The pandemic for sure has accelerated the remote work trend, even though the idea has been around for decades. Not only do you get a wider talent pool, running operations 24/7, and quality results but it also assists you in building a work culture that is more diverse and inclusive. This brings different points of view which basically means new and unique ideas that can not only benefit the company financially but also improves brand image.
Despite the widely accepted benefits of distributed teams, managing professionals in different time zones can be quite tricky. You might be working from an office in New York, and you can have team members from different countries like India, while your client resides somewhere in Australia. Just imagine you just started your day and need some work done urgently but the team member you need for that has already signed off. Needless to say, it is next to impossible to manage people from three different time zones without a well-structured strategy leading to downtime, delays, and work planning problems.
As a company that has already integrated remote work culture and strongly supports it, we have managed remote employees distributed around the world. That’s why we have curated this article for you that can greatly aid you successfully if international collaboration looks first hand. We have also included some time zone apps or time zone meeting planners that can be highly helpful for your organization.
From a business point of view, let’s dig deeper and understand how you can work efficiently with teammates across different time zones productively. Follow the below tips and best practices to successfully resolve time zone challenges -
Communication is one of the most crucial aspects of the successful management of remote teams. If there's no proper communication channel already set up in place, it can lead to misunderstandings. This can seriously affect the operational processes and cause unnecessary delays and downtime.
Different team members might have different preferred time zone. That’s why you must work towards finding and adopting more flexible solutions and methods to make sure everyone is on the same page. You can also consider implementing some tools such as a time zone meeting planner that can keep track of various time zones in which your developers work and can let you successfully conduct meetings that include all the employees.
Remote work heavily depends on trust. You cannot run a successful remote team if you don’t trust them to do the work and produce quality results. That’s why when you hire fresh talent for your team make sure to validate if they’ll be capable to work with minimal supervision and manage their time effectively. Not everyone would be able to handle working remotely, for that region you must be careful when putting together your team.
Invest substantial time in researching and looking for a trustable and reliable platform from which you can hire a competent remote developer. Some of the skills that are must-have and each candidate must be evaluated for are -
If you want to work effectively with global teammates, it is extremely important to respect their preferred time zones. So before sending out anything, you must analyze it first and determine how urgent the task is. You don’t want to disturb them at an ungodly hour. This also promotes a healthy work environment leading to increased productivity, job retention, and efficiencies in the workplace. Employees feel happier at their job, are less stressed, and have better mental and physical health.
You can consider setting up a virtual team meeting schedule that works for everyone. You can take the help of some of the meeting time zone planners to make the whole process effortless by comparing participant schedules and adjusting for time zone differences automatically.
Technology makes our lives easier. We have many tools at our disposal that make remote work successful. It is important to leverage these technologies in order to accurately track the progress or status of tasks and other related activities. Tools like instant messaging apps such as Slack, task management software such as Asana, and project management tools such as Jira enable you to strategize and update teams on their progress at different times of the day. It also keeps your employees on the same page and eliminates misunderstandings and miscommunication.
You don’t want to bombard your employees with messages late at night or early morning. You cannot expect them to always be available at your calling. This can lead to frustration and can push them to tune out such messages by turning off their work applications and devices.
That’s why you must avoid sending work-related messages after your employees have signed off. But if you need to send some urgent message, expect a delay. You can consider scheduling meetings well ahead of time if you have projected P0 level issues. You should also keep a flexible meeting schedule at certain points of the day where employees can jump on a call and resolve the issue immediately.
One of the best ways to maintain and manage a multi-time zone workforce is by establishing a centralized and cloud-based workflow space for all activities or tasks. A fully-fledged workflow application can make your operational processes such as setting deadlines and assigning responsibilities a breeze.
When you prioritize clear agendas, communication, smart hiring, and workflow application, you can take many unnecessary meetings out of your daily work schedule and don’t shed even an ounce of productivity.
As our world becomes more digitized and connected, making use of a good time zone meeting planner becomes more important than ever. Here’s a look at some of the time zone apps that can assist you in effectively strategizing and managing workflow while maintaining asynchronous communication.
ScheduleOnce is a cloud-based scheduling solution that allows you to manage interaction not only with your internal employees but also with your clients or customers. It can be utilized by businesses of various sizes booking meetings, assigning appointments to a specific employee, and even choosing a particular communication channel for appointments. Its smart scheduling makes sure to only display meetings that are in preferred time zones and within the working hours.
ScheduleOnce offers three tiers of prices -
Team TimeZone is a web app that allows you to manage your remote team across different time zones. You can effortlessly view your team's time zones and can create a time zone planner accordingly. It can easily be integrated with Slack to better visualize your teammate’s working hours, time overlaps, and online status. It is an excellent tool to better understand your team distribution across time zones.
Some of the companies that already use and trust Team TimeZone are - DigitalOcean, Gartner, McAfee, and many others.
Team TimeZone offers 4 levels of pricing and each includes a 14-day trial period.
Its tagline is, “keep track of where and when your team is.”, which is pretty self-explanatory in terms of what the tool does. It allows you to have better visibility of your team member’s time zone without having to Google every time. This way you can easily maintain your time zone meeting planner and schedule meetings or calls accordingly.
Timezone.io is completely free and offers a simple, efficient, and clean user interface. However, it lacks features like a meeting planner or Slack integration.
This tool allows you to coordinate with your global team and enables you to always stay on top of their locations and time zones. You get a detailed view of your team’s locations, time zones, and working hours that make the entire process of planning and scheduling your meetings. It offers two main views - map and time zone view.
With map view, you get a full display of your teammate's location on a map and when you hover over a member, you can see the local time of their region and the last active hour. On the other hand, with a timezone view, you get a complete and collective overview of your teammates on one single page. This is extremely useful if you want to check and schedule a meeting or call for a particular time when all your team members will be active.
It is a free tool where you just have to sign up and make a group. Once a group is created you can simply invite your team members to join and fill up their profiles.
Creating a time zone meeting planner for conferences can be frustrating. World Clock Meeting Planner is a tool that allows you to make a call, or arrange a web or video conference across different time zones. It offers a very user-friendly interface wherein you just need to pick the date you want to have the meeting along with the cities where your team members reside in.
After filling in the data, you get a detailed table that clearly answers the question “what time it is there?”. It also creates a clear differentiation of the times in terms of normal sleeping hours, general working hours, and general non-working hours of the selected region.
The World Clock Meeting Planner is a free tool.
Planning a meeting, especially if you have a globally distributed team, can be frustrating at times. You have to make sure all your team members' time zones align with the meeting time and are not disrupting their usual work hours. That’s why it is necessary to make use of a time zone meeting planner with benefits like widgets and mobile app integrations.
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Anupriya is a content writer well-versed in researching and writing on an array of topics. She works closely with businesses and helps them get rapid and organic growth through compelling digital marketing content. When not working, you can find her reading or sketching.
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