Best team practices when working across time zones

Having all shifts and time zones covered is especially convenient for support and customer service as people don’t need to work past the conventional work hours in their countries, in the case of an emergency. However, other departments and industries can benefit from the approach as well. So it’s fair to rotate meeting times between time zones every month or quarter. This ensures no one team is constantly making the sacrifice to stay connected. And it may get everyone to start thinking twice about holding meetings when they’re the one clocking in odd hours. As the above example from Help Scout’s design team demonstrates, working across time zones doesn’t mean you have to work 100% asynchronously. The value in real-time chat doesn’t go away for remote teams — it just takes extra effort to do it effectively.

  • And that’s nice—we all need human interaction, and it’s great that you can still get that without being in the same room.
  • Logging time on alignment calls, catchup calls, end-of-day summaries, will give you a good idea of how much to factor this in in future project plans.
  • As the rewards largely outweigh the drawbacks, it’s worth exploring the best team practices provided above to make working across time zones work.
  • 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.
  • If your co-workers overseas are a little relentless, there are multiple ways to make sure a ping from your phone doesn’t interrupt your full eight hours of sleep.

It’s a simple, text-based world clock provides an at-a-glance update. 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. Whether it’s just a team check-in or something more collaborative, meetings will always be a thing. «A remote work environment should encourage performance—not presence,» says entrepreneur Neil Patel. Then, you won’t have to worry about time off and how many hours people are working.

Tech tips for working with people in different time zones

This may work better for colleagues who want a more regular schedule to fit in with family commitments. Sometimes you need to know how time zones fit in with each other—that’s where World Time Zone comes in. The site displays a compact but comprehensive map showing every time zone and how they’re linked by longitude.

working in different time zones

«When it comes to online publishing, being in different places isn’t so strange,» says Russell. 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. After years of working remotely—for companies in India, Canada, Australia, and the U.S.—I’ve learned a lot. Here’s a sneak peek, but keep reading for tips on how to make the most of the pros and overcome the cons that crop up when the world is your office. Check out our remote jobs, leverage our remote company database, or sign up and create your free company profile. They’re proudly a remote-first company and took full advantage of remote collaboration long before coronavirus.

All over the place: etiquette for teams across time zones

Whatever they choose, it’s important to respect everyone’s preferred work hours and do-not-disturb hours — and know when these occur in their time zone. Share these with the team, so everyone knows when it’s okay to dish work and when it’s not. When it comes to working with teams across different time zones, the number one rule is to be mindful, empathetic, and respectful. Teams can collaborate to meet deadlines without the need for overtime or late-night shifts.

This is especially true if you’re the lone team member in a completely different time zone. Working with a distributed team can be challenging at first because it’s difficult to build the kind of rapport that comes naturally when working in an office setting.

The Benefits of Working Across Timezones

Simply line up the cursor to find a time when everyone will be awake, or a time that aligns with other parameters set in place. Here are some popular working across time zones ways to use Slack with app automation tool Zapier to automatically share activity in your channels so everyone knows what’s going on.

working in different time zones

When I logged on, we were in slightly different headspaces and quickly learned I don’t effectively think on my feet at 5 am. It does take time to recruit and develop the infrastructure necessary to get the most out of a team that is distributed across time zones but the time invested is worthwhile when compared to the benefits. Once systems and processes have been established, however, it can actually result in hacking the team building and hiring process. Maintain an open dialogue with global colleagues to ensure that everyone’s boundaries are seen and respected and that nobody is working beyond their core work hours. Instead of giving one project deadline to suit the majority’s time zone, try to stagger deadlines to take international teams into account.

Moreover, companies should rethink the overall effectiveness of each meeting. It’s a good practice to schedule the meetings only for the exchange of information that can’t be communicated over a team chat app, a document, an email, or a memo. Sure, a team brainstorming session is most effective over a video conference, however, a general weekly update doesn’t necessarily require a 5 a.m. Of course, there’s the argument that the vast majority of meetings may not be necessary, and flexibility is pretty much a part of the remote job description. Still, some form of meetings is vital for organizations looking to keep the connection and interaction across distributed teams. Although it can get challenging at times to manage a geographically dispersed team, there are still many more benefits to the approach.

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