The Positive and Negative Effects of Working in Different Time Zones

Therefore, it’s reasonable to switch meeting schedules every month or quarter. This ensures that no single team is forced to make constant sacrifices to stay linked. It may also cause everyone to plan a meeting across time zones when they’re the ones working unusual hours. After all, having employees working across time zones is the equivalent of offering your organization a 24-hour workplace — with the top talent on the planet. Without the need for overtime or late-night shifts, teams can collaborate to fulfill deadlines. Employees in the one-time zone can hand over half-finished projects to peers in another time zone to finish.

working across time zones

That’s what The Year Without Pants author, Berkun, encountered when he worked at Automattic. “My team had hit the natural limits of space and time on planet earth,” Berkun says. The ability to hand off work is a productivity benefit, but it’s also motivator since you know you must accomplish tasks so you can hand them off to co-workers at day’s end.

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This sort of impromptu, off-the-cuff discussion can resemble “watercooler chat” and enables colleagues to brainstorm various topics and connect on a more personal level. 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. A lot of people work from home – 59% of U.S. workers who say their jobs can be performed from home do so all or most of the time – and that comes with many benefits for employers and employees alike. “When you only work in a single time zone, that limits your potential employees to people who also live in that region (or are willing to work during those hours, if they live elsewhere),” Erhard said. It’s easy to think of only the problems that can come about from coworkers trying to collaborate from different locales without having the same start and stop to their workday.

working across time zones

Synchronous communication (“sync”) is when discussions are conducted in real-time, allowing for immediate responses and feedback between colleagues. This can be through phone calls, video chats or even using an instant messaging platform like Slack or Microsoft Teams. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you organize your team and schedule your projects around working remotely in a different time zone the time zones of everyone on it. If your team works in different time zones, then you will need to communicate asynchronously most of the time. Time zones are geographical locations where people experience similar daylight hours at any given time throughout the year. Managing different time zones, language barriers, and cultural differences can be frustrating.

Best Practices and Tools for Working Across Different Time Zones

To help your distributed workforce connect, consider facilitating live meetups when possible. When working to establish functional global teams, organizations need to primarily focus on optimizing their communication. Teams working in multiple time zones can’t rely on synchronized communication, facial expressions, or non-verbal cues to decipher the message.

You pick the cities where everyone lives, and the date for your meeting, and it’ll show in green, yellow, and red the times that are best, not too bad, and terrible for everyone. 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. After years of working remotely—for companies in India, Canada, Australia, and the U.S.—I’ve learned a lot.

Sharing travel plans and schedule changes

“It puts a little pressure on you to get your work done,” says TechCrunch’s Russell. “They worked the night shift while my team in Redmond worked days,” Berkun says. “If I planned well, we’d find magic in going to bed frustrated by a missing puzzle piece, and waking to find it in our inbox. It was like having a friend in the future.” Being able to select the best talent regardless of the location is one of the main factors that impacted the entire movement in the first place.