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The pros and cons of working across time zones

Another option is to use a web-based meeting scheduler that takes into account different time zones. This can be a great option for companies with employees in different parts of the world, as it ensures that everyone can see the meeting time in their local time zone. There are a few different meeting schedulers available, so it’s important to find one that meets the needs of the company. Google Calendar is a great tool for scheduling meetings in different time zones. You can simply create an event and then select the time zone that you want it to be in.

  • So even though there’s a great distance between each other, the time zones are actually very close by.
  • For everyone to understand the different times, use a simple timezone converter tool.
  • Zapier are on a mission to make automation easy and accessible to everyone at work.
  • To learn more about tools and software that can help global and remote teams, check out this helpful list.
  • The next one is, and that is for scheduling meetings with people in different time zones.

Building an asynchronous culture can seem intimidating but you’ll need to if you plan to work across time zones. When you can’t rely on synchronous communication, you need to be able to continue working when help could be a day or two away. This is foundational to working in a distributed team spread across time zones where quick check-ins aren’t feasible. Teams that work across multiple time zones can’t rely on real-time communication. There’s no room to ask clarifying questions and you don’t have the luxury of reading a person’s facial expressions or tone of voice. This is probably the most obvious challenge of working across multiple time zones, and rightfully so.

Sync calendars with your teammates

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. Tasks can be assigned, materials (such as spreadsheets, mockups, and slides) can be added, and deadlines can be defined. Team members will be aware of their responsibilities, effortlessly pick up duties, and leave comments/updates for their teammates to address throughout their shifts. When you’re working in a distributed fashion, learning to be an effective async communicator is going to be the biggest factor in your success. Maximize your workplace performance with this free guide and set of four templates. Ultimately, most important things to embrace and keep in mind when working with team members in different timezones are respect, empathy, and inclusion.

With more & more companies adopting a remote work model, the tips & tools will help you achieve success while working remotely with teams in different time zones. Read to know more to find out the best practices and working remotely tips and tools. 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. It’s not all 9-5 anymore with remote teams, with some works preferring to wake up in the early morning to get a head start before the day begins, and others starting late but working in the evening.

Companies successfully working across time zones

Consider letting everyone on your team have a turn at having the most (and least) convenient meeting times by rotating when you meet. Messaging apps, such as Slack, allow team members to chat and have discussions easily. Take the post-meeting discussion to Slack afterward, so employees who are unable to attend (or need to immediately go to bed) can look back later and catch up.

Asynchronous communication has emerged as a preferred method for organizations operating across time zones. In addition to removing the time constraint of the traditional synchronous approach, the asynchronous method, ideally, ensures communication records remain at hand. The actual time working remotely in a different time zone difference poses one of the biggest barriers to effective communication across distributed teams. Relationships foster trust, increase collaboration and boost productivity in any work environment. Having a social relationship with colleagues does more than just combat isolation.

Know what time it is

But there are ways to tackle differences between time zones that preserve collaboration and keep communication effective. Maybe your sales team is in Chicago and your dev team is in Dublin. Maybe you’re headquartered in Sydney but work with contractors around the globe. Or maybe you’re fully distributed, with teammates on every continent around the world.

Understandably, this approach largely supports innovation and ultimately leads to more profit in the long run. In fact, one prediction by Gartner shows that  75% of companies employing diverse decision-making teams can expect to outperform their business objectives in 2022. Moreover, one McKinsey study found that the more ethnically and racially diverse companies outperform their less diverse peers by 36% when it comes to financial targets.

We can only imagine what these numbers mean for distributed teams that need to put extra effort into planning a perfect schedule that won’t disturb the regular work and sleep schedules of the people involved. Another key feature of such team chat apps is the pin option as it helps keep the important documents top of mind and easily accessible. Speaking of connection among teammates, working across time zones makes it almost impossible to keep the team spirit and social engagement up. 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.

Sometimes people might be on vacation, or they couldn’t make a meeting for some reason or another. If Slack seems awfully quiet, it might be because your colleagues in another country are celebrating a holiday. One of the ways you can keep tabs on these is by subscribing to the relevant calendars in Google Calendar. From the web interface, click the plus button next to Other calendars, then Browse calendars of interest, followed by Regional holidays. Now every time you suspect the other side of the world is busy celebrating, you can open your calendar and check if that’s the case, or if there’s some people you need to nag.

– Fewer and Better Meetings with Karin Reed

That way, the team member in Dublin doesn’t have a late meeting every week, and the team member in New York City doesn’t have an early meeting every week. Remote and global employees know they need to be flexible, but still, managers struggle to get team members on the same schedule. In the past, everyone worked in the same building, arrived and left around the same time each day and meetings were held with all members in one room. “It’s a small world after all” isn’t just a contagious Disney song; it’s a truism in today’s global environment. Companies looking for growth or cost savings are expanding internationally at increasing frequency, and technology is making it easier to do business. For an even simpler way to see what time it is around the world, check out Every Time Zone.

  • But, despite all the benefits of having a diverse global staff, companies are still trying to figure out how to work successfully across different timezones.
  • Traditionally companies have relegated themselves to hiring people who live within commuting distance of their offices or at most, the same time zone.
  • You’ll need to know which times of the day your colleague in London will be awake, and the times you’re most likely to get support tickets from your Australian customers.
  • For example, if you have a few messages you want to send, but notice it’s 9 p.m.

As a result of creating a wiki, you’ll be able to create transparency and stimulate a continuous flow of ideas and feedback. You can, however, overcome these challenges with the right tools and approaches. A remote worker must be a self-starter who can continue working without someone watching them. They must manage their time and energy wisely, which can be challenging when working from home. The best way to work remotely is by trying to replicate most of the things you’d do in an office job.

How to succeed working across time zones

A poll gives everyone on the team the chance to weigh in on times that are best for them. Polls are also not the most scalable solution, and there’s the potential that creating polls becomes extra busywork for meeting organizers. Our suggestion is to rotate the meeting time so everyone has an equal opportunity for the most and least convenient times to meet. Using Dublin, Sydney, and New York City as an example again, let’s take a look at the times that could potentially work for a team meeting.

best practices for working across time zones


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