Strategies to Manage Remote Teams Across Multiple Time Zones
Nearly half of employees worked remotely full-time during the pandemic, and the remote working trend has continued to gather pace since.
More and more people are now choosing to work remotely, and the systems and services that facilitate remote working have become indispensable. These systems enable businesses to source and tap talent no matter their geographic location, including internationally.
With remote working systems and technologies that allow seamless remote work, such as team communication and chat apps, screen sharing, video conferencing, and online project management software, you know your team can push your business or organization’s agenda and processes no matter the physical location and time zone, whether it is night or day.
Of course, there are challenges when it comes to remote working. For example, if you’ve got virtual offices in Melbourne and some staff working out of the United States. The middle of Australia is nearly 15 hours ahead of the center of the US, which can pose some challenges.
In such a scenario, how does a remote team that’s divided by such a massive difference in time work optimally? Well, there are some strategies you can use to effectively manage a remote team across multiple time zones.
Here are five of the best ways to nurture teamwork and effectively manage a remote team across multiple time zones for seamless remote working:
1. Engage in Virtual Team Building
One way to achieve greater cohesion in your team is to host virtual events that’ll boost staff confidence and morale. To effectively collaborate and communicate better, there has to be a bond between everyone who makes up the business.
There’s an assortment of activities that can foster kinship among your team. You could do trivia competitions, host a comedy workshop, or even run a storytelling competition.
2. Eliminate Vagueness
There has to be clarity around who’s accessible and when. There shouldn’t be any confusion surrounding what a task is, who is responsible for it, and how it’s meant to be executed. Likewise, everyone should be familiar with the tools you use to get work done.
Be precise with dates and times, and create an environment where everyone is open about what hours they can and cannot do. If someone can’t attend a meeting, they must be proactive in letting you know and offering an alternative way to ensure they’re up-to-speed.
Not only that, but there has to be an awareness of where compromises can be made. After all, some people are night owls and may not mind working late into the night, while others prefer to work in the morning.
3. Use Virtual Workplace Software
Video conferencing tools have become a part of our lives, especially since the COVID-19 outbreak. As great as these tools are, seamless cooperation can still be a challenge.
For best results, stock up on project management systems and shared agenda apps, and make use of cloud storage services. Productivity applications, time converting and time tracking platforms, accountability and reporting tools – all of these should be at your disposal.
4. Accommodate Everyone
Discriminating against someone because they’re in a different time zone is something you want to avoid at all costs. To prevent this, develop a schedule that everyone can adhere to, seeing to it that compromises are made to make everyone happy.
If it’s 8 AM in Australia, for example, you know it’ll probably be some time after lunch in America. You need to be aware of the time differences in order to make sure everyone is comfortable, especially when holding meetings.
5. Keep Communication Within Active Hours
Accommodating everyone also means holding off on messages that don’t require international team members’ immediate attention. Don’t deliver a message in the late hours of the night or the early hours of the morning.
Instead, either send messages when they’re active or encourage them to turn off notifications during their downtime. Many email services will let you schedule your messages beforehand, which is great if you want to avoid staying up just to send an email.
Those are some of the best ways to navigate the intricacies of time disparity in your globalized company. Always put yourself in your employee’s shoes, making sure nobody feels left out.
Fairness is essential when it comes to earning loyalty from your people, and the entire team must agree on what works best for everyone.