Navigating Remote Work Across Time Zones: Best Practices & Essential Tools Remote Work Guides, Tips, and More
Navigating Remote Work Across Time Zones: Best Practices & Essential Tools Remote Work Guides, Tips, and More

Many remote companies go the extra mile these days and provide a stipend for a standing desk, ergonomic chair, and other essential office gear. And if your team travels frequently, know that there are flexible-term rentals you can book specifically designed for remote workers. Imagine a virtual library where documents and resources are neatly categorized, waiting to be explored. This hub becomes the foundation for collaboration, making it easy to access information and encouraging knowledge sharing. Whether it’s a cloud storage system, a project management platform, or an intranet, this centralized database is a valuable tool for making information easily available to everyone.

  • Asynchronous communication is important to be inclusive across time zones and schedules, to make sure we hear from introverts, too, and to make sure everyone gets time to focus.
  • It’s a great way to get a conversation going and have a single spot for Q&A and feedback on different ideas.
  • Some may be open to having teams located all over the globe and others may benefit from coverage around the clock.
  • Before you schedule a Zoom chat, think about whether you can achieve the same outcome by sending a public Slack message or asking people to comment on a shared document.
  • The user-friendly interface is simple to download and easy to get started with minimal effort.
  • There is no silver bullet here — just lean more into the tools that your team already uses.
  • People can make the choice to have their cameras and microphones on or off depending on the situation.

And, as team communication is directly correlated to productive collaboration, it can lead to unnecessary delays, missed messages, and an overall drop in productivity. The actual time difference poses one of the biggest barriers to effective communication across distributed teams. Let’s get a closer look at what working across time zones entails and how you can adopt better strategies to accommodate the demands of a globally distributed team. It’s tough to keep the collaboration and team spirit high with one team leaving the virtual office just as another is starting their workday.

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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. If a meeting or event calls for certain colleagues to wake up early or stay up late, try to make up for the inconvenience in some way. You could give colleagues who have to stay up late an hour off the following morning or expense coffee and donuts for those coming into the office early. Alternatively, try giving colleagues three days per week on their home time zone’s schedule and two per week on another team’s schedule.

  • In your remote developer job, you can use the tools and practices that are the best fit and make working remotely a pleasurable experience for everybody.
  • Working across time zones brings unique challenges rarely encountered within the more traditional work models.
  • Even with a smaller difference, the morning and late afternoon meetings can be really challenging for some, especially if they are managing a family and multiple schedules.
  • Although it can get challenging at times to manage a geographically dispersed team, there are still many more benefits to the approach.
  • But, despite all the benefits of having a diverse global staff, companies are still trying to figure out how to work successfully across different timezones.
  • 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.
  • Let’s explore how to identify team member locations and time zones and establish a master time zone reference that serves as a compass for your global workforce.
  • One of the first and easiest things you can do to make asynchronous communication smooth is to set your working hours, and to make those hours easily discoverable to your teammates.

Aside from specifically discussing timezone-related needs and boundaries as needed, you can also mark your standard work hours on a team calendar -- while encouraging colleagues to do the same. While creating processes that allow employees to work in different timezones is logistically beneficial, on a deeper level, it also makes it easier for diverse global talent to join your team. That’s why the last important strategy that works for us as a remote team is to get together in person often.

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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. They enable efficient collaboration, document sharing, task management, and progress tracking. For teams struggling to make heads or tails of time zones, you can add working hours for each person so it’s clear what times overlap for meetings and phone calls to be scheduled. This wouldn’t need to be a daily task, but maybe just pick one day and everyone enter it so there is a visual the whole team can use until they get the hang of it. To maximize their procedures and general culture, internationally distributed teams typically choose asynchronous collaboration as their preferred approach. This is not unexpected considering that the adaptability of asynchronous collaboration is the appropriate solution to the issues of time zone management.

best practices for working across time zones

Let’s get a more detailed look at what types of teams are leading the way in working across time zones. Be clear which meetings are mandatory and work-related and which are more social or cultural appointments. This allows colleagues across time zones to manage their schedules, knowing that they won’t be wasting time on a casual chat that could have been spent working productively or catching up on sleep. SMB leaders should be mindful about choosing the communication methods that work best for their company overall, and managers should do the same when it comes to how best to communicate with their individual teams. The main project management tools include Trello, Basecamp, and Asana, which keep track of what everyone is working on as it progresses through the pipeline.

Foster a Culture of Flexibility and Empathy

A common drawback to managing a team that operates across time zones is the lack of space for sharing insight about work progress. The already limited communication opportunities leave no room for staff to share what they’re working on, talk about ideas, or future plans. This can leave employees feeling their work is being overlooked, and potentially affect their career advancement as it doesn’t allow enough insight into their effort and contribution. Diversity working remotely in a different time zone and inclusion drive innovation and positively impact overall business targets within remote companies that span across time zones. Organizations employing culturally diverse staff, especially in the higher management positions, tend to escape the echo-chamber effect and conformity since they are exposed to multiple perspectives and viewpoints. Understandably, this approach largely supports innovation and ultimately leads to more profit in the long run.

These tools streamline the process by eliminating the need for back-and-forth communication to find suitable meeting times. On the other hand, asynchronous communication, such as email or project management tools, enables team members to collaborate at their own pace and reduces the need for constant availability. Team members will adapt quickly to any of the communication tools you choose, but even if they are chatting via Slack all day, it’s important to have some time set aside once a week or twice a month to check in. People communicate differently when in a group setting like a video conference and it can improve the overall team dynamics.

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