The gradual shift to remote work settings has transformed various industries' landscapes and brought new dynamics into play. Several companies have a global team of employees working from different continents. Companies can have multiple benefits or face challenges when team members work remotely in different time zones. In this blog, we have discussed some crucial challenges of working in different time zones in the remote work setting and how to address them.
The distributed team environment has pros and cons when you work in remote teams. Some of the benefits that remote work gives you are access to the best minds, a diverse and boundaryless workforce, and cost-efficient access to your dream team; however, one of the biggest challenges of working with remote workers is streamlining the process of collaboration.
The key to high productivity is a streamlined process where employees can work together on common objectives, goals, and projects. This is where managing the time zones becomes extremely crucial. You can efficiently manage the time zones of different developers in various ways. Following the standard guidelines and steps is important to ensure uniformity, organization, and streamlined workflow.
There are several challenges that managers and employees face when they work in remote work settings. Some major challenges of working in different time zones include lack of real-time communication, collaboration at unexpected hours, and lack of team bonding due to no in-person meetings or interactions.
When companies employ remote workers, real-time synchronous communication often becomes difficult as the time zones vary, and it becomes difficult to sync together. However, the time management tools and transparent communication between different team members help resolve these conflicts and ensure everyone is on the same page. Regarding team bonding, several remote team-building measures and exercises help create a productive environment and build a sense of togetherness amongst remote team members located within different geographical boundaries.
However, with remote work becoming the prominent work environment for many organizations worldwide, several solutions have successfully addressed challenges and ensured productivity remains high.
Let us look at some of the best ways and tips for working in a different time zone. These suggestions will help you to effectively manage remote workers' time zones to optimize your team's productivity.
Being a manager in a remote setting involves numerous tasks of streamlining the company’s processes, workflows, and tools and managing the time zone differences of the different employees. Let’s look at how you can effectively manage the timezones to aid your organization's productivity.
You must have an effective communication mechanism that sets out the requirements for the team. One of the keys to managing remote developers with different time zones is understanding each developer's requirements and then creating a common framework for team-wide meetings where it is possible to have the maximum number of team members participating. It is worth mentioning that it is not always essential to have team-wide meetings for every little task or project. They should be scheduled only for high-priority and critical tasks.
Beyond that, you can have a flexible team meeting schedule for different members based on their requirements. You can have one window of overlapping times where most of the employees can sync with each other. Apart from that, you should have a flexible approach where the employees can work at their convenience as long as they meet the deadlines and targets.
When hiring remote developers for your company’s requirements, it is important to communicate the challenges of working in a remote environment with potential candidates. So you would need to be transparent about the overlapping time zones, mandatory syncs with the team members, and working independently on projects for which the developers have to take ownership and responsibility. This is where evaluating the soft skills of potential candidates comes in handy.
Some qualities you must look for when hiring developers for remote work include time management, the ability to collaborate with different team members from around the world, effective communication skills, and problem-solving skills, among a host of other soft skills.
One of the fundamental requirements for remote developers to be productive is having them work on cloud-based tools and applications. These tools are excellent for keeping track of the progress of various tasks, team-wide updates, important communication, and streamlining the project across the team.
Many tools are available in the market, and you can choose a suitable option based on your company’s requirements. Ideally, you should compare the features and functionalities of the different time management tools and then select one that you think can be compatible with the business requirements of your company.
When working in a distributed team, combining synchronous and asynchronous communication modes is the best way of streamlining processes and ensuring everything works in sync. For critical, high-priority tasks requiring real-time input, synchronous communication helps immensely by bringing all the team members together simultaneously. For synchronous communication, you should choose a convenient time for all members based on their respective time zones.
For long-term projects, asynchronous updates on project management keep the entire team updated regarding the developments and help in streamlining the tasks. Several asynchronous communication and project management tools include Asana, Trello, Jira, Basecamp, and Hive.
The best way to ensure high productivity in remote teams is to combine synchronous and asynchronous communication depending on the priority and complexity of the tasks.
Unlike the conventional work setup, the developers working remotely in a different time zone, in distributed teams, tend to have their preferred working hours where they are at their optimum best and thus can contribute better towards scaling the company’s objectives and targets. That’s why when managing a remote team. It is vital to be lenient and flexible by incorporating the different working hours for different people.
Suppose there are specific processes where you need the participation of the employees. In that case, it should be drafted in your company policies and communicated with the candidates before you hire them. However, apart from that, you must have a flexible working hours policy which gives the employees the freedom of working at their convenience to get the best results. One of the primary reasons developers and employees from around the world prefer the remote work culture is the flexibility they get about their working hours.
When you have an agreed time zone working hours for your employees in the distributed team, it is important to respect that protocol. That’s why you should avoid sending constant messages to the employees after signing off. Unless it is an extremely critical function with absolute high priority, you must avoid communicating in off-hours with your employees. If you have any specific idea or concept to discuss, you can jot that down on your to-do list and then discuss it with the team members once they are back online working on the project.
These are some of the best practices and tips that can help you manage the time zones of different employees from around the world effectively and efficiently.
Suppose you want to utilize the time management tools for automating the process of managing different time zones of the employees. In that case, a wide range of tools and applications are available in the market. Let us analyze a few of these applications, their features and functionalities, and how these tools can be useful for managing developers worldwide. Top time management tools streamlining remote work and boosting productivity are as follows:
The clockwise is one of the best tools for managing the calendars and meetings for remote developers in your organization. The clockwise is a smart calendar that helps optimize your workflow to allocate the right resources to the important tasks and projects. This app enables you to focus on your tasks so that high-priority functions are executed efficiently and helps resolve meeting conflicts by suggesting the best time for meetings that is suitable for most team members.
This app also automatically syncs your current status on slack with the calendar. So if you are in a meeting, your slack status will automatically reflect that. Clockwise is essentially a calendar extension from Google for Chrome. This application or extension helps raise productivity to the next level and avoids scheduling conflicts between team members.
Harvest is another important time management app that is extremely beneficial and can help immensely with the productivity of the team members in a remote environment. This app essentially harvests time developers spend on over 70 apps and services, including Slack, Github, Zendesk, and Teambook. This tool tracks time for any specific project task or a specific client. So when you have to manage a team of remote developers, this application is the perfect fit for tracking and managing the working hours of developers from around the world. Teams and solo programmers can use this app to track their working hours and boost the productivity of enterprise-based functions.
Harvest has many integration features, making it versatile for working with different platforms. It also has a very efficient, intuitive, and user-friendly interface that works smoothly and seamlessly. Harvest is compatible with many operating systems and has a mobile app for Android and iOS. A desktop widget is also available for Windows and Mac users.
Team TimeZone is one of the best apps for effectively streamlining employees' work hours. Using this app, the manager can visualize every developer in the team and what they are working on, minimizing interruptions. It also provides for automatic integration with slack and other tools. Team TimeZone provides detailed as well as compact views for various-sized teams. The app even enables the availability status of the different team members, and it also helps in visualizing the time difference to better grasp the time zone gaps within your team.
Depending on your requirements, you can either have a detailed user view or a grouped user view. The app provides a timeline view of the employee working hours so you can check out how their times overlap. This app makes it easier for managers to find the most suitable time for scheduling meetings where most of the remote developers can be available to participate. You can filter the different groups and Slack channels, find specific members via search functionality, and access an optimized view for the most efficient form of visualization.
Similarly, many other tools and applications make it easier for managers to manage employees' working hours in different time zones.
Managing different time zones for various employees is one of the biggest challenges managers and recruiters face when working in a remote environment. Thankfully, there are multiple tools and best practices that can help you to get around this challenge with ease. These help boost productivity through efficient management of the team. Managers need to have a streamlined process for the various frameworks that can help them to scale up the company’s objectives.
If you are looking to harness the global pool of talent and hire remote developers for various profiles in your company, then you must sign up with a jobs matching platform like Turing. Hiring remote developers is a complex process. It needs high levels of expertise and effective scouting, matching, testing, and hiring execution. Turing provides an AI-based intelligent talent pool platform for sourcing, vetting, matching, and managing the top-rated remote software developers.
Once you have signed up with Turing, you will get access to the best and the most talented remote developers from the globe who have been sourced and pre-vetted for a Silicon Valley bar. So go ahead and create the dream developer team by leveraging the power and technology Turing provides.
Huzefa is a technical content writer at Turing. He is a computer science graduate and an Oracle-certified associate in Database Administration. Beyond that, he loves sports and is a big football, cricket, and F1 aficionado.
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