Working Across Time Zones Can Be Tough Heres How To Manage

At Hillsdale College Jacqueline studied Latin, a discipline which cultivated her detail-oriented, organizational skills that she now brings to the Employee Benefits department. Anne has been with CIA Insurance and Risk Management since 1989. She processes many back office functions, including Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable, as well as manage internal reporting and coordinate licensing for carriers and agents. Tim is originally from Interlochen, MI, but now resides in Ferndale, MI. Outside of CIA, Tim enjoys reading Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels, and is an avid golfer and international traveler.

To learn more about tools and software that can help global and remote teams, check out this helpful list. Plus, setting a shared goal and outlining what you hope to accomplish are some of the best practices for leading effective virtual team meetings. One of the perks of working remotely is the ability to create your personal work from home schedule. If employees don’t create clear work boundaries, they risk burning out, which negatively affects the entire team’s productivity, creativity, and collaboration. In a team working from multiple time zones, communication can’t always happen simultaneously. There’s no room to clarify what you meant in real-time, and you don’t have the luxury of reading someone’s facial expression or tone of voice.

How To Facilitate Communication & Meetings Across Time Zones

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best practices for working across time zones

Check out our remote jobs, leverage our remote company database, or sign up and create your free company profile. Ideally, your company will set up Google Drive, Dropbox, or whatever file-sharing system you use so files are automatically accessible to the entire company. If they can’t access the file, they’ll have to wait for you to be online again. This can lead to increased frustration and lower productivity. Remote collaboration is difficult and productivity can halt if digital tools fail. Read our guide on remote collaboration to learn how to overcome these challenges. This leads to a better run company, less stress, and higher quality work.

Fun Not Cheesy Ice Breaker Games & Activities Your Employees Will Enjoy In 2022

You can also schedule email blasts to coworkers using email platforms like Gmail. Scheduling a meeting or planning a project is definitely easier when you actually know if your colleagues are out for lunch or just had their morning coffee. We find a consultative process is most effective for companies with 50 or more employees and a rapid process is more impactful for companies with fewer than 50 employees. Simple practices can have a big impact on getting to know the other members of your team. Create channels for casual conversation and shared interests such as vacation stories, book club, home improvement projects, or weekend recaps. Recognition is not always easy because we may rarely, if ever, see our team while they work—which makes the recognition even more meaningful.

An employee ID is a unique numeric identification code set by your employer. You can use this ID to clock in and out on a time clock terminal.

Not to mention that if all time zones are covered, then the company can serve its customers 24/7 without the need for late-night shifts. This is why study after study after study has shown remote workers to be more productive than their in-office colleagues.

Top 10 Remote Work Challenges And How To Overcome Them

Use it to hold your all-hands meetings, daily standups, and video calls to maximize the team’s productivity. This overlap might require sacrifice from team members, but it’s critical. When you prioritize clear agendas, communication, smart hiring, and workflow application, you can take many unnecessary meetings out of your daily work schedule and don’t shed even an ounce of productivity. You don’t want to bombard your employees with messages late at night or early morning.

Christine leads marketing operations at Arc, where her areas of expertise include marketing strategy, remote management, cross-cultural management, and strategic communications. Engineering teams, in particular, requiredifferent types of meetings along various stages. At the same time, whenever you’re in a meeting you’re technically not getting anyfocusedwork done. When working with people in different countries or from different cultures, there’s bound to be some cultural and language barriers. For example, slang and colloquialisms may confuse team members who aren’t from the same area as you. This is a free and simple tool for macOS (other platforms “coming soon”) where you can see a list of people, their locations and current time where they are.

They’ll also get notified if they’re reaching out to you outside of office hours, which can be helpful if you don’t care for your phone buzzing in the middle of the night. You can do this on the web by clicking on your profile picture , then choosing Edit profile.

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Therefore, I didn’t want to miss them for anything, driven by the fear that my team might be wondering what I was up to if not delivering on my communicated plans. Set up guidelines, tech, and communication expectations with your team. With time and practice, I became better at noticing those feelings creeping up and found ways to engage myself and my energy elsewhere. So, lean in towards friendliness when using your communication tool of choice. The digital age brought with it the ability to receive immediate responses. I think for all of our health, we need to cool this expectation. That smartphone in your pocket is good for so much more than Candy Crush, selfies, and Instagram.

best practices for working across time zones

You can start by setting how notifications work inside individual apps, or even turn on the Do Not Disturb mode on your phone altogether. On iOS, choose Do Not Disturb from Settings, and if you haven an Android device, pick Sound and vibration, then Do Not Disturb from Settings. 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 can look back later and catch up. Make sure that those who can’t attend the meeting have the opportunity to ask questions ahead of time. When you send out your meeting agenda , ask for those people to send their questions and talking points in advance, and read them out at the top of the meeting. Remote and global employees know they need to be flexible, but still, managers struggle to get team members on the same schedule.

Plan Meetings In A Smarter Way With World Time Buddy

Their time – even though it’s the middle of the workday for you and it feels normal. In everything, from setting deadlines to scheduling meetings, specify the time zone to avoid confusion, errors and setbacks. Reassess what constitutes a successful meeting in a working environment with dispersed employees in different time zones. working across time zones For example, evaluate the duration and size of typical meetings. If there is a certain block of time in which all employees are working and availability overlaps, consider designating those as core meeting hours. For example, if you have employees across the country, perhaps the middle of the day is best for meetings.

best practices for working across time zones

There is no one technology that does everything we need, so we use many of them for different purposes – including Google Drive, DropBox, Spark, and Murally. We have fully adopted Murally as a team in the last year and it has dramatically improved our team’s collaboration. We are now turning for a second time to a collaboration tool called Sococo. Team TimeZone is a web app that allows you to manage your remote team across different time zones. You can effortlessly view your team’s time zones and can create a time zone planner accordingly. It can easily be integrated with Slack to better visualize your teammate’s working hours, time overlaps, and online status. It is an excellent tool to better understand your team distribution across time zones.

Plus, even though we joke about wearing your PJs to meetings, there’s a lot more weight in professionalism in meetings as a remote team member. If you have to be “on” at all, then it should be during those calls with your team.

  • If the receiver had any questions, even trivial ones, they had to wait several hours to get an answer.
  • In this day and age, offices seem to have no barriers, so you may have colleagues or clients living in different time zones.
  • You get a detailed view of your team’s locations, time zones, and working hours that make the entire process of planning and scheduling your meetings.
  • That meant meetings were the first thing on my calendar at 5 am and the last thing on my co-workers’ schedules at the end of the day.
  • 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.
  • Explain that you have a particular schedule in order to function as productively as possible, and your available hours for meetings are X, Y and Z.

You might also set specific guidelines for response turnaround times depending on which internal communication channel you’re using. From the beginning of Katherine’s career, she chose jobs that allowed her to work remotely because she wanted to search for opportunities outside of her central location. This exposed her to the capabilities of remote teams early on, making location independence a constant job requirement. She promotes having the freedom to work from anywhere with autonomy for a healthier and more fulfilled life. Set aside designated team meeting days and times when employees have overlapping availability, and rotate the timing of recurring group meetings for fairness.

Managing A Team Across 5 Time Zones

Many Heads of Remote will spend time in both worlds, improving the internal experience while advocating for remote-first beyond the organization. Start by culling synchronous communication like daily stand-ups and instead move toward written status updates. You’ll be amazed by how much can be replaced by a written memo or message. Working in an office is filled with impromptu moments that break up your day, many of which are unwanted distractions. Other moments, like grabbing lunch with colleagues, are a great way to break up the day. Fewer interruptions leads to more deep work, which can dramatically increase productivity. Deep work, a term coined by Cal Newport, is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.

In working with distributed teams in different time zones, you have to be prepared to be flexible, accommodating and always on top of changing clocks, global holidays and miscalculations. With all the apps and tools available, the time zone difference can create plenty of confusion among employees working across time zones. Finally, a successful asynchronous collaboration calls for a set of functional tools to seamlessly tie all autonomous teams and operations together. Using a single, multifunctional tool such as Pumble, to streamline diverse conversations and collaborative projects across time zones can increase overall productivity by 30%. Teams operating across time zones require a unique set of functionalities specifically customized to meet the needs of the asynchronous workforce. When assessing team chat and collaboration apps for your distributed team, look for features that allow flexibility, autonomy, seamless collaboration, and transparent availability status options. While you still want to be cognizant of others’ time zones, setting one official time zone for your company can help alleviate confusion.

See how to overcome challenges of communicating across time zones, and working with dispersed teams while working remotely or freelancing. That way, they’ll be able to keep the project moving along once they’re back online, or have enough information to know a face-to-face meeting is needed. One of the first and easiest things you can do to make asynchronous communication smooth is to set your working hours, and to make those hours easily discoverable to your teammates. Some apps like Google Calendars even serve a warning if you inadvertently try to book something outside of working hours. The best way to be mindful of different time zones is to disregard time entirely and rely on asynchronous communication. By setting a clear expectation that communication won’t happen in real-time, you can take the pressure of people in different time zones to be “on-call”. 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.

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