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How To Work In Different Time Zones When You’re A Remote Team

Working remotely is the best decision I have made in the last couple of years. With these strategies in mind, your team will be able to collaborate more effectively—no matter where they are located. These seemingly small, yet important gestures will help establish connections between members of your distributed workforce. However, with the right mindset, strategies and a little bit of planning, working with people from around the world can be done successfully.

For example, if a Boston-based marketing manager gives a California-based blogger a deadline for “9 a.m. Monday,” it might be hard to determine whether the deadline was for 9 a.m. Even when you’re working with a colleague in the same country as you, not getting as specific as possible about dates or times can cause confusion or slow your processes. “There’s a give and take. So long as you check with the person on their preferences, it’s fine to ask. Some might even prefer to work a non-standard shift anyway,” Kelly explains. We’re Himalayas, a remote job board, that is focused on providing the best experience for remote job seekers and employers. This issue can be compounded when you employ a diverse team who come from different locations and cultural backgrounds, many of whom may be communicating in their second (or third) language.

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Don’t forget to check in with your team to see what they’d enjoy too– create a poll in advance to figure out the best option to go for. If you’re already using Slack, make use of it by checking out the Polly app integration. The cornerstone of remote work working remotely in a different time zone is technology and it can do a lot more than just enable employees to log in and jump on video calls. It’s always important for managers to keep in touch with their teams, but this is especially true when workers are spread across the country or globally.

When scheduling a meeting or call with remote team members, make sure to ask them what time zone they are in so that you can account for any time difference with their local time when you schedule. It’s not all 9-5 anymore with remote teams, with some works preferring to wake up in the early morning to get a head start before the day begins, and others starting late but working in the evening. When you meet frequently with the same people, take time to understand when they work remotely.


It will also ensure that you’re available to your international department without needing to stay up all hours of the day. Of course, if you can’t afford to fly your entire team to a location very often, you can turn to virtual team-building events to keep up the team spirit in the meantime. You can invite your team members to join a private group or a public channel in the team chat app you use — for example, you can name the channel #group-activities, #team_fun_times, or simply, #team-building. There, you can suggest interesting team activities and play fun team-building games designed for virtual team settings. Just make sure that the timing for these activities works for the schedules of everyone involved. As the world is moving toward a fully distributed work model, there’s still plenty of value in in-person team meetups.

When it comes to working remotely with teams across different time zones, the most important thing is to be mindful, empathetic, and respectful. When everyone lives in different time zones, writing, planning, and documentation tend to become the default behavior for remote employees. This means people who were offline can dive into documentation to catch up, rather than having to wait for answers. 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. Of course, for organizations working across time zones, this type of effort would involve coming up with creative ways to have everyone on board and involved in the conversation. It takes really getting to know your team members and tapping into their shared interests to get the casual conversation going.

Be mindful of other teammates’ designated work hours.

You should avoid scheduling meetings during the times that you know everyone will not be awake, but this isn’t always possible if you work with people across multiple continents. If you do need to schedule something during off-hours, check first to make sure it is okay. On many HubSpot marketing teams, if we schedule a meeting that requires people in other timezones to wake up early or stay up late, we try to be empathetic to those colleagues in some way. Teams working remotely and across time zones lack the spontaneous chats in-office coworkers are accustomed to. The social disconnect can breed various productivity and personal obstacles that could wreak havoc on your organization over time. With more & more companies adopting a remote work model, the tips & tools will help you achieve success while working remotely with teams in different time zones.

  • Nonetheless, with thorough planning, anything can be accomplished and made to benefit every team member in the best manner.
  • They can also unlock more productivity by allowing team members to work when they’re most productive whether that be in the morning, afternoon, night, or a mix.
  • Of course, if you can’t afford to fly your entire team to a location very often, you can turn to virtual team-building events to keep up the team spirit in the meantime.
  • As the world is moving toward a fully distributed work model, there’s still plenty of value in in-person team meetups.
  • Perhaps you can have two different meetings on one day at two different times so everybody can get a chance to participate.
  • Remote work can feel isolating – according to Buffer’s State of Remote Work 2021 report, 16% of remote workers say loneliness is their biggest workplace struggle.

Following the above tips and practices will help you develop a schedule and a working model that will keep everybody happy and included while valuing the personal needs of each team member. Fortunately, that flexibility can be easily accomplished through collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams, Google Drive, Slack, Dropbox, etc. Nobody said that working in different time zones is effortless, painless, and does not need sacrifices.

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