This way, team members can explain their ideas as they show their work on Sketch or InVision without the need for a real-time meeting. Similarly, WIP documents are useful for designers in different time zones to see where everyone is on a given day. But what if your remote colleague is going to see your message hours later and you’ll be out of your office by then? If they run into trouble with access, they’ll have to wait another day until they can do the work (or you’ll be receiving a late-night phone call!).

Furthermore, some of the best practices for holding productive virtual team meetings include having a shared goal and describing what you expect to accomplish. It’s nearly hard to arrange everyone to meet at the same time without inconveniencing someone if you don’t have team members working in overlapping time zones. One person will have to regularly get up too early or stay online too late. Use a shared Google calendar to keep track of when staff in different countries are on vacation.

Slack Emojis ✌️ Our Team’s Secret to Effective Remote Collaboration

You can also use this information to find overlapping hours to schedule group calls or meetings with all your team members when you need to. That way, they’ll be able to keep the project moving along once they’re back online, or have enough information to know a face-to-face meeting is needed. Communication in particular is hard when one team is arriving at the office just as another is leaving, or when one teammate is sleeping peacefully just as another is hitting their midday stride. But there are ways to tackle differences between time zones that preserve collaboration and keep communication effective. Maybe your sales team is in Chicago and your dev team is in Dublin.

  • “I’ll take phone calls late in the evening from folks that don’t realize I’m on the east coast and consider that part of the job for someone working remotely in a different time zone,” Furbish says.
  • David Fullerton had to overcome the communication hurdle when he was growing the Stack Exchange team.
  • Jon Russell, a Bangkok-based reporter for TechCrunch, says remote work is what enables their site to run a 24-hour newsroom.
  • Google Calendar is a great tool for scheduling meetings in different time zones.

While you may be good at guesstimating, tools can help you get times right, every time. We created this blog to share some of the knowledge and experience that we have around travel, remote work, photography and beyond! One thing that I tried out in order to help with the time zone conundrum of a time zone converter was the Google Calendar second time zone option. Like I mentioned above, you want to avoid sending someone a meeting invite and having it pop up for them on a Saturday, or on a national holiday in the country where they live.

Prioritizing asynchronous communication

Don’t forget that just because meetings are in a different time zone doesn’t mean your distributed employees shouldn’t get the same perks as employees in HQ. If you’re catering lunch for a lunch and learn in the office, consider sending distributed employees gift cards or letting them expense whatever mealtime it is in their time zone during that meeting. In addition to confounding my brain, time zones also provide some fun and interesting challenges when it comes to how we all work together at Buffer as a fully remote, distributed team.

Nevertheless, there are two sides to the same coin, and working with distributed teams also brings with it its challenges—one of which being how to manage them across time zones. Teams that span different time zones will likely span different cultures as well. Spell out your location in introductions, or speak up when a team is setting up recurring meetings. It’s all part of the challenges of working in different time zones, but it’s easily resolvable.

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Having a placeholder on the calendar for the team to get together will help ensure that everyone is staying on task and has a place to come together as a team and hold each other accountable. If your company doesn’t currently offer any flexibility, you may find that it’s hard to attract talent as a larger portion of the workforce is made up of these younger generations. This will only get more difficult over time if you aren’t willing to make some changes to attract and retain millennial employees.

How do you manage meetings in different time zones?

  1. Check when (and if) your teammates' work schedules overlap.
  2. Rotate recurring meeting times.
  3. Record the meeting.
  4. Set an agenda and ask for questions in advance.
  5. Take the follow-up conversation to Slack.

Now this leads me into my next tip, which is really start thinking in multiple time zones. If you’re working with a global team, it’s good to heighten your awareness of what time it is for people in different parts of the world that you’re working with. For instance, I work with Gretchen every single day and I start the work with her at 6 p.m. These are the working remotely in a different time zone kinds of things that it’s just good to keep in mind with your teammates. When working within different time zones, it is very important to be mindful of your teammates’ time zone. You should avoid scheduling meetings during the times that you know everyone will not be awake, but this isn’t always possible if you work with people across multiple continents.