Working remotely across time zones is hard, but it doesnt have to suck : Daylight

One of our challenges as a team is to strike the right balance between synchronous and asynchronous communication. Using these tools to keep time zones top of mind makes sure that all team members have an equal opportunity to work smarter, not harder, and that they can engage or disengage when they want. The name “instant” suggest live synchronous communication, but asynchronous communication is still a big part of using instant messaging tools like Slack, MS Teams, and Flock. Remote working isn’t automatically a freer way to work—it can be just as stressful as any 9-to-5 job. Teach your remote team to be flexible about time, though, and everyone’s lives will be easier.

This advice could apply to more folks than those with out-of-time zone colleagues. Sometimes people might be on vacation, or they couldn’t make a meeting for some reason or another. Working across time zones is like having a morning person and a night owl together on a long road trip. If both of you take turns behind the wheel, you’ll get to your destination much faster (not to mention much safer). Rather than have your colleagues do time-zone math every time there’s a deadline, clarify what “end of day” really means.

Post an End-of-Day Summary in Your Team Chat

When referring to a specific time, everyone reading your message needs to be aware of it. Suffice it to say, when working with teammates in different time zones, finding a good time for a meeting is a constant battle full of compromises. Check out the Collaboration Superpowers podcast for the latest stories of remote teams doing great things.

working across time zones

Here are some time management tips you can use to stay on top of your schedule. Even though you should still be aware of the time zones of others, setting one official time zone for your company can help reduce misunderstandings. You should immediately let people know what time zone you live in. When introducing yourself, let your colleagues know your schedule and preferred communication channels. Give an example of a situation when you’re able to be contacted — even though you’re off-the-clock.

Be mindful of international employees when scheduling meetings.

A great way to introduce a more async, documentation culture is to build an employee handbook. 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. 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.

working across time zones

Read our guide on remote collaboration to learn how to overcome these challenges. This is why study after study after study has shown remote workers to be more productive than their in-office colleagues. By embracing different time zones, you can build a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

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Teams can help enable distributed employees by providing a discretionary budget for tech like noise-canceling headphones, microphones, high-quality laptops with cameras, and high-speed Internet access. Having the right kind of gear empowers remote employees to actively participate in the conversation—to literally be seen and heard. We’ll email you 1-3 times per week—and never share your information.

How do you manage tight deadlines and urgent matters when your colleagues work in different time zones?

  1. Prioritize effective communication.
  2. Embrace asynchronous collaboration.
  3. Be mindful when scheduling meetings across time zones.
  4. Consider setting one official time zone.
  5. Mind the cultural norms.
  6. Encourage virtual watercooler chats.
  7. Plan occasional get-togethers.

We also have a lot of tools for asynchronous, everyone-at-their-own-pace communication, including Threads, Trello and Paper. In these tools, we can log what we’ve done, what we’re doing or questions and comments we have and know that other team members can read and comment later on their own schedule. We’ve noted time zone converters like World Time Buddy in our list of the best apps for travelers and remote workers because it is so crucial. Don’t forget that just because meetings are in a different time zone doesn’t mean your distributed employees shouldn’t get the same perks as employees in HQ. If you’re catering lunch for a lunch and learn in the office, consider sending distributed employees gift cards or letting them expense whatever mealtime it is in their time zone during that meeting.

It can be challenging to keep track of how your projects are going and how your team members are performing when you are many miles apart. You can model good behavior and lead by example here, too—if you get a work-related message late at night, consider leaving it until the following morning. The methods you use are far less important than keeping an open line of communication with everyone in your team. You must make sure your team members know that they can come to you with any problems or questions, and that you are there to help and support them. My default is to use email for all my professional communication.

  • But many of the skills you may have learned from managing on-site teams also apply here.
  • Ensuring some overlap is definitely another crucial step to building your cross-time zone plan.
  • Real-time information and context shouldn’t be limited to one-off videos and screen captures.
  • Need the best tips for working with clients in different time zones all over the world?
  • Teams can use Slack for better communication, which will also assist you overcome the disadvantages of a remote working team.
  • And we simply can’t squeeze the world and bring time closer together.
  • Meetings can be set up according to each manager’s personal time zone, leaving everyone scrambling to come up with their own time zone.
  • Building relationships is vital for any thriving business, even for teams in multiple time zones.

For more on making meetings as productive as possible, see our guide to managing meetings when working remotely.’s World Clock Meeting Planner won’t win any design awards, but it makes time shift scheduling straightforward. You pick the cities where everyone lives, and the date for your meeting, and it’ll show in green, yellow, and red the times that are best, not too bad, and terrible for everyone. To work effectively with a time shift, you’ll also need to work in public. In other words, communicate, and make sure everyone knows what you’re working on. Whether it’s just a team check-in or something more collaborative, meetings will always be a thing.

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Make it easy to figure out everyone’s time zones by a quick glance. Using Outlook or Google calendar to schedule meetings will typically automatically adjust the meeting time for each participant. Try Every Time Zone to super quickly see what time it is where all your coworkers are located.

How does time work in different countries?

As the planet rotates, some places receive sunlight or darkness, resulting in day and night. As the Earth rotates into the sunlight, you'll see the sunrise, whereas rotating out of the sunlight is where you see the sunset. The Earth's rotation is the primary cause why countries follow different time zones.

Team building might be easily overlooked or pushed to the side when working across time zones. Building relationships is vital for any thriving business, even for teams in multiple time zones. ” Within these documents, team members can specify hours for deep work, family obligations, and learning opportunities; keep firm boundaries around their work hours; and designate meeting-free days.

But there were times that I really struggled with the time zone difference. Team members understand that finding the most efficient and effective methods of collaboration are necessary. At Upstack, we use tools that aid us with collaboration and asynchronous communication.

  • “If I planned well, we’d find magic in going to bed frustrated by a missing puzzle piece, and waking to find it in our inbox. It was like having a friend in the future.”
  • 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.
  • Overcoming language and cultural barriers is paramount to successfully implement teams that are distributed across a different time zone.
  • It might work out great for you, if you like to work nontraditional hours anyway.
  • 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.
  • Be open to these adjustments, as they can help create a more harmonious and productive work environment.
  • The methods you choose will depend on the project and what makes sense for your team.
  • Before COVID, members would fly over to the location considered home base.