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3 Tips for Working in a Different Time Zone Than Your Co-Workers

Remote work became the theme of 2020, but it’s not a fleeting idea. According to one survey, 74% of workers expect remote work to transition from a contingency plan to a standard form of practice.

As people find more opportunities for remote work, they will continue to spread out between timezones. And those changes can present opportunities as well as challenges.

Are you joining an organization that operates across timezones? Here are three tips for maintaining those relationships.

Be Mindful with Meeting Times

Working between Central and Eastern time can be done with a bit of consideration and extra effort. But the difference between Eastern and Pacific? It’s a different story.

Do your best to keep meetings within normal working hours. When that’s not possible, make sure you don’t consistently burden one party with the unsocial hour. For example, if you work on EST and you have a colleague in Australia, you can take turns with anti-social meeting hours so that one party doesn’t consistently find themselves online at 8 PM or 6 AM.

Use Calendars to Set and Share Schedules

Encouraging calendar sharing is the simplest way to set deadlines, schedule meetings, and manage expectations.

For example, if you want to schedule a Zoom call, you can send out an invitation and hope it works for everyone. However, when you share calendars, you can go into the organization calendar and look for a time when you’re free.

You may also find it helpful for people to schedule out-of-office events, deep work hours, or hours generally out-of-bounds for video or phone calls. Then, you’ll schedule mutually agreeable meetings and avoid rescheduling.

Keep Cultural Norms in Mind

American work culture insists that 7:30 AM meetings are part of life. In Britain, setting a 7:30 AM meeting makes you a tyrant.

Cultural norms impact working hours and days as well as pace, workflows, and collaboration. Being understanding of how others use their work time will go a long way in ironing out issues before they become contentious.

 

Are you looking for your next role and hoping to land a remote option? Visit RightStone’s job board to find a new opportunity to work with coworkers across the United States and beyond.


Managing a Remote Workforce- Leading at a Distance

In 2019 and early 2020, articles about remote work were still in the ‘what if’ phase. Back then, 55% of businesses worldwide allowed for remote work in some shape or form — and only 4.7 million people were already working at home. 

If you find yourself leading from a distance, or are looking for a new leadership role in this climate, use these tips to help settle in and support your team as you all adjust to this new style of work.

Express Yourself Visually

What says “good job” more effectively? A short email that simply says, “good work” or a funny GIF or emoji? Very often, animations communicate feedback better than text because they pick up on the non-verbal communication you miss out on when you work remotely.

So, use emoji replies on Slack, send GIFs in an email, and do it consistently.

And don’t forget to reiterate your praise on video calls. It means more than you think.

Build in Time for Conversation

When you’re all at home, it seems prudent to hop on a call, talk about what needs to happen, and then get back to what you were doing. Running a meeting or call this way makes it very transactional, and that’s not good for your team.

You need to build relationships with your team members as people, so build time for chatting into your meetings. It will help you get to know your team, build rapport, and indicate what issues your team are having before they become problems.

Trust Your Team

If you don’t trust a member of your team, then you shouldn’t have hired them. But since they’re here, you should know you can rely on them.

You don’t need to rely on blind trust. Instead, set your expectations early and make them clear. Then, everyone is on the same page, and no one is left waiting for a deliverable.

Focus on Goals Rather Than Activity

A big problem managers face when leading remote teams is their emphasis on activity. They think: what if they aren’t working for eight hours? How can I tell?

The truth is that your on-site employees aren’t engaging in work activity for every minute they’re at the office either. The only difference is that you can drop in on them.

Rather than getting hung up on minutes worked, focus on goals. Is the work getting done? Is it on time? Is it of the quality you outlined in your expectations? If the answer to those questions is yes, then you have a productive team.

Get Ready to Lead Remotely

Today, everyone who can is by-and-large working from home, and leaders are leading from home. Learning to manage a remote workforce is very different from getting to grips with telecommuting tools. You need a whole new style that accounts for the lack of literal facetime.

Are you looking for your next leader, or needing to hire for a remote team? Get in touch to learn about our fine-tuned process for placing skilled IT professionals.


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