There are certain disadvantages or challenges that come with having a team across time zones. While remote work has its benefits, time zone differences can make the employee management difficult without the right tools and processes in place. However, more people than ever before desire to work remotely these days.
Team members will be aware of their responsibilities, effortlessly pick up duties, and leave comments/updates for their teammates to address throughout their shifts. Widely used options like Google Calendar and Calendly automatically display available dates for all parties working remotely in a different time zone involved. Once everyone has chosen a date, the app will tally the results so that the host can decide whether to push through with the meeting. Whether you’re working different shifts or clocking out early, sharing changes with your schedule is your responsibility.
Inform Third Parties About Your Location Right From the Get-Go
Similarly, if a hiring manager in California gives a Dublin-based job candidate an interview time without noting EST or PST, the job candidate might log on for a video interview at the wrong time. Use this article as your guide to overcome these challenges and you’ll be well on your way to building strong relationships across time zones. Synchronous communication (“sync”) is when discussions are conducted in real-time, allowing for immediate responses and feedback between colleagues. This can be through phone calls, video chats or even using an instant messaging platform like Slack or Microsoft Teams.
But when working with a distributed team, communicating takes more effort. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you organize your team and schedule your projects around the time zones of everyone on it. Cultural values have a significant impact on hiring approach, attracting individuals who share similar beliefs and rejecting those who do not. Not everyone will be pleased with our principles, and that is just fine.
Collaborating Across Different Time Zones: 5 Best Practices and Tools for Greatness
Giving everyone what they need improves their ability to execute tasks alone and without seeking assistance. Everyone will have everything they need to get up and running as soon as they sign in for the day, regardless of what time it is.
What are the advantages of different time zones?
- Access to a global talent pool.
- More diverse and inclusive workplace.
- Increased productivity driven by deep work.
- Improved operations and documentation.
- Collaboration and communication difficulties.
- Narrow meeting windows.
- Encourage work-life balance.
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. Sure, a team brainstorming session is most effective over a video conference, however, a general weekly update doesn’t necessarily require a 5 a.m. Let’s outline all the key steps companies can take to better manage working across time zones within the asynchronous collaboration framework.
How teams can best manage working across time zones
Or, this could mean that you develop a virtual team meeting schedule that fits within everyone’s active work hours — rather than making some teammates call in late at night or in the early morning. 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. It takes extra effort for remote teams to stay on task without face-to-face communication. Teams working remotely and across time zones lack the spontaneous chats in-office coworkers are accustomed to.
- For example, if a Boston-based marketing manager gives a California-based blogger a deadline for “9 a.m. Monday,” it might be hard to determine whether the deadline was for 9 a.m.
- Tasks can be assigned, materials (such as spreadsheets, mockups, and slides) can be added, and deadlines can be defined.
- To avoid team blockers related to timezones, one thing Susanne Ronnqvist Ahmadi, HubSpot’s Vice President of International Marketing, says you should aim to have a flexible schedule at certain points of the day.
For example, if someone works in Australia while another is located in the United States, it may be difficult to attend a meeting at the same time unless the Aussie gets up pretty early in the morning. Managing different time zones, language barriers, and cultural differences can be frustrating. The main project management tools include Trello, Basecamp, and Asana, which keep track of what everyone is working on as it progresses through the pipeline.
You can avoid misunderstandings by making your office hours visible in your email signature, work chat profile, LinkedIn account, and Google profile. Even though we’ve tried to reinvent time zones, we still can’t agree on a universal system. “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. Meanwhile, if you’re not working in the same country as your broader team, “don’t be afraid to ask for meetings that are outside of others’ timezones.” 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. There’s no need to wait for a conference call or meeting to start talking when you work together from the same office.
Making adjustments on your end will make you look professional and gracious, leaving your partners with a positive impression of you. There are ways to combat the difficulties of working across time zones that can be adopted as part of constructing a good working culture as a developer. There’s a lack of social and human interaction during working hours which can be needed for anyone to boost their productive working mood as no man is an island. However, it is well worth taking the time to have fun as well as talk about work. Calendar searches the open time slots in your connected calendars when you need to schedule a meeting. Adding or removing times and selecting meeting length are customizable options.
Bonus tip: Decide which time zone to use.
An enormous amount of effort is needed to overcome this particular downside of global remote work. Your availability can be emailed to meeting attendees once you’ve made your preferences. By clicking on a time, they can reserve it, and Calendar will add it to your calendar and email the meeting attendees. Real-time information and context shouldn’t be limited to one-off videos and screen captures.