5 Valuable Employer Tips for Managing Teams in Different Time Zones

— April 2, 2017

Handling teams that perform in various time zones and have different working days is challenging.

One team might begin work early in the day, whereas another might commence its work day several hours later, but the time difference between their zones can be misleading in terms of specific deadline dates and hours.

It’s really the lack of quality communication that causes this confusion about requirements, which often results in job complications and project shortcomings. There is also an additional complexity involved when management is on the move and the need to synch with teams while traveling.

Fortunately, there are several effective time management methods that use modern technology to transform these barriers into advantages.

How to Manage Remote Teams

Let’s look at some of the typical problems that occur when managing teams in multiple time zones, and then discuss some of the potential solutions:

  • A team in one zone hasn’t begun to work, while another one is already finished working.This results in delayed feedback exchanges that could become severe and result in major project dysfunction.
  • Slow update management and interactive tools cause weak communications on things like problem monitoring, status updates, and so on.
  • Trouble with scheduling conferences at times that are convenient for all workers and misunderstandings about specific meeting times.

It’s apparent that all of these problems can be traced back to inadequate communication from one time zone to another.

Even so, if tactfully used, time zone discrepancies can actually be advantageous.

The key is to foster timely and efficient project communications among distantly located teams.

Distributed Teams

Here are five ways to accomplish this:

  1. Stay conscious of the time zones all of your far-off teams operate in and reference the matching time zone in communications with each team.If necessary, add the other team’s time to your email or text messages to prevent misunderstandings.Furthermore, give consideration to Daylight Saving Time changes, which may occur on different dates in other time zones. Making a calendar memo is a wise tactic to keep track of critical project changes and deadlines.
  2. Try to share some work hours by adjusting work schedules.Our work schedules are fine-tuned for each of our customers. This grants us a one to three-hour overlay for brief appointments with client teams and ensures that all workers are kept abreast of the project standing and development.
  3. Automate routine project management and interactive apps to ensure everyone is up-to-par.These resources permit workers to log what they’ve completed, what tasks are currently being worked on, which ones are scheduled, and to scan through updates and post messages for other workers to see later on once they return to work.The more synchronized these channels of communication are, the more successful the project will be.
  4. Establish well-defined objectives and develop clear work routines.That includes promptly announcing any upcoming travels or schedule modifications to maintain the team’s awareness in case of emergencies.
  5. Set up international teams to be as self-sufficient as possible.Doing this allows one team to finish its work in time for a team on a different continent to begin its workday, resulting in constant job support.Making your teams as independent as possible helps them to depend more on themselves and minimizes the necessity for constant collaboration.

Managing Teams in Different Time Zones With Technology

Managing teams scattered throughout different time zones can seem intimidating at first, but it can have its rewards if properly approached.

You should always confirm the time differentials and use all programs at your disposal to give you a hand, including resources like Skype or Slack, remote job management tools, time difference calculators, and virtual assistants.

Many modern companies, like Automattic for example, don’t even have offices and work fully distributed. They support home offices and co-working allowances.

Whether you are taking advantage of geo-arbitrage in your business by leveraging differentials in hourly rates or you managing a giant global company, the world has been shrinking for years and the tools and practices to work with teams anywhere on the planet have been improving to make location irrelevant for many digital based companies.

You don’t have to be 100% digital to make working across timezones a breeze.

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Author: Christopher Moore

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