How to Work Across Multiple Time Zones
Running a remote team has so many great benefits, from finding the perfect candidate for the role to increased productivity. Diversity opens up the company to different ideas, new approaches which can send the bottom line soaring. Ensuring the team runs smoothly will be a big part of your company’s success, and one of the challenges that can arise is working across multiple time zones.
Be mindful of others and their time zones. What seems like a reasonable hour for a meeting to you, might mean a five am wake up for another team member. Ensure you keep engagement, organization and company culture working across the globe as your remote team grows.
Here are some top tips for working across multiple time zones.
1. Have an official company time zone.
This helps because it sets a standard time for employees to work around. If possible, set a core time where there are overlaps between time zones. Save these hours for important internal meetings rather than external ones to maximise the time the team can spend together.
2. Choose the hours that best suit the team members and stick to them.
Some employees prefer to work earlier, while others appreciate a later day. If it works for the team, adjust the standard working day. Be careful, some employees may use adjusted hours to work longer hours than usual so ensure you keep the team on track with their daily workload. There’s no need to work 24/7 all the time.
3. Daily check-ins.
With a dispersed team, people can feel cut-off from each other as they work alone. A short daily standup can create a feeling of inclusion and value. Knowing what others are working on that day will mean everyone is on the same page when it comes to projects too. Keep it as short as possible, for example, team members have one minute to give top-line details of their to-do list. Questions can be saved for a Slack chat afterwards.
4. Manage late or early meetings.
When there are big differences between time zones, nine or ten hours and more, meetings can be difficult with someone required to stay late while others will be early. Stagger it out so that people don’t have to stay late or get up early every time for the meeting. Mix it up. Overall, try to ensure meetings are fair and that everyone is comfortable with the occasional late or early morning meets.
5. Establish great communication tools.
Good communication is the backbone to any good team. There are plenty of great tools on the market, but there are loads of new innovations to watch out for. Google Drive, Zoom, Slack, Trello and Monday are all popular, but they do come with limitations. Try out different tools for different types of communication. Official comms could use Google Meet or Slack while instant, informal comms could use Signal, Discord or something else. Where possible, keep communication simple so that employees know where and how to contact each other.
6. Monitor group size for meetings.
Too many people and communication gets difficult in a virtual meeting. People want to speak but don’t have the chance to get their points across. Identify who needs to be in the meeting and who can be filled in on the details afterwards.
7. Be transparent.
Being open about work is one of the most important aspects to a remote team. Share experiences of what is and what isn’t working, good stuff that’s happening and challenges being faced. It can help towards team building as they celebrate and find solutions.
8. Use a shared calendar.
This way you can see what meetings are taking place across the team. Really useful for keeping track of vacations and meetings.
9. Encourage the team to talk to each other.
Not just work matters but the typical water cooler chat that really helps bond a team. Especially in the hours that overlap, make sure the banter flows. Setting up times to chat and drink virtually is a good way to get the team to forget about work and gel together. It also encourages the company culture.
A diverse, global remote team can be a real asset to any company. By 2022, Gartner predicts that 75% of businesses with diverse frontline decision-makers will exceed their financial targets.
Scaling your remote team
Hopefully, this post has given you some ideas on how to manage a team working in different time zones. While it can take a bit of time to set up, most remote teams find working this way much easier as they avoid work distractions.
Talk to us about how to manage and scale your remote team. And if you’ve found something that works for you, please share them with us!