6 Best Practices for Working With Teams in Different Time Zones



But today, for many fully distributed teams and companies that have employees based in a hodgepodge of places worldwide, working across multiple time zones has become a daily reality. Businesses likely have even more schedules to juggle, with some workers awake and logging in for the day while others are just signing off. Coordinating across time zones might be tough, but it’s worth making the effort not just for work-related conversations but for fun. In any work environment building relationships fosters trust, increases collaboration, and raises productivity—but it’s especially important for remote teams. Social relationships with colleagues not only combats isolation, but it decreases barriers to asking questions, getting help, and taking risks that are crucial to growth.

Take it a step further and have everyone share a local food or drink that you might not find in other places. It’s always fun to learn something new and it’s a great way to bring people a little closer together even when they are physically far apart. With about one-third of all workers working from home in May of 2020, it was clear that the work could still get done and people could be productive working remotely in a different time zone even when they were away from their normal desks. When you can’t just have a quick chat over the coffee pot, it’s important that communication is clear and concise and empathetic. And seriously, with so many choices in how to communicate, there’s really no excuse. When you schedule a meeting with a client in a different time zone, check and double-check that you’ve done your math correctly.

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Unless there’s an urgent situation, employees should avoid contacting colleagues when they’re outside of their working hours. While it may be the middle of the day for one worker, it may be midnight for another, and frequently sending work messages at an inconvenient hour can result in burnout and stress. Likewise, employees should inform their manager and teammates about the best way to reach them outside of working hours if an emergency arises.

  • Benefits and perks are important to millennials and Generation Z. Flexibility ranks at the top of the list of wants when job searching.
  • Successfully working across time zones requires leaning into async practices and remote collaboration tools, as well as building and nurturing relationships across different time zones.
  • “If you’re clear about why you can’t work every hour of the day across all timezones, teammates will understand that. Just make sure you propose alternatives,” says Nataly Kelly, HubSpot’s VP of Localization.

To see which one has options that are appealing to you and your team, compare the pricing structures, the number of users allowed, and available features. Most options have a free trial that will allow your team to try it out and see what they think. There are simply too many project management apps available on the market to pick just one to feature. Each has distinct features and benefits, so you can compare a few to see what fits your needs best.

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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. A 2020 Statista study shows 73% of respondents reported feeling more efficient working outside the office. A general lack of distractions, in addition to reduced commute time and the overall comfort of the home or other chosen work environment, have made the significant productivity boost possible.

working across multiple time zones

For example, you should always reserve a place separate from your bedroom, try to maintain a routine, take breaks, etc. Messages are clear and easy to grasp at a glance with just one simple emoji. These are also useful when your teammates don’t all speak the same language. Tasks can be assigned, materials (such as spreadsheets, mockups, and slides) can be added, and deadlines can be defined. Team members will be aware of their responsibilities, effortlessly pick up duties, and leave comments/updates for their teammates to address throughout their shifts. The tool shown above is one that our awesome developer Dan made just for Buffer, and it helps us all a ton to know what’s going on with any teammate at a glance.

Be mindful when scheduling meetings across time zones

In fact, by 2022, Gartner predicts that 75% of businesses with diverse frontline decision-makers will exceed their financial targets. You’re off-duty, but one of your team members in another country just messaged you with a question. Getting pinged after hours—and feeling the uncertainty https://remotemode.net/ of whether you should respond now or wait until your own working hours—is a situation that Michael Filippo, Head of International Sales at Revelo, commonly faces. With the remote first work culture spreading across the globe, many companies have employees scattered all over the world.

working across multiple time zones

To successfully utilize key principles of asynchronous communication to their advantage, distributed teams need to prioritize efficient, written communication. When working on a report, for example, globally distributed teammates won’t necessarily have the opportunity to ping a coworker and get the missing info right away. This is why it’s paramount to keep detailed written records of all the processes and projects. Also, ensure every person involved has the right admin access to avoid late-night calls, hold-ups, and rescheduling. As much as it’s important to keep a strong bond between remote coworkers through continual communication and real-time collaboration, there’s also a strong case for the asynchronous, no-distraction work. We’re familiar with the premise that it takes around 25 minutes to resume your workflow flow after an interruption.

Project Management Apps

If you do need to schedule something during off-hours, check first to make sure it is okay. To learn more about key aspects of working with international or remote teams, check out these blog posts on hosting virtual meetings, working with global teammates, and international communication tips. Being part of a global team comes with a host of advantages—from learning from each other’s culture to numerous cross-learning opportunities. However, having colleagues in all time zones makes it difficult to keep track of the time and create boundaries. In this blog, I will talk about a few ways in which you can manage communications with colleagues in different parts of the world, making working across multiple time zones easier.



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