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Here’s How to Manage Remote Developers across Different Time Zones

Here’s how to manage remote developers across different time zones

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.

Manage remote developers across time zones

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 -

Invest substantial time in prioritizing and creating communication strategies -

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.

Embrace smart hiring when building or growing your engineering team -

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 -

  • Excellent communication skills
  • The right attitude in regards to working in distributed teams
  • Good at working in fast-paced environments
  • Adept at handling stressful situations
  • Capable to work independently and manage multiple priorities
  • Exceptional time management ability

Be mindful of team member’s preferred time zones -

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.

Use tools and software -

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.

Be flexible and patient -

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.

Establish centralized, cloud-based workflow -

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.

Top time zone management tools that connect remote teams

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 -

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.

Pricing -

ScheduleOnce offers three tiers of prices -

  • Starter - The starter pack consists of all the best features for free but is limited to only 3 users.
  • Growth - Some additional features other than the benefits available with the starter pack are available in Growth. For example, advanced integration, APIs, SSO, 24/7 email and chat support, etc. This pack allows you to schedule meetings at $10 per user/ month
  • Enterprise - With this you get custom pricing. In terms of features, everything in growth plus some additional features such as compliance and professional services, onboarding assistance, security, and 24/7 premium support.

Team TimeZone -

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.

Pricing -

Team TimeZone offers 4 levels of pricing and each includes a 14-day trial period.

  • Basic - With a price of $9/month, the tool can be utilized by 25 members.
  • Professional - You pay $29/month for 200 members.
  • Enterprise - $99/month for up to 1000 members.
  • Enterprise+ - The price can be customized as per your requirement and the number of members that use the tool for this tier is unlimited.

Timezone.io -

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.

Pricing -

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.

Teleport Sundial -

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.

Pricing -

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.

World Clock Meeting Planner -

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.

Pricing -

The World Clock Meeting Planner is a free tool.

In conclusion

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.

Create a globally distributed developers team with Turing!

If you’re tired of fighting with Silicon Valley giants in order to hire senior pre-vetted remote developers, then Turing.com is the right place for you. In fact, the company also enables you to hire a development team with the right experience and motivation to develop state-of-the-art software solutions. Turing's AI-backed Intelligent Cloud System allows you to source, vet, hire, and manage developers with strong technical and communication skills at unbeatable prices, ready to work in your timezone.

What do you need to do?

You just need to share your requirements, and Turing’s AI-backed Intelligent Cloud System assists you in finding you the world’s best software developer. You can receive a list of top candidates within a few days from which you can shortlist and conduct interviews to select the developers you like.

Turing offers a no-risk 2 week trial period wherein you evaluate the candidate's competency and only after you’re satisfied with their work.

If you want to hire remote developers to be part of your team, sign up with Turing and spin up your engineering dream team today!

Author

  • Anupriya Singh

    Anupriya Singh

    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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ans. Scheduling team meets for employees across different time zones can indeed be challenging. However, there are some ways to do it efficiently. You can start by checking if and when your team members’ work schedules/hours overlap to figure out an ideal time to set the meeting. You can also rotate meeting times to provide everyone with an equal opportunity for the least and most convenient times to fit together.

Furthermore, you can try to rotate the recurring meeting timings (rotating meeting times every week) to offer more flexibility to employees from varying time zones. Sometimes, you might find it difficult to get an ideal time. In such cases, the next best option is to simply record the meeting and share the recording link with the concerned employees.

Setting agendas and asking questions in advance is another great way to involve those who enter the meeting late or can’t attend due to differing time zones. Simple ask for talking points or questions when sending the notification for the meeting agenda, and discuss them at the start of your meeting.

Ans. Running a remote workplace can get challenging, especially if your team consists of members from various time zones. Here are a few tips to help you manage such employees better: use tools like Slack, World Clock Meeting Planner, and Every Time Zone for effective time zone management. Encourage flexible timings and work hours, and allow both synchronous and asynchronous meetings. Another key pointer to manage employees across multiple time zones is to establish clear expectations on operating anonymously.

Ans. While you cannot change timezones for individual team chats in Microsoft Teams, here’s how you can change your time settings in Teams: login to Microsoft Office 365 on your web browser and tap on the settings icon after logging in. Click on the ‘Change Your Language’ link and you will enter the ‘Settings and Privacy’ dialog. Click on the ‘Time Zone’ option to expand it and click on ‘Change Time Zone’. Here, you can enter the preferred time zone.

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