How To Facilitate Communication & Meetings Across Time Zones

For example, if someone works in Australia while another is located in the United States, it may be difficult to attend a meeting at the same time unless the Aussie gets up pretty early in the morning. Spell out your location in introductions, or speak up when a team is setting up recurring meetings.

Depending on the scale of your own company and type of work, you may find that a different set of choices works better for you. The action plan must also include a meeting structure, what is needed, purpose and format to be used be it teleconferencing, chat or video conferencing. See how Lucidchart can be a powerful solution for collaborating and staying aligned while working remotely or from different offices.

  • Speaking of connection among teammates, working across time zones makes it almost impossible to keep the team spirit and social engagement up.
  • Twice a year, the Zapier team gets together at a company retreat.
  • Oyster is a distributed HR platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop and take care of a thriving distributed workforce.
  • Christine leads marketing operations at Arc, where her areas of expertise include marketing strategy, remote management, cross-cultural management, and strategic communications.

Managing Distributed Teams 5 challenges of international HR What global HR leaders need to know. Ensure all team members understand correct usage of workplace tools. For starters, flexible work hours have been scientifically proven to reduce burnout, stress levels, and psychological distress while increasing job satisfaction.

Working Across Timezones

There, you can suggest interesting team activities and play fun team-building games designed for virtual team settings. Just make sure that the timing for these activities works for the schedules of everyone involved. As the world is moving toward a fully distributed work model, there’s still plenty of value in in-person team meetups. 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. So, what is the difference between global teams that succeed, and those that don’t?

We also encourage team members to meet via our Camper Coffee Lottery. The slack bot, Donut, connects Campers across offices for casual chats every few weeks. As we continue to grow, it continues to be a great way for us to stay connected. Employee development → Develop your people with behavior change tools and just‑in‑time learning for managers and employees. I joined ProductPlan in the summer of 2019, excited to sink my teeth into creating product management content. When managing remote team members, the most important thing to keep in mind is to provide an inclusive experience for all. The visual time zone converter helps you easily find the exact time difference between locations.

Be Mindful Of International Employees When Scheduling Meetings

Likewise, when tasks are uploaded to asynchronous communication channels, set clear expectations on working autonomously. To curb this issue, encourage team members to build some “cushion” into their normal work schedules for check-ins or quick chats. Though not as intuitive as Every Time Zone, World Clock Meeting Planner from lets you pick the locations and date for your meeting. Then, the tool color codes the times that are best , not too bad , and the worst . Just search for the current time zone in the city/ country you’re trying to coordinate with. Gone are the days where you just need to know Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones. We’re using tools like iDoneThis to share a quick recap at the end of each day, of what we’ve been doing, what we shipped, and just share our personal achievements and how we feel about everything.

  • "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.
  • Let’s outline all the key steps companies can take to better manage working across time zones within the asynchronous collaboration framework.
  • "One danger of my job, as a columnist who works in California, is a feeling of disconnection from the mother ship in New York,” writes technology columnist Farhad Manjoo.
  • Your employees’ communication styles, collaboration methods, and work schedules are largely impacted by their cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds.
  • This is great for increasing creativity and innovation within your company.

It’s harder to collaborate when you’re all on different time zones, since you have less time to do it. So, work up a consistent routine to help your teammates to predict when you’ll be around, and carefully plan your collaborative efforts. Our ‘core hours’ while the team are in their home locations, are 9am-6pm, UK time.

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The Couchsurfing team has a similar schedule to make sure everyone’s connected. "We have a bi-monthly full company meeting to make sure we all know we still exist,” writes designer Ben Hanna. It might work out great for you, if you like to work nontraditional hours anyway.

working across time zones

It may also mean that you have to wait for replies, responses, or tasks from people in a different time zone. When deciding on a date or time try and include or state both the time and date according to the time zone you are in as well as for those that you are speaking with in order to avoid confusion. A time difference gives you the option to work without distraction that can lead to improved productivity. Having a diverse group of individuals placed across the globe allows for you to offer customer support 24/7 to clients no matter where they are situated.


Speaking of connection among teammates, working across time zones makes it almost impossible to keep the team spirit and social engagement up. Almost by definition, remote work tends to facilitate isolation among team members, and the matter only gets worse once we add the time zone dimension to the equation. Companies employing smaller internationally distributed teams are more likely to have staff members experience feelings of isolation and being left out from the company culture and general social interactions. 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.

  • But when working with a distributed team, communicating takes more effort.
  • There’s no need to wait for a conference call or meeting to start talking when you work together from the same office.
  • Problem solving also becomes an issue over varying time zones because the client wants prompt resolution which is almost impossible.
  • “When you work in different timezones, it’s important to be aware of when you’re sending a message or email,” says Rebecca White, a junior writer for the HubSpot Blog.
  • Don’t miss out on the latest tips, tools, and tactics at the forefront of customer support.

You can set up a separate workspace or create a list in the existing one and keep all the information in one, easily accessible place. Your employees will be allowed to leave the comment or respond to others there in case they need to discuss something. Employees working across time zones that work in different countries know their local markets the best. So that, if you’re thinking as a company about a global expansion, you should consider at least a partnership with a specialist from the country you desire to introduce your product or service.

Poor Communication

A fun way to put an exclamation point at the end of each meeting. Lately our word of the day has come from a random Cards Against Humanity card that Lesley pulls each day.

working across time zones

It’s impossible to keep track of everyone’s local time zone all the time. You’ll probably have a mix of remote team members working from home and digital nomads who travel to a new locale every three months. Teams can collaborate to meet deadlines without the need for overtime or late-night shifts. Employees in one time zone can hand off semi-completed projects for coworkers to finish in the next. But as we learned in our State of Remote Work Report , more people want to work remotely than ever before.

Rotate The Team

Use a time zone converter website among your online freelancer tools. When working with individuals in different locations and different time zones you need to know when to be flexible.

  • Tools like World Time Buddy and Time and Date make planning meetings easier.
  • Be honest to your own physical energy levels and suggest adjustments to the team.
  • And that actually visually shows on one screen where all of your teammates are in the world and their time zone, very, very good-looking tool.
  • "The big transition with a distributed workforce is going from synchronous to asynchronous collaboration,” they write.

Open-ended discussion in groups larger than 3 felt difficult as conversation dynamics are different when online. There’s a slight time delay when people speak, and when two or more people speak at the same time, they tend to mute each out out. The awkwardness seems to have led most people to stay silent while one or two people dominated the conversation. If it must be a working session, then delegate topic areas small groups. Sometimes design terminology to describe our process differed between our own studio locations, making it hard to communicate ideas precisely. Someone who has been in London for 2 years will always complain about the weather especially if they come from the sunny Miami.

People should have everything they need to get started on a task or request ASAP. Keep a dialog open about work-life boundaries and communication windows.


That might not be enough to schedule meetings across a number of time zones, but it’s a quick way to figure out if you’re ok to call your boss at 6 p.m. David Fullerton had to overcome the communication hurdle when he was growing the Stack Exchange team. "When there were 4 people, everyone knew everything. When there are 75 people, that no longer scales,” he says. We post thoughts and updates about team projects on Slack, regardless of who’s online. Plus, each department has a weekly video call to map out that week’s work, and every Thursday we’ll have an all-hands call in order to get everyone together. Aside from the few weeks every year when we’re all together at our company retreats, there’s always someone at Zapier awake and working.