7 Best Practices for Working Across Time Zones

For asynchronous collaboration to work, teams need clear processes and guidelines on hand at all times to get a clear direction and understanding of priorities, boundaries, and goals. With the limited opportunities for verbal communication and even virtual meetings across time zones, distributed teams need to rely on written and video records to obtain all the information. Additionally, team members can create a shared document with their work schedules highlighting no-contact hours to ensure clear boundaries are being set and respected. Teams employing a globally distributed workforce should pay special attention to learning and optimizing for different cultural specifics.

working in different time zones

Possibly the simplest tip of all is also the one that can be the hardest to keep top of mind. Typically, we try to be mindful of what time it is for others when we use synchronous communication like video or Slack. This keeps us from asking a teammate to dive into a brand-new project if they’re just about to jump off for their evening, for example. And as our team grows and changes, we sometimes have to change and renegotiate the way we work through time zones.

Best Practices for Working Across Time Zones

Asynchronous communication has emerged as a preferred method for organizations operating across time zones. In addition to removing the time constraint of the traditional synchronous approach, the asynchronous method, ideally, ensures communication records remain at hand. If teams don’t experience any overlap in work working remotely in a different time zone hours, there’s bound to be some time wasted as one team is waiting for the instructions or the input from another one, working at a later time. And, as team communication is directly correlated to productive collaboration, it can lead to unnecessary delays, missed messages, and an overall drop in productivity.

  • Aside from allowing people to work on the same projects in different timezones, these tools allow global employees to stay on the same page about what aspects of a project have been completed.
  • In today’s workplace, diversity breeds new and unique ideas, allows us to look at our campaigns from different points of view, and benefits companies financially.
  • We also have a lot of tools for asynchronous, everyone-at-their-own-pace communication, including Threads, Trello and Paper.
  • Once everyone’s set and communicated their working hours, make sure you’re respecting them!
  • Let’s get you started with tips to help ensure the bond between you and your remote team is rock solid.

If meeting during these hours really is unavoidable, rotate meeting times to avoid prioritising one time zone over another. Meeting in person allows your team to bond – essential for future communication. With team members in different time zones, it can be easy for people to restrict communication to those online at the same time. By bringing everyone together, you open up communication between people who might not usually interact.

Get specific when discussing dates and times with peers.

Team members will be aware of their responsibilities, effortlessly pick up duties, and leave comments/updates for their teammates to address throughout their shifts.

  • We use a variety of tools at Buffer, many of which we’ve blogged about before.
  • When it comes to delegating assignments, managers should always clearly communicate deadlines and explicitly state both their and the employee’s time zone to eliminate any confusion.
  • The start of the New Year is a chance to set a plan for your career and personal development and start new habits.
  • With the remote first work culture spreading across the globe, many companies have employees scattered all over the world.
  • There has never been a more interesting and challenging time for human resources (HR) professionals.
  • These meetings not only improve the relationships between specific colleagues, but also contribute to maintaining team cohesion.

In addition to confounding my brain, time zones also provide some fun and interesting challenges when it comes to how we all work together at Buffer as a fully remote, distributed team. Aside from allowing people to work on the same projects in different timezones, these tools allow global employees to stay on the same page about what aspects of a project have been completed. Even after having an initial conversation, you should also speak up if you’re having issues attending many meetings in multiple timezones.

Virtual Meeting Etiquette Tips

Relationships foster trust, increase collaboration and boost productivity in any work environment. Having a social relationship with colleagues does more than just combat isolation. Furthermore, it reduces barriers to asking questions, getting help, and taking risks. Requiring that your teammates are always available does not create a good company culture and might hurt morale. You can avoid this by minimizing your messaging after hours and being patient if you don’t get an immediate answer.

  • Abi is one of the co-founders of Himalayas where he focuses on product and growth.
  • An inside look at the meeting ground rules used internally by Fellow.app, the top-rated meeting productivity software company.
  • 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.
  • It enables you to allow everybody to have a shared repository where files can be kept for smooth retrieval at any time.
  • With the ever-increasing demand for a workforce that can work across time zones, a lot of pressure has also emanated from the failure to maintain a work-life balance.


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