How To Manage A Remote Team Across Multiple Time Zones

However, some challenges can present themselves in a remote work environment. If team members are spread out over states or even countries, working across time zones can get tricky. We’ve got a few etiquette rules to help you take this challenge head on and work effectively across time zones. ScheduleOnce is a cloud-based scheduling solution that allows you to manage interaction not only with your internal employees but also with your clients or customers.

Gone are the days where you just need to know Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones. Aside from calendars, it also just takes more effort to stay connected with the team in general. This is especially true the smaller your team is as it may be more uncommon for members to be in the same time zone. As a result, you may find yourself pulled in many different directions. Be as considerate with your own schedule as you are with your teammates’. Ensure that you have your boundaries set in place, but aim to have a few hours each day that remain open. Before sending a resource to your international teammates, read through it from their perspective and ask yourself what questions they might have.

Tech Tips For Working With People In Different Time Zones

Asynchronous communication requires people to write clear, complete, yet concise messages. People should have everything they need to get started on a task or request ASAP. Get everyone using the same channels to keep conversations centralized, organized, and accessible.

  • Leverage collaboration technologies that show workers’ availability and enable spontaneous chats easily.
  • 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.
  • Teams operating across time zones require a unique set of functionalities specifically customized to meet the needs of the asynchronous workforce.
  • He has found great satisfaction in the development of long-term relationships with clients as well as employees.
  • It allows you to have better visibility of your team member’s time zone without having to Google every time.

GitLab’s handbook is one of the most famous examples of how to build a fantastic employee manual and distributed workplace culture. At 2,200+ pages, it’s thorough, transparent, even allowing people who don’t work at GitLab to contribute. If you are providing information, invest the additional time upfront to answer any questions or solve any issues you think the person may have ahead of time. Remind remote team members that social interaction doesn’t have to come from co-workers https://remotemode.net/ or consider offering a co-working space stipend as a remote employee benefit. Traditionally companies have relegated themselves to hiring people who live within commuting distance of their offices or at most, the same time zone. Icons/design/feather/breakout chart Marketing Advertising, digital marketing and brand management jobs. If you need to set up an in-person meeting, use meeting scheduling software or something like Doodle to find the best day for everyone on your team.

Ask: How Can We Do This Asynchronously?

Always include a specific time and the time zone when you request a response from team members. In addition, employees who aren’t as familiar with the company’s preferred language may find it easier to communicate via a written format. Therefore, they may be more likely to participate in an asynchronous discussion. Great Place to Work showed “stable or even increased productivity levels after employees started working from home” during the COVID-19 pandemic. And you can set reminders and automate various tasks using Slackbot as well.

best practices for working across time zones

An employee handbook is a written document that outlines the company’s mission, culture, core values, policies, procedures, teams, best practices, and any other information employees need to do their work. The only way it can work is if you keep team meetings to a minimum, record them for those that can’t attend, and make attendance optional. If you really do need to have everyone there, try to pick a time that works for most people and then ask the remaining few if they can attend. Then the next time you organize a meeting, share the burden and make it easy for them and harder for everyone else. By embracing different time zones, you can build a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Research from McKinsey found that ethnically and racially diverse companies outperform their less diverse peers by 36% when it comes to financial metrics. In this article, you’ll learn about the benefits and challenges of working across time zones, as well as the best practices you need to follow.

Training And Managing Across Time Zones: Top Strategies For Engaging Global Teams

Let everyone put vacations and national holidays and other days when they won’t be working on the calendar. Once you have that calendar at hand, you’ll stop wondering why that developer hasn’t responded to you in over two days.

  • If you elect to have one, you’ll have to cover employees’ travel and accommodations.
  • Even after having an initial conversation, you should also speak up if you’re having issues attending many meetings in multiple timezones.
  • Don’t miss out on the latest tips, tools, and tactics at the forefront of customer support.
  • Adopting an official time zone means everyone will set and communicate meetings or deadlines with the same time zone, regardless of where they’re located.

This respect is so key to maintaining work-life balance across time zones, and making sure that everyone is communicating in a productive way. Zapier are on a mission to make automation easy and accessible to everyone at work. With over 400 remote employees spread across 30 countries, Zapier is one of the largest fully remote companies. They know what they’re doing and write great guides on how to get the most out of remote work. While it may seem overkill to hire a person solely dedicated to this, it’s a mistake to think that you can simply take what was working in the office. Or in overlapping time zones, and copy and paste it onto a truly distributed team. This is foundational to working in a distributed team spread across time zones where quick check-ins aren’t feasible.

Common Mistakes When Working With A Dispersed Team

Between San Francisco and Seoul, Seoul decided to start their day earlier than usual at 8AM and San Francisco often adjusted by working until 7 or 8PM to create an overlap of at least 3 hours. Trying out the adjusted schedule is crucial as it may or may not be sustainable. Be honest to your own physical energy levels and suggest adjustments to the team. I joined ProductPlan in the summer of 2019, excited to sink my teeth into creating product management content. Internal customer service can help improve the employee experience at a time when workers are increasingly dissatisfied at work. HR teams have a pivotal role to play as companies navigate profound changes to their workplaces and workforces. But 1 in 4 say they don’t have the tools they need to succeed.

Ideally, these virtual spaces would inspire teams to add to the informal chat thread, regardless of the time they logged in. For one, organizations should consider setting and respecting their team’s time zone boundaries. For example, teams can create shared calendars showing their availability across different hours in a day to ensure no time zone boundaries are crossed. 🎓 To learn more about the pros and cons of asynchronous communication for remote teams, be sure to check out our in-depth guide on the blog.

If You Must Send An Unscheduled Message, Be Patient

Consistent documentation allows your team to become more self-reliant and provides an efficient flow of information to an outcome. Update with transparency.During daily check-ins or weekly meetings, transparent updates create team safety and understanding.

They should be willing to be flexible when necessary to sync with team members and get the project done. After filling in the data, you get a detailed table that clearly answers the question “what time it is there? It also creates a clear differentiation of the times in terms of normal sleeping hours, general working hours, and general non-working hours of the selected region. 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.

I try to be sensitive to clients who work a traditional 9-5 day, but I don’t always work those hours. Sometimes I’m up early and working, sometimes I’m overseas, and sometimes I work late into the evening. I try to work 40 hours within seven days, but some weeks I don’t. The luxury of being my own #girlboss is that I don’t have to hold to traditional hours. Each year I spend a few months overseas, traveling and living the backpack lifestyle. 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.

best practices for working across time zones

It might feel odd, but the space for miscommunication and misunderstanding can compound. It was a total facepalm moment, but I also learned a new tool to add to my arsenal for seamlessly working across time zones and maintaining a work-life balance while traveling the world. I spent a week in Florida working across time zones in February collecting seashells, eating the best doughnuts in existence, and reading at least a book a day. I also put in a few hours each afternoon writing and scheduling client appointments . Now I’ll be frank, I don’t like editing on a deadline because there’s only so much editing a girl can do.

Firstly, it ensures that everybody knows who is working on what, and when. This means that projects flow smoothly, things happen on time, and blockers aren’t left unaddressed. A fun way to put an exclamation point at the end of each meeting. Lately our word of the day has come from a random Cards Against Humanity card that Lesley pulls each day. If you’re having trouble logging into your When I Work account, follow the steps in this article to troubleshoot and get back into your account.

  • While it can be challenging to manage a distributed team, fully remote companies have many benefits.
  • This should include technical information about using your video platform, as well as in-house etiquette that ensures everyone has a chance to be heard.
  • Record or take notes during the meeting to share with those who couldn’t make it.
  • If you are receiving information, always assume the person has good intent.
  • You don’t want to bombard your employees with messages late at night or early morning.

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. Sometimes design terminology to describe our process differed between our own studio locations, making it hard to communicate ideas precisely. In collaborating remotely, opportunities to align among collaborators were reduced to a minimum and it turned out to be detrimental to pushing designs forward. When we used to work in the same space, we’d align on direction and process by tossing back and forth impromptu ideas and questions. 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. Group video calls wandered and dragged on for 3 or more hours.

We adopt the human-centered design process, which invites us to start with open-ended questions and be inspired by the people we are designing for. If you’re feeling like you’re always reacting, then here’s one change you can make. Add calendar events that block out “me” time on the calendar.

Working Across Different Time Zones: Best Practices & Tools

Finally, you’ll want to adopt the habit of scheduling team meetings at optimal times for everyone. This will ensure all your colleagues can attend and participate in discussions without having to be up early or stay up late. To work more efficiently with distributed teams, you need to treat your team like they are all working together in one office building. While this may not be possible, it is the mindset you need to adopt to organize your time and responsibilities. Time zones are geographical locations where people experience similar daylight hours at any given time throughout the year.

Working Across Time Zones Can Be Tough Here’s How To Do It Right

If you’ve made it this far, there’s a good chance you’re either looking to find a remote job, already working remotely, or looking to hire remote employees. GitLab might be the world’s largest fully distributed company with 1,400+ remote workers in 65+ countries. More than 30 million users and 100,000 organizations from startups to global enterprise organizations use GitLab to deliver great software at new speeds. Flexible workers hours have been proven to reduce burnout, stress levels, and psychological distress while increasing job satisfaction. They can also unlock more productivity by allowing team members to work when they’re most productive whether that be in the morning, afternoon, night, or a mix. A great way to introduce a more async, documentation culture is to build an employee handbook.

Ideally, you’ll write a memo before each meeting to help attendees know what to expect and how to prepare. You’ll be surprised how many meetings aren’t needed if you do this. Attempts to reinvent time zones to make them easier for everyone have failed, we just can’t come to a universal agreement. Eastern Standard Time covers the states in the eastern part of North America and runs from Maine to Florida, while Central Standard Time includes Texas up to Montana. Mountain Standard Time spans Utah’s Rocky Mountains all the way over to Arizona, and Pacific Standard Time includes California and Nevada to Washington State. As the saying goes in the United States, “Spring forward. Fall back.”

You’ll probably have a mix of remote team members working from home and digital nomads who travel to a new locale every three months. Whatever they choose, it’s important to respect everyone’s preferred work hours and do-not-disturb hours — and know when these occur in their time zone. Share these with the team, so everyone knows when it’s okay to dish work and when it’s not. It may take some time to determine how much crossover time is necessary for your team. For many teams, 1-2 hours a day is more than enough time to touch base via video call when used efficiently.

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