The gradual shift to remote work settings has transformed the landscape of various industries. Which has brought new dynamics into play. Various companies have a global team of employees working from different continents for them. When you have team members working remotely in a different time zone, there are several benefits as well as challenges that are posed to organizations and companies. In this blog, we have discussed some of the crucial challenges of different time zones in the remote work setting and how to address them.
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 a remote team is streamlining the process of collaboration. The key to high productivity is having a streamlined process where employees can work in tandem on common objectives, goals, and projects. This is where managing the time zones becomes extremely crucial. There are various ways in which you can efficiently manage the time zones of different developers. It is important to follow the standard guidelines and steps to ensure that there is uniformity, organization, and streamlined workflow in your organization.
Let us have a look at some of the best ways in which you can effectively manage the timezones for optimizing the productivity of your team.
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 us have a look at how you can effectively manage the timezones for aiding the productivity of your organization.
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 the requirements of each developer and then based on that creating a common framework for team-wide meetings where it is possible to have the maximum number of team members participating. Here it is worth mentioning that, it is not always essential to have team-wide meetings for every little task or project. The team-wide meetings should only be scheduled 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 it is possible for most of the employees to sync with each other. Apart from that, you should have a flexible approach where the employees can work at their convenience as long as the deadlines and the targets are being met.
When you are 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 of the qualities that 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 of the project across the team.
There are a host of tools that 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.
Unlike the conventional work setup, the developers that work remotely 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. This is why when you are managing a remote team, it is vital to be lenient and flexible by incorporating the different working hours for different people.
If there are certain processes where you need the participation of the employees then 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 for getting the best results. One of the primary reasons why developers and employees from around the world prefer the remote work culture is because of the flexibility that they get about their working hours.
When you have an agreed time zone working hours for your employees, it is important to respect that protocol. This is why you should avoid sending incessant messages to the employees after they have signed 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 then you can always 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. If you want to utilize the time management tools for automating the process of managing different time zones of the employees then there is a wide range of tools and applications that 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 from across the world.
The clockwise is one of the best tools for managing the calendars and meetings for remote developers in your organization. The clockwise is essentially a smart calendar that helps in optimizing your workflow so that the right resources are allocated to the important tasks and projects. This app not only helps you to focus on your tasks so that high-priority functions are executed efficiently but it also helps in resolving meeting conflicts by suggesting the best time for meetings that is suitable for the majority of the team members.
This app also automatically syncs your current status on slack with the calendar. So if you are in a meeting, then your slack status will automatically reflect that. Clockwise is essentially a calendar extension from Google for Chrome. This application or extension helps in raising productivity to the next level and avoiding scheduling conflicts between the team members.
This 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 that the developers spend on over 70 apps as well as services which include Slack, Github, Zendesk, and Teambook. This tool enables the tracking of 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 not only tracking but also managing the working hours of developers from around the world. It can be used by the teams as well as solo programmers for tracking the working hours and boosting the productivity of the enterprise-based functions.
Harvest has a host of integration features which makes it incredibly versatile for working with different platforms. It also has an incredibly efficient, intuitive, and user-friendly interface that works smoothly and seamlessly at all times. Harvest is compatible with a wide array of operating systems and it has a mobile app for both Android and iOS. There is also a desktop widget that is available for Windows and Mac users.
Harvest tracks expenses and time plus it provides a visual representation of the team’s productivity, generates professional invoices, and delivers efficiency reports related to different projects. The application charges $12 per month however if you want to take an annual subscription then you get a 10% discount. If you are not sure about subscribing to the paid model yet then you can try out the app for the free trial period of 30 days to see how it works and whether it is beneficial for managing the working hours of the global workforce in your company.
Team TimeZone is one of the best apps for streamlining the work hours of employees effectively. Using this app, the manager can visualize every developer in the team, what they are working on, minimizing interruptions, and it also provides for automatic integration with slack as well as 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 for a better grasp of the time zone gaps within your team.
You can either check out your team using a detailed user view or a grouped users view depending on your requirements. The app provides a timeline format view of the employee working hours so you can check out how their times overlap with each other. 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, slack channels, find specific members via search functionality, and get access to an optimized view for the most efficient form of visualization . Similarly, there are a host of other tools and applications that make it easier for managers to manage the working hours of the employees in different time zones, streamline the whole process, track their progress, automate the different tasks, and also make any changes that are necessary for better productivity.
The management of different time zones for various employees is one of the biggest challenges that managers and recruiters face when working in a remote environment. Thankfully, there are a host of 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. It is important for managers to have a streamlined process for the various frameworks that can help them to scale up the company’s objectives.
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