Remote workers and companies experience lots of benefits—cost savings, less distractions, and increased productivity, to name a few. However, some challenges can present themselves in a remote work environment. If team members are spread out over states or even countries, working across time zones can get tricky. We’ve got a few etiquette rules to help you take this challenge head on and work effectively across time zones.
Here are five etiquette rules for working across time zones:
1. Set fair meeting times.
Working across time zones necessitates setting fair meeting times. You don’t want coworkers or employees getting up for a 5 a.m. meeting or staying up late to meet at 8 p.m. if it’s not in their normal working hours. Consider everyone’s time zone when setting meeting times and try rotating times if needed. If it’s not possible to make meeting times fair for everyone, your best bet could be to rotate the start time so that the same people aren’t inconvenienced every time.
2. Use tools to figure out time zones.
Make it easy to figure out everyone’s time zones by a quick glance. Using Outlook or Google calendar to schedule meetings will typically automatically adjust the meeting time for each participant. Try Every Time Zone to super quickly see what time it is where all your coworkers are located. Having tools in place will take the guesswork out of figuring out someone’s time zone, and can help you avoid reaching out to someone when they’re already off the clock or out for lunch.
3. Set one official time zone.
While you still want to be cognizant of others’ time zones, setting one official time zone for your company can help alleviate confusion. If each manager is setting meetings according to their own personal time zone, that leaves everyone else scrambling to translate it to their own. Adopting an official time zone means everyone will set and communicate meetings or deadlines with the same time zone, regardless of where they’re located. This can make it easier for employees to quickly know what the time difference is for their location.
4. Learn your coworkers’ schedules.
Learning your coworkers’ schedules can go a long way in good remote workplace etiquette. Whether you’re a manager or coworker, knowing employee schedules will help you know when they’re available for meetings, general chit-chat, or assistance. If you send an email at 1 p.m. asking a question of someone who’s already left for the day, let them know you’re aware they’re gone and that you don’t need an immediate answer. Things like this can go a long way in creating camaraderie and trust among employees when their work schedules are understood and respected.
5. Pay attention to cultural norms.
If your company has remote workers all over the world, it’s wise to be aware of the cultural norms and traditions of the countries in which they work. These cultural differences can dictate the hours they work, the holidays celebrated, and even the manner in which they prefer to communicate. Showing understanding of these cultural differences can go a long way in creating a cohesive team.
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