10 Best Practices for Working Across Multiple Time Zones

The following best practices will help SMB employers navigate these challenges and reap all the benefits of remote work. Many business leaders are re-calibrating and tailoring their operations to best support a dispersed workforce. Here we’ll explore several tips for SMB leaders and managers to accommodate employees working across time zones.

  • Research firm Global Workplace Analytics estimates that workers save between $600 and $6,000 per year by working from home at least half of the time.
  • Communication is essential in any team, but it becomes more important when working with teams in different time zones.
  • Read our guide on remote collaboration to learn how to overcome these challenges.
  • Determine which meetings are work-related and mandatory and which are more cultural or social.
  • Furthermore, it reduces barriers to asking questions, getting help, and taking risks.

However, it’s becoming increasingly hard to argue against the benefits of remote work. Yes, there are challenges but the benefits ultimately outweigh the hassle. Attempts to reinvent time zones to make them easier for everyone have failed, we just can’t come to a universal agreement. Easily communicate with your remote team in Pumble, no matter where you are working from.

Best Practices For Managing Teams Across Time Zones

If there are different time zones represented within the discussion, try to be as precise as possible regarding times and dates. When referring to a specific time, everyone reading your message needs to be aware of it. The process of synchronized communication (“sync”) allows colleagues to respond and provide feedback in real-time.

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. This is easy for teams that work with people across two or three time zones that are all next to each other.

Hire a Head of Remote

It’s possible to hire people around the globe and still have your whole team working 9-to-5 at your office’s time zone—after all, plenty of people work night shifts—but it’s not optimal. 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. We use a variety of tools at Buffer, many of which we’ve blogged about before. For synchronous, everyone-at-the-same-time communication, we use Slack for written chats and Zoom for video chats.

working across multiple time zones

Nonetheless, with thorough planning, anything can be accomplished and made to benefit every team member in the best manner. By doing all of that, you are setting the ground for a clear communication flow, which will leave no room for speculation. To do it efficiently, you must pick and set up the proper communication channel like MS Teams or Slack and identify what type of information should be disclosed and when. Furthermore, it will help if you make meeting rules that say what format should be used.

How to do product research when everyone else is in a different timezone

This ensures that no single team is forced to make constant sacrifices to stay linked. It may also cause everyone to plan a meeting across time zones when they’re the ones working unusual hours. After all, having employees working in different time zones is the equivalent of offering your organization a 24-hour workplace — with the top talent on the planet. Without the need for overtime or late-night shifts, teams can collaborate to fulfill deadlines.

  • 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.
  • It’s nearly hard to arrange everyone to meet at the same time without inconveniencing someone if you don’t have team members working in overlapping 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.
  • You can use the time to update everyone on projects and timelines so everyone hears the same consistent messaging and is able to ask questions.
  • And the vast majority of the studies came to the same conclusion – flexibility and freedom offered within the approach largely impact productivity in the virtual workplace.
  • Your team will likely get more done, and you’ll be able to provide better support for your customers—but you’ll also need to figure out how to make the world feel a bit smaller.

That might mean you can move to a city where it’s easier to start a family, or extend your “vacation” to a few months on the beach each year. You might even find time to visit some of the incredible cities on Nomad List while still contributing your all to your team. His solution was to have a coding partner, someone he’d bounce ideas off of and check in with about project progress.

As a result, you’ll be able to close any cultural communication gaps, which will lead to a more respectful and productive work environment. They were created in the nineteenth century because the world needed a unified system to keep track of time. Asynchronous communication working remotely in a different time zone (“async”) is when information is sent at separate times with a delay in between. For example, writing an email, sending a Loom video, or leaving a voice message for someone so they can respond to it whenever works best with their schedule (and yours).

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.


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