Both Google Calendar and Apple Calendar let you assign time zones when you create new events. Tap the corresponding entry on your phone or the web, and the time of the events in your calendar will automatically adapt to whatever time zone you’re in.

After all, there’s only so much that can be conveyed virtually. While the digital workspace can perfectly support all the work processes, the social component takes the biggest hit in organizations promoting a remote-first work culture.

The same goes for hiring – for them, the stationary candidate is a better one. Global IT teams and customer service teams must be highly responsive to customer needs and issues. If a system goes down or a bug interrupts workflows, productivity and operations across the organization can be disrupted until it’s fixed. This can affect not only employee workflows but customer experience and satisfaction—and ultimately, your bottom line. Pay attention to the needs and preferences of your team members wherever they’re working from. Be considerate and respectful of their time when making decisions about schedules, meetings, deadlines, and the frequency and channels of communication.

Be Mindful When Scheduling Meetings Across Time Zones

Because if you don’t, it’s too easy to get stuck in time zone hell. Hosting virtual weekly “happy hours,” icebreakers, or games can help distributed teams proactively build personal connections. You can even host clubs around specific interests and encourage team members to join.

working across time zones

When you’re not in the same place with your teammates and you don’t have set work hours, one thing that becomes really important is frequent, clear communication. One of our challenges as a team is to strike the right balance between synchronous and asynchronous communication. And as our team grows and changes, we sometimes have to change and renegotiate the way we work through time zones.

Track Productivity

To curb this issue, encourage team members to build some “cushion” into their normal work schedules for check-ins or quick chats. However, when you throw various time zones into the mix, things can get a bit trickier as any questions or concerns that arise can’t always be answered instantaneously. Although working remotely requires extra effort from everyone involved, it’s not as difficult to pull off as you might think. 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. Those blocks of time are going to be crucial in helping your work and team in the long-term.

  • In the end, it was a great remote learning experience for me professionally.
  • An enormous amount of effort is needed to overcome this particular downside of global remote work.
  • For instance, if a sales rep closes a sale and hands off the client to customer service, the customer service rep needs to know the details of the sale and the previous communication the client has had.
  • Every team needs to think about what may be best for them, but you’ll want more of these checkpoints than you would need for a fully co-located team.

The difficulties of managing different time zones, language barriers, and cultural differences can be frustrating. Plus, you need to understand the differences between synchronous and asynchronous communication, and when to use each. Now speaking of meetings, if we work with global teams, not everybody can make every single meeting. But actually, recording your meetings for the people that can be there can be very useful in a number of ways. One is they actually get to see and hear the conversation themselves.

Here are some ways to work together as an effective global team. CREATE A TEAM AGREEMENT.One of the major points in the team agreement is to always talk in one time zone. So pick one and then have the entire team talk in that time zone. To do this on Gmail, create the email as you would draft any other message.

A remote team is a broad word because it can encompass a geographically dispersed group of members across time zones or a partnership with a third party such as a client or company to complete your project. Whatever the case, there is no denying that myriad challenges arise especially as regards the issue of varying time zones. Balancing a global organization with employees working from different locations from all over the world can be challenging to say the least. Nevertheless, a well-strategized work culture that successfully manages work hours of different time zones, can conclusively mark massive growth for your company. It is important to mark your standard work hours on the team calendar along with your and your employees’ time zone to avoid any confusion about work hour availability. Developing and using a management portal that displays the timeline with important time zones can help keep track of work schedules and updates and compare them to their respective time zones. Project management tools like Basecamp, Asana, and Trello are indispensable for effective asynchronous communication—and remote team collaboration in general.

Cons Of A Distributed Team

Teams distributed across the globe are scheduled so that there is always someone on the clock to provide support. Whether there’s a global crisis or not, remote workforces are not always operating on the same schedules or environments. If you are planning a team meeting, be considerate of your co-workers’ time and unique situations. For instance, parents working from home may not be readily available after school hours.

working across time zones

New hires meet with people across the company to learn about our different teams. Since we’re spread all over the world, these meetings require coordination between time zones, chats on slack, and then the final video call. The shift to remote work and the rise of outsourcing have made globally distributed teams a reality. This has numerous benefits for companies, including the potential for round-the-clock productivity and the possibility of working with top talent worldwide. Teams in traditional office settings sometimes measure productivity by how long each team member spends at their desk. But remote teams can fall into the «I’m online, so I’m being productive» trap, too.

Con: It Takes More Effort To Stay In Sync

While you still want to be cognizant of others’ time zones, setting one official time zone for your company can help alleviate confusion. If each manager is setting meetings according to their own personal time zone, that leaves everyone else scrambling to translate it to their own. 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.

To build a successful team that operates autonomously, companies should consider setting clear employee expectations regarding personality traits and soft skills best suited for this work model. These can be used as a reference point throughout the hiring process and as additional coaching with established teams. Similarly, the rest of the team should be comfortable working autonomously with minimum instruction and interference to ensure maximum productivity. Managers and decision-makers are the ones facing the harshest challenges when working with teams who operate across time zones. Along with aligning operations, other risks could seriously disrupt major processes, if left unchecked. Let’s get a better insight into the challenges of globally distributed teams to get a clearer idea of what to look out for and how to prevent any larger issues.

How Do I Manage Remote Team Members Across Multiple Time Zones?

Moreover, you can also follow the below guidelines to create a better management strategy for your newly decentralized work culture. Ideally, workers should communicate their needs and preferences from the outset so that managers and team members can empathize and accommodate their needs. Team members should keep one another informed of their schedules through auto-responders, online statuses , and the team’s shared calendar , as well as daily/weekly/monthly check-ins. In this day and age, offices seem to have no barriers, so you may have colleagues or clients living in different time zones. This is great (and almost magical—thank you, internet!), but it can also lead to headaches when it comes to staying in touch or when projects and deadlines are involved. The world is a changin’ and working across time zones is becoming more and more common for different industries. Whether you’re putting together a remote team, working with a digital nomad, or have officers across the world, I hope these tips and my hard-learned lessons help you out.

Some of the most effective meetings I’ve had with clients take just five or 15 minutes. It allows me to connect with a client, show my face, discuss pertinent details, and then move on with our day. I find these meetings to be the least disruptive and the most efficient.

Managing A Distributed Software Development Team: 5 Lessons Learned

You’ve got to be prepared to open up to your team and to be honest with them when you’re struggling. Don’t assume that they’ll spot your struggles from afar, no matter how well you know each other. Here are the benefits you can gain from incorporating distributed teams in your business and some tips on how to work across time zones.

Everyone will have what they need to hit the ground running as soon as they clock in for the day, no matter when that happens to be. An enormous amount of effort is needed to overcome this particular downside of global remote work.

Utc Time

An escalation path should also be created where there sticking issues delaying decision making. To beat the time zone conundrum you just need to organize a system where everyone is available at the time of communication. It is possible to even get long periods where such a meeting can be held and where possible you need to capitalize on this available opportunity to hold a longer engagement. For example, can you staff the most ambiguous phases of the project with a local team? Could you take care of foundational research, synthesis, and concept definition locally? Once the project and design direction are defined, you can then bring in people from other locations and get the work done in a relay-style format where people toss their work back and forth. For example, whenever our global team presented to our corporate Korean client, we found them to be not as responsive as we had expected.

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. Honey of CivicActions organizes staff to maximize shared time. “As much as possible, we group our teams so that there’s a healthy overlap in their working hours. It’s important to consider where teammates are based when sending messages and scheduling events. Ensuring meeting times are reasonable, staying informed about international holidays, and choosing how and when to send messages are just some ways to be respectful when working with an international team. Tools such as EveryTime Zone, World Clock Meeting Planner, and Google Calendar can be useful for making sense of time zones.