Managing Distributed Teams

How to overcome time zone differences

Learn how to harness the benefits of multiple time zones.
June 7, 2022
Oyster Team
Clocks showing time zone overlaps and differences

One of the biggest perks of remote hiring is the ability to bring the best talent from all over the globe into your company. Gone are the days of having to only hire local employees that can work in a traditional office setting. You can now search everywhere for the perfect hire. 

With global hiring, you’re sure to have employees working in different time zones. While this can challenge you in some ways, the benefits far outweigh the potential drawbacks. For example:

  • Customer service around the clock
  • Positive impact on company culture
  • Improved team communication and collaboration

And that’s just the start. As your international team grows, you’ll come to realize additional benefits that grow alongside them. 

5 ways to overcome workplace time zone differences

Above all else, you must prepare for any time zone differences to facilitate an effective and efficient relationship between employer and employee. With this in mind, here are five tips to consider:

1. Use online tools

Effective communication and collaboration often come down to one thing: using the right online tools. For instance, a video conferencing tool is critical to a global team’s success because it allows everyone to communicate in real time when necessary. 

With time zone differences in play, it’s also important to find tools for asynchronous communication. This allows for effective communication that doesn't take place in real time. 

2. Keep an open line of communication

With time zone overlap, there will be plenty of opportunities to communicate with team members around the world. Keeping an open line of communication via instant messenger allows for real-time, fast, and simple conversations. You can use this tool to communicate synchronously or asynchronously. 

3. Set expectations

This is critical for both managers and employees. Managers must understand the benefits and drawbacks of a distributed team, and then use this information to set realistic expectations. 

Conversely, let your global employees explain what they consider to be reasonable expectations. You can then merge the two to create a day-to-day work outline that is mutually beneficial. 

4. Don’t micromanage

There’s no faster way to bog down a remote employee than by micromanaging them. Avoid the following:

  • Asking the worker to check in at specific times throughout the day.
  • Sending random messages at off times to see if they’re working. 
  • Requesting that they track every task that they complete. 

More than 70% of employees say that micromanaging interferes with their performance. Don’t let this stop you from maintaining a solid work relationship with remote workers. You hired the worker for a reason; trust them to do their job as intended. 

5. Ask for regular feedback

It’s not always easy to overcome time zone differences. You’ll likely have your fair share of struggles in the short and long term. Feedback is the key to overcoming these struggles and developing an effective cadence. 

Ask your employees for regular feedback. What’s working for them? What isn’t? What would they like the organization to change?

You should also provide feedback as necessary. Sweeping an important issue under the rug won’t make it go away. Instead,  it can put a strain on your relationship. Consistent feedback goes hand in hand with keeping an open line of communication.

Time zone overlap

Depending on company needs, you may want to ensure that there’s some overlap between when your employees’ working days usually start and end. With the right overlap you always know that somebody is working, which can give you peace of mind.

Our time zone overlap visualizer can help you find the best time zones for your situation. All you have to do is choose the minimum amount of crossover time that you want with your team. From there, the visualizer discovers new locations to hire from globally. This is preferable to guessing and hoping for the best. 

In addition to providing this tool, our global employment platform is designed to help you find, hire, and manage a distributed workforce. We give you everything you need to provide international team members with the same high-level experience as those in your home country. Take Oyster for a test drive by signing up for an account today.

About Oyster

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. Oyster lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.

About the Author

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, engage, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce.

About the Author

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