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Working Across Time Zones: Best Practices and Tools

Fortunately, Slack also allows you to see the time zone of the person you’re messaging, which is helpful since a lot of our team travels in addition to working in different locations. Share calendars by team, share calendars by organization, by individuals. For instance, we like to use Google Calendar and add the holidays of people around the company. Most managers frequently mix micromanagement with necessary follow-ups. Because supervisors cannot see remote workers, they cannot contact them every hour or so for updates.

And as our team grows and changes, we sometimes have to change and renegotiate the way we work through time zones. Despite all of the advantages of having a diversified global workforce, businesses are still figuring out how to collaborate effectively across time zones. GitLab might be the world’s largest fully distributed company with 1,400+ remote workers in 65+ countries.

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If you have the option, turn it on and at last save yourself from accidentally scheduling a meeting during an inconvenient working across time zones time. Otherwise, you can always verify the location of the attendees before you send out the planner.

working across multiple time zones

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Transform how your team handles meetings today

It lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense. Therefore, it’s crucial to encourage good, consistent documentation in asynchronous workplace tools, such as Notion, Google Drive, Slack, and project management options like Asana or Trello.

How do you mention time zones in an email?

If you need to indicate that a time is in a certain time zone, the simplest way to do it is to put the time zone abbreviation after the time: for Eastern Standard Time, write “4:30 p.m. EST.”

After all, there’s only so much that can be conveyed virtually. While the digital workspace can perfectly support all the work processes, the social component takes the biggest hit in organizations promoting a remote-first work culture. To help your distributed workforce connect, consider facilitating live meetups when possible.

The secret sauce of global gatherings

Have some fun with Photoshop or Canva and create a map that shows where everyone on your team is. The key to successfully working across multiple time zones is good communication and setting clear expectations is the first step. Many companies are open to employees being within the same state or within a certain distance of the building. Once companies open the options for flexible work locations, it’s important to set clear expectations. Are you expecting team members are able to travel to the office multiple times each year? By setting clear expectations, you won’t be faced with unwelcome surprises in the future. Each company will have its own guidelines on where employees can be.

  • You can capture video messages of yourself, your screen, or both with tools like Loom and PingPong.
  • Consider meeting times that fall in the middle of the day so they fall within everyone’s normal work hours.
  • 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.
  • But remote teams can fall into the «I’m online, so I’m being productive» trap, too.
  • So before you ask people to rearrange their schedule, make sure what you plan to discuss really warrants everyone being present.

It also becomes possible to define rules of the conversation more clearly. For example, when we adopted a status update meeting, we made it a rule to never open up design files on the spot since doing so would often derail the conversation into an impromptu working session.

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