Time zones can be challenging when managing a remote team. Maintaining team culture can be difficult when one team member is ending their day and another team member is beginning theirs. As remote work becomes more common, many companies are still figuring out how to manage a distributed team. Communication mishaps, scheduling meetings across multiple time zones, and minimal real-time conversation are some common challenges when managing a team across different time zones.
This being said, there are many benefits that come with managing a remote workforce. Managing a distributed team across multiple time zones means there’s an uninterrupted workflow for your company. It also means you have access to a larger talent pool with more diversity of thought. Many employees also prefer to have more control over their work hours, which ultimately helps them achieve higher productivity levels.
Acknowledging the challenges of managing a distributed team is the first step in overcoming some of the challenges. As a manager, your goal should be to ensure each member of your team feels seen, heard, and respected — regardless of where they’re working from.
Here are 6 tips to help you manage a team across multiple time zones:
Remember time zone etiquette
The key to managing teams in different time zones is to provide an inclusive experience for the entire team. You want to include everyone in your virtual meetings so everyone can feel seen and heard.
Before you send a message to an employee, check their local time. Use time management tools to learn your employees schedules and respect established boundaries and preferred work schedules.
Use tools to help with time zone management
There are many tools that can help you get a hand on all the different time zones your team sits in. Some great tools to help with time zone management are:
Google Calendar: Arguably the best calendar tool for teams, especially if your team sits across multiple time zones. You can set your current time zone, and then save the time zones you work with most. You can then switch between them, allowing you to get a better idea of what your team’s day-to-day looks like and when team meetings may work best.
The World Clock option is really beneficial for teams working in different time zones. You can turn it on in Settings, and then you’ll have visibility to a text-based clock.
Slack: Slack is one of the best tools for communicating with colleagues. By clicking on your colleagues’ profile, you can automatically see their local time.
Other great time zone management tools are: Timezone.io, Every Time Zone, and World Clock Meeting Planner.
Be clear with deadlines and expectations
If you’re managing a distributed team across multiple time zones, deadlines may get confusing. A 9AM deadline could be 9AM EST, PST, GMT, etc. Getting time zones mixed up is a very common mishap, so it’s important to remember this tip when working with a distributed team.
Similarly, a big part of managing a distributed team is being clear with your expectations. Your team should know exactly when you want them to check in, if they should track their time, what their colleagues’ schedules are, what their targets are, and more.
Setting remote working expectations will have your entire team feeling aligned, included, and confident.
Organize virtual socializing for your team
Creating a strong company culture is important, regardless if your team is remote or in-person. It’s much harder to get to know your colleagues when you’re working in different time zones. If you’re a manager, your goal should be to create an environment where everyone feels welcomed and included.
Hosting virtual happy hours, icebreakers, or games can help build personal connections within your team.
Dedicate time to newly hired employees for onboarding
Onboarding is the first impression your new employee gets of your organization. It’s easier for new employees to adapt to the company culture in a traditional office space. Other employees around them can help them feel more comfortable and guide them if necessary.
Creating a standardized onboarding process can ensure every employee gets the same onboarding experience, regardless of their time zone. In a remote environment, it’s critical to invest the time and energy to do onboarding well. Dedicating adequate onboarding time for new employees will enable them to get a better understanding of the company culture and the expectations set forth for them. A smooth onboarding experience will also help new employees familiarize themselves with the organization’s goals and become comfortable working with their new colleagues.
Look into purchasing memberships for your employees at a coworking space
There are many coworking options available globally. Coworking spaces are a great option for remote employees who need the energy of others to boost their productivity. By offering the option of working at a coworking space, you’re showing your employees that you care about their day-to-day work environment.
The bottom line
The most important things to remember when managing a distributed team are inclusion, respect, and trust. Following the above tips will help you create an inclusive environment for your digital team.
You can book a tour at any of our locations to learn more about coworking spaces and how they can benefit your distributed team.