10 Best Practices for Working Across Multiple Time Zones

The managing partner explained that his company’s teams frequently need to collaborate across “adjacent” time zones, as well as internationally with clients in the United States and elsewhere. If your company has remote workers all over the world, https://remotemode.net/ it’s wise to be aware of the cultural norms and traditions of the countries in which they work. These cultural differences can dictate the hours they work, the holidays celebrated, and even the manner in which they prefer to communicate.

A broad team that spans multiple time zones also spans a variety of regions that often have distinctive cultures, points out Erhard. “That can be a benefit, broadening the perspectives that influence your decision-making, but it can also lead to misunderstandings and communication difficulties,” he said. Working across time zones can yield benefits for both employees and employers, from improving work-life balance to widening the talent pool for new hires. Fortunately, that flexibility can be easily accomplished through collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams, Google Drive, Slack, Dropbox, etc. Nobody said that working in different time zones is effortless, painless, and does not need sacrifices. Many business leaders are re-calibrating and tailoring their operations to best support a dispersed workforce.

Use tools to figure out time zones.

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. Pinterest Coach Laura Rike works with a team of remote employees across time zones and has done so even before the pandemic started. Rike working remotely in a different time zone believes one benefit is that the structure in and of itself lends itself well to employees setting and keeping their own boundaries around their schedule, which improves job satisfaction. With employees working in multiple time zones, it’s crucial to discuss differing schedules openly and regularly.

The Head of Remote position sits on the organization’s leadership team and is responsible for building and maintaining remote company culture and employee experience. It was first suggested by Andreas Klinger, CTO at On Deck, and pioneered by GitLab co-founder and CEO Sid Sijbrandij and Darren Murph. Working in a global team spread across time zones means embracing a remote-first, not a remote-friendly, culture. You can’t just be aware of time zones, you need to construct a company where time zones are at the core of every internal operation. While operating with time zone differences has its benefits, it’s also challenging. Particularly if you don’t introduce new processes to manage a truly global team.

Pro: You can work with the most talented people

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. Respecting teammates’ designated work hours is essential for job retention, productivity, and overall performance. Consider implementing split shifts or workdays that cater to different time zones to accommodate international teams. Embracing virtual processes and project management tools can also help teams work efficiently across different time zones. In conclusion, managing time zones efficiently when collaborating across different geographical locations can offer several advantages to organizations.

  • Then, if you want another easy way to know what time it is everywhere your team’s located, you can turn on the World clock in the Calendar Labs settings.
  • These chats are normally only 2-3 people maximum, so more often than not it’s possible to find a time that works for everyone across multiple time zones.
  • To include and respect employees from all time zones, schedule virtual meetings at a time that works for everyone.
  • Working in an office (or with the same work hours) is filled with impromptu moments that break up your day, many of which are unwanted distractions.
  • Freelance Brand and Marketing Strategist Janine Maral, who is currently based in Eastern Standard Time, has experience working remotely across different U.S. time zones as well as with global clients.

The threat of a diminished company culture is real, and many remote workers fear they’ll be left out or overlooked for professional opportunities. But there are ways SMB leaders can strengthen their remote culture and keep everyone happy. That’s also why land areas that share the same longitude with sea areas may not be in the same time zone (see “Why is the wrong time zone highlighted when I hover over the map?” above). On land, time zone boundaries are distorted by political and geographical factors, so they often don’t match the time zones at sea that are defined by their longitude. “In order for it to work you have to have a company culture that is open to non-real-time communication,” Kendall said via email.

Working Across Different Time Zones: Best Practices & Tools

Working with a distributed team can be challenging at first because it’s difficult to build the kind of rapport that comes naturally when working in an office setting. It takes extra effort for remote teams to stay on task without face-to-face communication. Being specific about dates and times when discussing deadlines and meetings with peers helps avoid misunderstandings due to time zone differences.

  • When scheduling a meeting or call with remote team members, make sure to ask them what time zone they are in so that you can account for any time difference with their local time when you schedule.
  • “Scheduling meetings and collaboration sessions can be challenging,” Erhard agreed.
  • The question will be how then do we ensure that the work environment is flexible enough for all team members across all time zones?
  • Consider everyone’s time zone when setting meeting times and try rotating times if needed.

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