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4 Best Practices For Managing Teams Across Time Zones

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tips working across time zones

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Instead of settling for local talent, remote workers give your company access to the best people in the world no matter where they are located. To work effectively with a remote team, you’ll need to put in the effort and build strong relationships across time zones. So, those are some of the best practices for working across multiple time zones that can hopefully help you and your team. Working and collaborating with a team with different locations and time zones can pose its own challenges compared to the traditional way that we all know. Remember that to make this way of working successful, you will need a healthy mix of flexibility, understanding, and an agile approach. Therefore, it’s reasonable to switch meeting schedules every month or quarter.

tips working across time zones

And that just helps minimize some of the mistakes that we can make when we’re scheduling time. So usually, on most teams, there are going to be one or two hours of overlap that you can have and really prioritize that time together. And one suggestion that I’ll make is in that overlap time, try to spend time on video together. When we work with people from across the globe, we often have to work at unusual times. We have to work odd hours if we want to interact with our colleagues on the other side of the world. And we simply can’t squeeze the world and bring time closer together.

Best Practices for Working Across Time Zones

It’s easy enough to understand time zones where you live, but if you’re working in a remote team spread across the world, it gets harder to remember what time it is for your team members. 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. One of our challenges as a team is to strike the right balance between synchronous and asynchronous communication. We also have a lot of tools for asynchronous, everyone-at-their-own-pace communication, including Threads, Trello and Paper.

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. It is common to waste a lot of time waiting for confirmation when booking appointments or meetings with remote team members..A time zone difference makes it even more difficult working remotely in a different time zone to get a real-time response. You will likely not hear from the other parties until the next business day if they live on the other side of the world. An email exchange might even take a week to nail down an appointment. Whenever possible, it’s important to develop the ability to communicate asynchronously when working remotely.

Reserve dedicated hours for flexible schedules

Attempts to reinvent time zones to make them easier for everyone have failed, we just can’t come to a universal agreement. There are many features of the world that I simply cannot wrap my head around, and one of these has always been time zones. Eastern Standard Time (EST) covers the states in the eastern part of North America and runs from Maine to Florida, while Central Standard Time (CST) includes Texas up to Montana.

  • This means that if one team member works while another is sleeping, it does not mean they can’t communicate or collaborate with each other effectively (unless this pattern repeats itself for several weeks).
  • Everyone can look through these at their leisure, take notes, and return to your instructions or ask questions afterward.
  • By setting a clear expectation that communication won’t happen in real-time, you can take the pressure of people in different time zones to be “on-call”.
  • This isn’t how high-performing remote teams working across time zones collaborate.
  • On-the-fly collaboration tends to occur less frequently when working across time zones, but the right tools can change that.
  • Now my 10th and last tip for today is even when we’re working with global teams, don’t forget to meet face-to-face every once in a while.
  • It can be as simple as a ❤ emoji to a message to as formal as a shoutout to your counterpart’s line managers.

A step-by-step guide to writing meeting minutes effectively and using modern tools and templates. Here is a matrix to refer to when you are not 100% sure how priority and urgency come into play in a cross-timezone setting. You can try these guidelines with your counterparts in a different timezone. This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. Drive gives you the ability to color code and organize as you please, plus upload files and folders with ease.

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