Okay, my next tip is to get in the habit of double-checking your times. If you’re going to work with global teams, it just happens even to the best of us. Even though I double-check and I’m constantly aware of it and I’m supposedly a pro, even I get time zones wrong every once in a while. That’s a very simple time zone check that you can do with yourself in just one other time. The next one is, and that is for scheduling meetings with people in different time zones. Database records that include a time stamp typically use UTC, especially when the database is part of a system that spans multiple time zones.

  • It can get overwhelming trying to set up a time that works for the entire team.
  • Remote work has a load of benefits but it isn’t without its challenges.
  • Modern DST was first proposed in 1907 and was in widespread use in 1916 as a wartime measure aimed at conserving coal.
  • Cultural diversity has the potential to unlock new ways of thinking and solving problems if you approach it with an open mind and empower people to bring their cultures to the table.

Working across time zones brings unique challenges rarely encountered within the more traditional work models. As the rewards largely outweigh the drawbacks, it’s worth exploring the best team practices provided above to make working across time zones work. They will help you craft your perfect blend of flexibility, asynchronous work, and inclusive mindset to push your distributed team towards perpetual success.

Leave Room for Synchronous Communication

Any team looking to boost remote cooperation while working should invest in one. No one should feel compelled to be alert when working remotely constantly. Employees who do not establish clear work boundaries risk burning out, which negatively impacts the entire team’s productivity, creativity, and collaboration. When working with teams in different time zones, the most important thing to remember is to be mindful, empathic, and courteous. Of course, for organizations working across time zones, this type of effort would involve coming up with creative ways to have everyone on board and involved in the conversation. It takes really getting to know your team members and tapping into their shared interests to get the casual conversation going.

describe your experience working across time zones and countries

Whether you’re working in-office, remotely, or in a global office outside of your main headquarters, make sure you are open to discussing your own work hours and boundaries with your dispersed team. Similarly, invite your teammates to discuss their own work hours and boundaries so that way you all are familiar with the different timezones your everyone is working within. This one allows you to change your own time zone for privacy reasons — and automatically takes into account daylight savings time in most areas in North America and Europe. If you want to turn the feature off (i.e., you live in Africa, Asia, or somewhere else without daylight savings), just click on the icon. If you tend to be mobile-heavy when it comes to calendars, you need to centralize your team’s time zones on your phone as well.

Just get everyone on UTC

Getting familiar with the map can help you visualize time zones before you even get to World Time Buddy in your browser (but, we still recommend using World Time Buddy to perfect your calculations). 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. One time, when we were working remotely and traveling as freelancers in Hanoi, Vietnam, working remotely in a different time zone Dan had a cross-time-zone meeting with clients in the US, Australia and somewhere else as well. For more on making meetings as productive as possible, see our guide to managing meetings when working remotely. It’s harder to get to know team members when everyone doesn’t work in the same office, not to mention in the same time zone. To curb this issue, encourage team members to build some “cushion” into their normal work schedules for check-ins or quick chats.

describe your experience working across time zones and countries

Tell us the skills you need and we’ll find the best developer for you in days, not weeks. Messages are clear and easy to grasp at a glance with just one simple emoji. These are also useful when your teammates don’t all speak the same language. Remote work has a load of benefits but it isn’t without its challenges. This article will help you overcome the most common remote work challenges. Abi is one of the co-founders of Himalayas where he focuses on product and growth.

Australia and New Zealand time zones overlap with India

Plus, you need to understand the differences between synchronous and asynchronous communication, and when to use each. As someone who’s managed marketing initiatives at companies with remote employees and offices around the world, I’ve seen what successful and unsuccessful international collaboration looks like first hand. Some teams have avoided the time zone drama altogether by simply getting everyone on 24 hour UTC/GMT time.

Being a self-starter, an excellent communicator, or an outstanding manager of time are all great qualities to present for an array of jobs. But when the work is being performed remotely, displaying your prowess in certain areas can make all the difference. Avoid forgetting to mention that you have moved and that time zones will be affecting your work.

Challenges of working across time zones

Add calendar events that block out “me” time on the calendar. Those blocks of time are going to be crucial in helping your work and team in the long-term. Since there was no way I was going to get up any earlier than I needed to, I started making a habit of ending my day by looking at my calendar for the next day and prepping for those future meetings. On that note, as a warning, guesswork can be a huge time-suck with remote work. Sometimes the messages my team sent on Slack were vague or confusing and I’d find myself approaching it like trying to decipher code.

  • Do you want to improve your message writing skills when your team is working remotely?
  • In fact, one of the aspects of the job that freelancers have the most trouble with is working to accommodate multiple time zones, and figuring out how to overcome time zone differences.
  • 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 was first suggested by Andreas Klinger, CTO at On Deck, and pioneered by GitLab co-founder and CEO Sid Sijbrandij and Darren Murph.
  • And, as team communication is directly correlated to productive collaboration, it can lead to unnecessary delays, missed messages, and an overall drop in productivity.
  • For instance, we like to use Google Calendar and add the holidays of people around the company.

When managing remote team members, the most important thing to keep in mind is to provide an inclusive experience for all. However, when you throw various time zones into the mix, things can get a bit trickier as any questions or concerns that arise can’t always be answered instantaneously. Gone are the days where you just need to know Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones. While remote, you may be noticing meetings have piled onto your calendar. Go in with a documented agenda, questions, and especially with an understanding of the purpose and ideal outcome of the meeting.

Think about how you like to organize work and explain to the interviewer how that helps you get your work done. Do you like old-fashioned to-do lists and make one up every day just to cross off your accomplishments? Are you really into calendars and scheduling tasks and blocks of time to work? Maybe you like to put up the “do not disturb” sign and get really deep into your work, turning off all push notifications until the task is complete. If you’ve never worked remotely before, talk about how you’ve tackled distractions while working in the office.