Home > Companies Q&A > Working Remotely > How does your team address different time zone challenges?

    How does your team address different time zone challenges?

  • ezhome

    Our entire company is online from 3pm-7pm GMT which means we have a 4-hour window for all hands meetings, daily standups, and the off-hand meeting or video call that will help overall productivity. This works great for some time zones and is more difficult for others. We know it’s a restriction and will narrow our pool of potential employees, but for us this overlap is highly important.

     1 vote |
  • AnswerFirst

    Currently, all of our remote employees are in the same time zone. We are a 24/7 operation so we do encounter scheduling conflicts with our overnight employees when we need to meet with them. Our management does a good job with altering their schedule to give them the same attention as the daytime staff. There is always a supervisor on shift with them too.

    |
  • Buffer

    We are very conscious of the times that different teammates work and ask them to include it in their Slack profile so that everyone can know when they might be online.

    We work to communicate as asynchronously as possible, whether by using Email, Discourse, or starting a project in Dropbox Paper, instead of using a tool like Slack all the time, which feels like more synchronous communication.

    We change up meeting times to try and make it more available to people around the world, or hold two different meeting times so that it’s during the day for everyone.

    This is definitely a challenge we’ll continue to work towards overcoming at Buffer.

    |
  • Coalition Technologies

    We offer some flexibility in work schedules so that team members can have somewhat of a normal schedule, but we also require work hours to overlap with other team members so everyone is available to communicate with other team members.

    |
  • Equivity

    First, establishing ahead of time when team members will be available. Second, hiring individuals who are willing to be flexible when necessary to coordinate with team members and get work done.

    |
  • FMTC

    We generally work on East Coast time (8am to 5pm) but have early birds on the East Coast and night owls on the West Coast, allowing nearly 24/7 coverage in some areas. Most of our meetings are between 11am and 3pm to account for timezone changes.

    |
  • Jungle Scout

    This is likely the largest challenge we face as a remote company.  I don’t like making people stay up late or get up super early to attend meetings, however, as the team gets fairly large with team members literally all around the world, it’s almost impossible not to.  We’ve decided that the company “operates” on the North/South America time zones so if you decide to live elsewhere in the world, you have to be the one staying up late or getting up early.  That being said, we try to accommodate everyone the best possible.  A nifty free tool we found for collaborating between lots of time zones is worldtimebuddy.com.  That makes it a lot easier to find a time that should work for everyone.

    |
  • OpenSnow

    Thankfully this isn’t a big issue, but as our team grows, it will become a challenge. More clearly communicating goals and aligning team members will be the way that we try to address this challenge.

    |
  • Packlane

    We have a very social and collaborative culture, where we talk about what we’re doing and what we’re up to personally. This tends to solidify in everyone’s minds that we’re far apart and have very different schedules. So, the communication adjustments have been mostly organic. Some employees use Slack settings to highlight their availability.

    We use a shared calendar to easily communicate availability, and also stagger schedules so that there is enough overlap for collaboration. Some other members of the team noticed that approximating their work hours for everyone helps keep communication smooth, so they do this as well.

    |
  • Remote Year

    Time zones are always a challenge to address, especially in Remote Year with our global presence.  We find that making sure our staff on the ground and close to our customers are equipped and enabled to react to customer inquiries a key part of our success.  From an internal operations perspective, we utilize both synchronous and asynchronous communications, and we make sure to book meeting well in advance and at consistent times to give everyone a fair opportunity attend.

    |
  • Scribendi

    Time zone differences can cause confusion within a remote team. Luckily, while the overall workflow has to be coordinated, the specific tasks for providing our services do not require simultaneous collaboration between workers in different time zones. And since we have remote editors around the world, we have no difficulty in handling these specific tasks in different time zones. As a result, time zone issues are less of a concern for us than for some companies. In addition, our customer service team is available seven days per week to help facilitate a smooth workflow, and the in-house team at headquarters is similarly available throughout the week to help remote workers resolve any issues that arise while editing.

    |
  • TOK.tv

    Slack and JIRA—the platform we use to track development tasks—are asynchronous tools, allowing us to manage communication even with different time zones. Of course, sometimes emergencies come up, but it’s an exception, not the norm.

    |
  • Ultimate Software

    Everyone is respectful of everyone else’s time and situation. However, if there is an important meeting scheduled at a normal time in EST, but very early for our Pacific coasters, our Pacific coast employees will typically wake up early and be on the call.

    |
  • VIPKID

    Mostly that’s a challenge for our teachers. Class schedules have to revolve around Chinese kids’ lives. In New York time, class slots are open starting at 4am in the morning and after 8pm at night.

    |