remote workforce offered the perfect way for companies to reduce costs until they realized additional benefits such as global talent and diversity-led innovation. When it comes to quick communication some tools, like Slack, will even give you a notification before or after you send a message stating which timezone your recipient is in.

Even after having an initial conversation, you should also speak up if you’re having issues attending many meetings in multiple timezones. Likewise, you should also encourage colleagues to communicate when they’re running into timezone blockers. These discussions will better help your team learn how to strategize and identify respectful or empathetic solutions to timezone-related challenges. As remote work and satellite offices become more common, marketers are discovering that global teams can be incredibly beneficial to a company’s culture and ability to hire diverse talent.

  • It’s a good practice to schedule the meetings only for the exchange of information that can’t be communicated over a team chat app, a document, an email, or a memo.
  • Once the project and design direction are defined, you can then bring in people from other locations and get the work done in a relay-style format where people toss their work back and forth.
  • No matter how independently you can work, and how hard you try to stay connected, you won’t be in the flow of what everyone’s doing unless you have a team chat tool.
  • If you’re feeling like you’re always reacting, then here’s one change you can make.

Throughout the workday, chat messages, physical disruptions, and a slew of scheduled meetings force employees to stop their workflow and creative mindset. When teams are dispersed, these interruptions are limited, and as mentioned earlier, they are often restricted to only necessary interruptions. In a traditional, physical office space, it is easier for a newly joined employee to adapt to work culture. This is because there are other teammates around to help guide them as needed. In contrast, in a remote work environment, you need to dedicate specific separate time to help newly hired employees understand and adapt to the work culture. It also helps increase work efficiency as you can track employee progress at your time and discuss it over a scheduled meeting. These tools also help you work on the same projects by easily coordinating with your teammates.

You can add as many as you want, and the app will show you a list of your chosen cities, the time it is there, and how many hours ahead or behind they are relative to your location. For even easier access, add the clock widget to one of your phone’s home screens. One of the best things about Help Scout is that they publish how they work and their post on how to build a globally remote team that really works is a great example.

To help your distributed workforce connect, consider facilitating live meetups when possible. Marketing – Social media marketing teams, in particular, are prone to working across time zones.

Advantages Of Working Across Time Zones

Whether you’ve built an asynchronous culture or not, the nature of working across time zones necessitates working across time zones it to a degree. Another side effect of a multi-time zone team is increased autonomy.

tips working across time zones

Shorten meetings and reassess the necessity of an employee’s attendance. Otherwise, the team can read background materials, brainstorm and complete preparation work ahead of time independently. Leverage collaboration technologies that show workers’ availability and enable spontaneous chats easily. Regularly recognize and reward employees internally for good work or special achievements, individually and in front of their colleagues. Hire people who feel passionate about their work, and give them the right tools and resources to succeed.

Free Tools

Real-time collaborating sometimes isn’t as productive as we like to think it is. So before you ask people to rearrange their schedule, make sure what you plan to discuss really warrants everyone being present. Tools like World Time Buddy and Time and Date make planning meetings easier. Just plug in your team’s current locations, and these calculators will find cross-over hours to meet . These moments will help tie your team together, making it easier to collaborate productively when remote. Synchronous communication, or communication that happens between teams in real-time, is still essential for team building, bonding, brainstorming, celebrating project milestones, and more. As we discussed in our guide on asynchronous communication in remote working environments, asynchronous communication happens “out of sync,” or not at the same time.

  • Some of the most effective meetings I’ve had with clients take just five or 15 minutes.
  • Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop and take care of a thriving global workforce.
  • Since everyone’s not stopping to chat at everyone’s desk, each instance of communication is more targeted and more worthwhile.

That’s good—after all, you’ll still want some team interaction. Neither is Silicon Valley or the city where your company is based. Some of us do our best work late at night, while others prefer to get up early and spend the late afternoons away from the desk. And while some metropolitan areas offer certain lifestyle perks, other big-city issues—like high costs-of-living—will drive potential employees away. Successfully managing a delocalized teams involves coordination skills.

Aside from allowing people to work on the same projects in different timezones, these tools allow global employees to stay on the same page about what aspects of a project have been completed. Whether you’re working in-office, remotely, or in a global office outside of your main headquarters, make sure you are open to discussing your own work hours and boundaries with your dispersed team. Similarly, invite your teammates to discuss their own work hours and boundaries so that way you all are familiar with the different timezones your everyone is working within. As someone who’s managed marketing initiatives at companies with remote employees and offices around the world, I’ve seen what successful and unsuccessful international collaboration looks like first hand. With a team in a single time zone, development comes to a standstill when the business day ends. But, did you plan on how to manage teams and different employees located in various parts of the world? Having a team spread across different countries can give you access to new markets and high business reach, but only if you can successfully manage different employees of your team; located all over the world.

Likewise, when tasks are uploaded to asynchronous communication channels, set clear expectations on working autonomously. However, when you throw various time zones into the mix, things can get a bit trickier as any questions or concerns that arise can’t always be answered instantaneously. Gone are the days where you just need to know Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones.

Tips For Working Across Time Zones

Also, remember to schedule your meetings at a time that will be convenient not only for you but also for your employees. Since you will not always be able to manage your employees in real-time, it is ideal that you clarify your expectations from your workforce at the very beginning. Scheduling and assigning a task list at the start of a week gives your employees a scope to analyze the target work beforehand.