How-to Guide for Managing Teams Across Time Zones Workest

When you just need a quick answer on what the current time is in a different location, World Time Buddy is a great resource. You can get a quick snapshot around the world and can see the full world clock. You will know what the local time is if you’re trying to video chat with your coworker in Bali or Paris. If you are working with people in many regions and time zones, you can record sessions for employees to view later.

Even if you have had an initial chat, you must speak up if you have difficulty attending online meetings in different time zones. To prevent this common hurdle of working across time zones, organizations can set an official time zone for all team members to reference when scheduling meetings or setting deadlines. With a uniform time zone in place, employees can easily figure out the time difference for their location and plan accordingly. A fourth best practice for effective communication and collaboration across time zones is to foster a culture of trust and feedback for your team and yourself. This means building rapport and relationships with your team members, by showing interest, appreciation, and support, and by creating opportunities for social interaction and fun.

Be mindful of other teammates’ designated work hours.

Pick up the phone and talk it out if you need something done quickly or want your coworker to make a choice right away. In a public Slack channel, praising people who oppose efforts encourages one of our culture pillars of being challenged. Setting up the necessary structures and tools to constantly reinforce culturally acceptable norms is a major step in the right direction that many businesses ignore. Cultural values have a significant impact on hiring approach, attracting individuals who share similar beliefs and rejecting those who do not. One of the reasons a remote company like Turing’s culture is robust and our team members are so united is due to the clear nature of our principles.

best practices for working across time zones

Are you expecting team members are able to travel to the office multiple times each year? By setting clear expectations, you won’t be faced with unwelcome surprises in the future. Technology has continued to shape and develop the way we do just about everything in our daily lives. Using technology, teams are working across multiple time zones smoothly and it’s opening all kinds of doors for businesses. If you have found yourself part of a global team or even just one spread across the United States recently, we’ve got some ideas to help you work more effectively and be a great team player. Collaboration tools are powerful resources for real-time updates and seamless communication within teams or across organizations, such as Slack, Trello, Asana, Monday, Google Workspaces, etc.

Google Business Profile

A remote team’s culture is conveyed in what you think (your values) and demonstrated in how you behave every day (your actions). Companies have the luxury of leaning into shared experiences and physical venues when developing a culture in an office-based workplace. By being able to see who is working, people can save time not reaching out to those who aren’t available and adding more to inboxes. There are lots of color options, so you can assign each employee or team a certain color on the calendar. Just imagine a chatroom with all the features of texting and emailing available today and you’ll have Slack. It’s a great collaboration and communication tool for teams that are all over the place.

Managing different time zones, language barriers, and cultural differences can be frustrating. Since your overlap time in such a situation is limited, effective communication and delegation are working remotely in a different time zone the key for any sort of progress to be made. Focus on being a gardener instead of a gatekeeper, and delegate more direct mentoring and oversight to others in the same location/time zone.

Google Calendar

Or maybe you’re fully distributed, with teammates on every continent around the world. Consider the case where you hurriedly deliver a message that is ambiguous or perplexing. Before your receiver reads it throughout the course of the workday, it can take another three to sixteen hours. They’ll have to message you for further information after that and wait for your response until you go back to work. By the time they notice your second message and act, a whole day (or more!) may have passed without anything getting done.

  • But when working with a distributed team, communicating takes more effort.
  • When your team is composed of talented people around the world, you’re giving your company 24/7 service with a consistent flow of great ideas.
  • However, other departments and industries can benefit from the approach as well.

Working while traveling can be the ultimate dream, but there’s also the potential for a lot of problems. When your clients are located in a different time zone, like a really different time zone, you quickly learn how to make adjustments to your life, in order to make the relationship work. Between different time zones, dentist appointments, and vacations, people within your team will need to play catch up using your instant messaging platform every day, making it an important tool to use wisely. Once everyone’s set and communicated their working hours, make sure you’re respecting them! This respect is so key to maintaining work-life balance across time zones, and making sure that everyone is communicating in a productive way. Trello, Basecamp, and Asana are examples of project management tools that track the progress of the projects that everyone is working on.

For example, businesses should consider establishing and adhering to time zone management for their teams. Teams, for example, can build shared calendars that reflect their availability throughout the day to ensure no time zone borders are crossed. With all the apps and tools available, the time zone difference can create plenty of confusion among employees working across time zones. Asynchronous collaboration is the default workflow globally distributed teams turn to to optimize their processes and overall culture. This is not surprising, given that the flexibility of asynchronous collaboration represents the ideal response to the challenges of working across time zones. Effectively navigating remote work across time zones, remote teams can transform the world into a virtual office where borders vanish, and collaboration knows no limits.

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. To start, companies should clearly and frequently communicate their purpose – employees want to know that they’re a part of an important and fulfilling mission. Additionally, during a time when the workforce is prone to burnout, an emphasis should be put on caring about each other’s mental wellbeing. And with 94% of employees reporting that they’d stay longer at a company if it invested in their careers, providing virtual mentoring opportunities can also be beneficial. Even if they reside in a different area, employees want to feel connected to their employer.

Be aware and sensitive to the fact that you might be starting your day when someone else is ending theirs. As a freelancer and part-time digital nomad, this happens to me year-round, even when I may be in the same time zone as a client. Little did I know at the time, I booked every appointment for eastern time (Florida) when I live in the central time zone (Texas). What would normally cause late nights and a lot of unwanted stress, worked beautifully because I was overseas and eight hours ahead of the rest of the team. Setting expectations for communication is one of the biggest and most impactful things you can do to reduce frustration for asynchronous communication at every stage of the process.

If you’re working with a remote team, it might be even easier to give the time of the meeting in Coordinated Universal Time or UTC. Then, everyone who is attending the meeting will convert to their own time zone. There are benefits to both modes of communication and I like to have both for clients that I work with long-term. It’s nice to have periodic check-in meetings over the phone or video call, but I like to schedule them ahead of time and keep them to 15 minutes. If I’m in a creative mode and a client calls me, I’m all confuzzled and have a hard time answering their questions. Communicating with a remote team can happen synchronously—over the phone or video call—or asynchronously with email, Slack, or Google Hangouts chat.

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