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7 Best Practices for Working Across Time Zones

By abril 21, 2020marzo 14th, 2023Education

Alternatively, try giving colleagues three days per week on their home time zone’s schedule and two per week on another team’s schedule. This may work better for colleagues who want a more regular schedule to fit in with family commitments. At one point, we had an impressive (or just over-the-top) 500+ channels in Slack. From private chats to team channels, to food photos, cat photos, and more – we have a channel for it. Because Slack is always on and available, discussions can happen asynchronously.

There is a false perception that working across time zones workers are lazy, taking every opportunity to slack off because nobody is watching. In fact, remote workers are generally more productive than their in-office counterparts. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you organize your team and schedule your projects around the time zones of everyone on it. If your team works in different time zones, then you will need to communicate asynchronously most of the time. Managing different time zones, language barriers, and cultural differences can be frustrating. For example, I once discovered that three different members of the team kept separate Excel files that were convenient for them to keep track of the project’s progress.

Technical Team Remote Collaboration Must-Haves

Asynchronous communication means working without being in direct contact with people, such as through email, online chat, or by sending video messages such as Loom videos. It also means that you’re not necessarily communicating at the same time. Of course, teams and management aren’t exactly new sciences, and there are plenty of lists and instructions that are important to know if you kick off a project with a team. However, they don’t really explain how to manage a team if it’s located in a galaxy far, far away. The following section outlines examples of how to configure time zone settings for common scenarios as well as how to view the Scheduler in your user’s time zones. When the team and management work together to discover the best way to successfully navigate global schedules, everyone benefits, and the company thrives.


Teams working in multiple time zones can’t rely on synchronized communication, facial expressions, or non-verbal cues to decipher the message. As mentioned earlier, this can cause misunderstandings that can seriously affect operational processes and cause unnecessary delays. Managers and decision-makers are the ones facing the harshest challenges when working with teams who operate across time zones. Along with aligning operations, other risks could seriously disrupt major processes, if left unchecked. Let’s get a better insight into the challenges of globally distributed teams to get a clearer idea of what to look out for and how to prevent any larger issues.

Establish Processes for Remote Teams

This also helps teams understand where their teammates are in the process and if they can help. Use a shared calendar that shows each team member’s availability at a glance, so colleagues can easily book meetings during mutually free times. A lot of people work from home – 59% of U.S. workers who say their jobs can be performed from home do so all or most of the time – and that comes with many benefits for employers and employees alike. As a freelancer, especially if you’re working as an individual contributor, other members of the team or group may forget where you’re located. This is especially hard if you tend to move around from city to city or country to country, or if you just moved, and crossed time zones, like from Florida to Texas, for example.


You can do this via phone calls, video chats, or even using an instant messaging platform likeSlackorMicrosoft Teams. All remote and hybrid teams should work together as a team to establish guidelines around expected response times and company communication norms. The only way it can work is if you keep team meetings to a minimum, record them for those that can’t attend, and make attendance optional. If you really do need to have everyone there, try to pick a time that works for most people and then ask the remaining few if they can attend. Then the next time you organize a meeting, share the burden and make it easy for them and harder for everyone else.

How Jen Paxton supports a team of 55 people across 17 countries

It was first suggested by Andreas Klinger, CTO at On Deck, and pioneered by GitLab co-founder and CEO Sid Sijbrandij and Darren Murph. This is foundational to working in a distributed team spread across time zones where quick check-ins aren’t feasible. Even the most introverted remote workers need social interaction, humans just aren’t designed for solitude. When everyone lives in different time zones, writing, planning, and documentation tend to become the default behavior for remote employees. This means people who were offline can dive into documentation to catch up, rather than having to wait for answers.

Understandably, this approach largely supports innovation and ultimately leads to more profit in the long run. In fact, one prediction by Gartner shows that 75% of companies employing diverse decision-making teams can expect to outperform their business objectives in 2022. Moreover, one McKinsey study found that the more ethnically and racially diverse companies outperform their less diverse peers by 36% when it comes to financial targets. Navigating different time zones is an inescapable challenge for modern workforces. Remote work has gained momentum with the outbreak of Covid-19. An asynchronous-first team communication style can be very beneficial for remote teams working on projects across different time zones.

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Working across time zones is tricky, but the benefits outweigh the costs if you have the right culture, processes, and follow best practices. When she is not researching the most productive collaboration techniques, she can usually be found trying out the latest team chat and collaboration tools and apps. Moreover, companies should rethink the overall effectiveness of each meeting. It’s a good practice to schedule the meetings only for the exchange of information that can’t be communicated over a team chat app, a document, an email, or a memo. Sure, a team brainstorming session is most effective over a video conference, however, a general weekly update doesn’t necessarily require a 5 a.m. Let’s outline all the key steps companies can take to better manage working across time zones within the asynchronous collaboration framework.


Author Jameson

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