Remote work has opened a series of exciting possibilities for businesses worldwide. Now, instead of relying on local talent, you have a global workforce to pull from, ensuring that you can bring on the best of the best regardless of where they might be on Earth. But with this benefit comes a number of challenges, chief among them managing this global remote team over multiple timezones. That’s why you need a complete guide to successfully working across multiple timezones like the one you’ve landed on.
How can you successfully create a team atmosphere for workers on opposite sides of the planet? When one employee is starting their workday, another might be ending theirs. Additionally, how can you effectively manage workers when they’re on the other side of the world from you? While this process is challenging, it’s far from impossible. In this complete guide to successfully working across multiple timezones, we’ll provide you with actionable advice that’ll help you extend your team’s reach the world over, making your workforce a well-oiled machine no matter their distance from one another.
Why is Working Across Multiple Timezones So Challenging?
Remote work has opened a series of exciting possibilities for businesses worldwide. Now, instead of relying on local talent, you have a global workforce to pull from, ensuring that you can bring on the best of the best regardless of where they might be on Earth.
But with this benefit comes a number of challenges, chief among them managing this global remote team over multiple timezones. That’s why you need a complete guide to successfully working across multiple timezones like the one you’ve landed on.
How can you successfully create a team atmosphere for workers on opposite sides of the planet? When one employee is starting their workday, another might be ending theirs. Additionally, how can you effectively manage workers when they’re on the other side of the world from you?
While this process is challenging, it’s far from impossible. In this complete guide to successfully working across multiple timezones, we’ll provide you with actionable advice that’ll help you extend your team’s reach the world over, making your workforce a well-oiled machine no matter their distance from one another.
Why is Working Across Multiple Timezones So Challenging?
There’s no doubt that working across multiple timezones presents challenges from the perspective of project management, project planning, and time management.
Collaboration can be difficult when every team member is working at different times. You might find yourself waiting on tasks, frozen in place until a team member in a far-off country can start their workday.
While the idea of the sun never setting on your workforce might seem appealing, creating a collaborative team atmosphere becomes far more difficult when everyone is so spread out.
Initially, you might think that creating a standard working time for the entire team, regardless of their location, might be the answer. However, by doing this, you’re limiting your potential for quality candidates.
Far fewer qualified professionals will want to take a position that forces them to work through the night and sleep during the day. That means a dispersed workday is the only answer.
And since you can’t be available 24/7, many of the questions you need to answer regarding project planning and execution will have to wait until you’re up and about.
On the surface, it looks as though working across multiple timezones can be more trouble than it’s worth, fostering a breeding ground for wasted time and miscommunication. But this doesn’t have to be the case.
You can take many steps to inject some efficiency into the potential chaos of a multi-timezone team. That’s what we’ll cover in the next section.
How to Manage Working With Multiple Timezones
Managing teams across multiple timezones doesn’t have the be some Herculean task. With a strong focus on project and time management during billable and non-billable hours alike, you can force a solid communicative team that understands what needs to be done and when.
Just implement the following initiatives.
1. Utilize Asynchronous Communication Platforms
When it comes to any workforce, you have options for synchronous and asynchronous communication.
Synchronous communication means that you’re communicating in real-time with team members directly. With a remote global team, this would require some members to work odd hours to match up with their co-workers and the management staff.
Asynchronous communication, however, is a work communication style wherein communication doesn’t occur in real-time and utilizes a variety of indirect communication platforms to deliver business messaging.
This could include direct messaging through a system like Slack, emailing, or even video messages using a platform like Loom or Marco Polo. When you’re working across timezones, asynchronous communication becomes a necessity. But that brings with it some unique challenges as well.
You’ll need to set up communication protocols to monitor these conversations during your working hours. Establishing healthy asynchronous communication habits will be necessary, and scheduling projects during billable and non-billable hours must be done with this in mind.
2. Find Overlap to Schedule Meetings
Obviously, your team will still need to get together periodically for staff meetings. While this can be difficult with staff spread out over such a massive area, it’s not impossible. Typically, there are at least a few hours of overlap in the workday, even if it’s only for an hour or two.
Those are the windows of opportunity to schedule meetings over popular communication platforms like Zoom. Of course, this could mean that someone might need to stay a little later or clock in a little earlier. If this is the case, it must be with the understanding that they’ll adjust their workday accordingly.
When scheduling meetings, however, take the less-is-more approach. Since these meetings can disrupt the workdays of team members in far-off timezones, the concept of the “meeting that could have been an email” becomes more important.
When you can avoid meetings, avoid them, and when they’re necessary, find a time that works for everyone. If someone can’t attend one of these meetings, record them and make the playback available.
3. Ensure Collaborative Tools are Being Used
When your team is spread out all over the world, you’ll need to make use of some strong collaborative tools.
For example, working together on something as collaborative as creating visual content can be daunting when emailing designs back and forth and communicating asynchronously.
However, with the right tools and resources, you can streamline the process and ensure that everyone is on the same page. A cloud-based photo editor can be a valuable asset, allowing team members to easily edit and share visual content, no matter where they are in the world.
Your time management platform should also be cloud-based and collaborative, allowing team members to work on the same project in real time, commenting back and forth to one another without having to send emails and DMs with attachments.
4. Track Time
Time tracking is going to be essential for managing your remote team. Since you’re not all present in an office together, you can’t monitor the coming and going of your team members or ensure that they’re using their time efficiently.
This issue can be easily resolved when using a time-tracking system or online time clock app. By having your team members track their billable hours in real time, you’ll see how long they worked and how long it took them to accomplish individual tasks. Specifically, look for online time clock apps where you can set specific timeframes for employees to clock in and out within their scheduled work hours. In addition, these apps automate timesheets, which you can easily edit and approve/deny requests from employees.
This can also help you balance your payroll budget with productivity by seeing where time is wasted, or processes could be tightened to make for a more efficient and profitable workday.
5. Ensure HR Support
When your workers are spread out worldwide, they might feel disconnected from the company. That’s where HR support comes in handy. But without an in-person HR rep to go to when needed, you’ll need a software platform to facilitate communications.
HR software can manage multiple teams simultaneously and organize their schedules in a way that makes the best use of their available resources. This means they can be more efficient decision-makers, scaling up and down the support for your business depending on your needs.
Other tools like application tracking systems can help improve hiring as well. Although there are essentially no drawbacks to hiring remote workers, there are specific difficulties, such as the logistics of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding new staff in a virtual setting. Employees believe that working remotely can be beneficial for their happiness and mental health, and who doesn’t want healthy, happy workers?
6. Create a Team Atmosphere Despite the Distance
Despite the fact that they’ll likely never stand in the same room together, your remote team still needs to function as a cohesive unit. They must collaborate, communicate, and connect to develop professional relationships.
You can ensure this through team-building activities or breakout small group meetings scheduled when schedules overlap. Despite the difference in working hours, your team must come together and communicate. If this can be done over video, even better. Face-to-face time will help professional relationships develop, and rapports form.
Even though your team isn’t together physically, it’s your job to treat them as though they are. Cooperation should always be the expectation.
Dig Deeper: To effectively manage your remote team and ensure optimal time utilization, TrackingTime is your go-to app. TrackingTime offers a comprehensive solution to the challenges of time tracking in a dispersed work environment. With this app, your team members can effortlessly monitor their billable hours in real time, enabling you to gauge their work duration and task completion efficiency. One of the standout features of TrackingTime is its ability to set specific timeframes for employees to clock in and out within their designated work hours. Moreover, the app automates timesheets, simplifying the process of editing and approving or denying employee requests. By utilizing TrackingTime, you gain invaluable insights into where time is being wasted and identify areas where processes can be streamlined, contributing to a more productive and profitable workday.
Start Managing Employees Across Multiple Timezones Today
When scheduling tasks for your team members from multiple timezones, you must keep their working hours front of mind. Expectations must be realistic when scheduling tasks and forecasting deadlines. Putting too much on your team members or placing unfair time expectations on them can lead to a breakdown of efficiency and high employee turnover.
Remote work is a trend that’s not going away anytime soon. By creating a winning strategy for managing teams over multiple timezones, you’ll be able to create a happy, harmonious workforce.
To review, a manager looking to successfully foster work across multiple timezones from a diverse and spread out team needs to:
- Use asynchronous communication tactics
- Find overlap in working times to schedule meetings
- Use collaborative tools effectively
- Implement time-tracking protocols
- Ensure that HR can support remote employees
- Foster a team atmosphere that creates a successful collaboration.
By doing this, you’ll form an effective team that’ll work together over thousands of miles, over the oceans that divide them, and bring them together with the efficiency of an in-person workforce.
Kevin J. Kessler is a professional writer and published author with over 15 years of copywriting experience. He specializes in project management, SaaS, digital marketing, and content optimization. He’s a published author with more than 17 novels on the market and works as a puppeteer and a professional wrestler (not at the same time).
How To Manage Working With Multiple Timezones
- Utilize Asynchronous Communication Platforms
Utilize asynchronous communication platforms such as Slack, email, and video messages to overcome time zone differences and deliver business messaging effectively. Set up communication protocols and establish healthy asynchronous communication habits to monitor conversations during working hours.
- Find Overlap to Schedule Meetings
Find overlap in work hours to schedule meetings over platforms like Zoom and consider recording them for those who can’t attend.
- Ensure Collaborative Tools are Being Used
Use collaborative tools like cloud-based photo editors and time management platforms to streamline collaboration and ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Track Time
Implement a time tracking system or online time clock app to monitor team members’ billable hours, track productivity, and optimize efficiency.
- . Ensure HR Support
Utilize HR software to facilitate communication and support remote workers, including managing schedules, decision-making, hiring, and onboarding.
- Create a Team Atmosphere Despite the Distance
Foster a team atmosphere and encourage collaboration through team-building activities, small group meetings, and face-to-face video interactions to develop professional relationships. Treat the remote team as a cohesive unit and prioritize cooperation as an expectation.