Working Across Different Time Zones: Best Practices & Tools

When compared against the benefits, the downsides of working across several time zones are minor inconveniences. This is proven by the fact that an increasing number of businesses are electing to work remotely, with Blueface research estimating that remote work would rival office labour by 2025. It becomes easier to manage when course correction is required, and when team members go above and above to reinforce the culture, exemplifying those acts to the rest of the team becomes easier than ever. When you work with a team working across different time zones, there is a possibility that you may face some issues. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of working across different time zones. Companies have the luxury of leaning into shared experiences and physical venues when developing a culture in an office-based workplace.

  • Ensure you are open to dealing with your work hours and controls with your distributed team, whether you are working remotely, in-office, or in a global office outside your main company headquarters.
  • You’ve probably used Word and Excel sometime in your life and Outlook is often the email service of choice with companies.
  • 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.

A global meeting’s ideal time will invariably change depending on the exact time zones involved. EST (10 a.m. and noon PST) is an excellent sweet spot if you’re just working with multiple time zones in the US. Teams with a globally scattered workforce must pay extra attention to understanding and optimizing for cultural differences. Cultural, religious, and ethnic origins significantly influence your employees’ communication patterns, cooperation techniques, and work schedules.

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The most important thing to do when working remotely is to grow comfortable communicating asynchronously whenever possible. Even though your whole team may be in different major cities or different countries, with geographic and time zone differences separating you—with effective async communication, none of that matters. The difficulties of managing different time zones, language barriers, and cultural differences can be frustrating. Plus, you need to understand the differences between synchronous and asynchronous communication, and when to use each.

  • While it can be challenging to manage a distributed team, fully remote companies have many benefits.
  • Companies employing smaller internationally distributed teams are more likely to have staff members experience feelings of isolation and being left out from the company culture and general social interactions.
  • 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.
  • Simultaneously, it’s beneficial to establish several points of contact across time zones.

Having tools in place will take the guesswork out of figuring out someone’s time zone, and can help you avoid reaching out to someone when they’re already off the clock or out for lunch. As mentioned above, tools to facilitate asynchronous collaboration will minimise the need for after-hours communication. Simultaneously, it’s beneficial to establish several points of contact across time zones. Even if you know how many hours ahead or behind they are, it’s all too easy to get confused. If you’re not 100% clear on what time zone your client is operating in, you risk missing meetings and deadlines. Even between the east and west coast of the United States, there is a three-hour time difference.


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.

Use these two as a jumping-off point, and see what works best for you and your clients. You can add due dates, color-coded labels, and individual team members to each task (referred to as a “card”) so that there is never any doubt on who should be working on what and when. You can also add checklists and attachments, which turn the bulletin board into something like a virtual file cabinet.

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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. If you are receiving information, always assume the person has good intent. One of the first mistakes you may make when working remotely from home is to allow all of your favorite (or least favorite) items in the house to distract you. Hence, you should try to separate the place where you work from a relatively quiet place in your home. Everyone will have everything they need to get up and running as soon as they sign in for the day, regardless of what time it is.

Too much messaging or calling your team members can cause unnecessary stress, inhibit productivity, and eventually lead to a hostile work atmosphere. Managers should instead give their workers some leeway when it comes to setting work schedules or deadlines, as long as they deliver high-quality results. When we meet someone new, we frequently think they are in the same time zone as ourselves.

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