As remote work and satellite offices become the new normal in the corporate world, marketers are discovering that diverse and global teams are beneficial and attract more businesses. It boosts the company’s culture and also increases cross-cultural tolerance in individuals working in a team.
In the modern workplace, diversity breeds innovation, unique ideas, and creativity. As people from different backgrounds put forward views based on different experiences and approach things from a different point of view. When combined in harmony, all this drives financial benefits and profits, the ultimate goal of every business.
Despite all the benefits of a diverse remote workforce, companies are still looking for ways to effectively manage and deal with teams working across different time zones. However, when you have a well-thought-out game plan for international collaboration, the chances of it turning into a successful one increase.
These perfect strategies enable you to talk and interact with colleagues from the opposite parts of the world, giving you the opportunity to learn how things are in that part of the world.
While creating strategies and mechanisms that allow employees to work is logistically beneficial, it also enables you to attract quality global talent to work in your team. The below article provides some useful tips to work successfully and efficiently with teammates in different time zones.
Set Appropriate Working Hours
One of the most challenging tasks while working with team members in different time zones is coming up with matching working hours. However, demanding the same working hours for the whole team in remote situations is like killing the basic benefit of remote employment. Rather than working completely asynchronously or asking the team to be working for the same eight hours, find a middle solution.
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Ask everyone about their preferred working hours. You will have some early birds, some night owls, and some split-duty people on your team. Considering their personal traits, come up with a plan where some work a few hours later than normal office hours and some work a little earlier than the routine, depending on their time zones.
This will give you a partial day overlap, which means you will have time when all your team members will be active, perfect for organizing meetings and calls without asking someone to adjust their timings.
Be Mindful About Other Teammate’s Work Hours
Once you and your teammates have settled on a time decision and preferred working hours respect them. This means you need to assess the task’s urgency when you need something from your global teammate.
Your priority should be scheduling virtual calls, meetings, and discussion sessions on particular projects when all the team members are on duty. The set overlapping hours are there to make the best use of them, instead of asking a team member to join in late at night or early in the morning.
When your international teammates feel like their schedules are being respected, they feel happier and less stressed about working in a cross country team or have an easier time tuning out of the work communication outside their normal work hours. In return, all these things result in employee retention, greater productivity, and overall great team performance and profitability.
Communication Is Key
When working across time zones, communication becomes even more inevitable. The need to communicate about the wants and needs of the team increases even more than normal. Clearly mark the work as an urgent, important priority, or if you have time category. Make sure the work you request gets done by a certain time is also reasonable according to the other person’s time zone.
Sometimes you may assign a task at 9 am for you, and getting it done by the end of the day seems reasonable; maybe the one you are assigning the task to is about to sign off as it is 6 pm for them. This discrepancy in reality and expectation can induce conflicts in the workplace. Therefore, communicate clearly and make adjustments accordingly.
The best benefit offered by globally distributed teams is their diversity in culture, home countries, and perceptions. This can be a valuable asset in terms of perceptions, innovation, ideas, and insights, but it can also turn into a challenge and point of conflict if this diversity is not correctly recognized and addressed.
Allow your teammates to enjoy holidays according to the festivities and important days based in their home country, instead of making them follow the holiday calendar of the country the business is based in.
While the world is moving towards remote work, there is still a need to spend some valuable time together with your team whenever possible. So, organize an off-site retreat where the team can come together and know each other more by taking a plow on some work challenges. It can be done virtually. Zone meetups or, in the case of big companies, country meetups can do wonders in developing a company’s culture even in a virtual working environment.