Managing a Team Across 5 Time Zones

Take it from HubSpot Engineering Lead Jakub Derda, who has years of experience leading distributed teams. One of our challenges as a team is to strike the right balance between synchronous and asynchronous communication. Another handy one, especially if you’re planning a meeting across time zones, is Every Time Zone, which allows you to toggle around to see what the time of your choosing is across every time zone. Use this article as your guide to overcome these challenges and you’ll be well on your way to building strong relationships across time zones. Synchronous communication (« sync ») is when discussions are conducted in real-time, allowing for immediate responses and feedback between colleagues.

best practices for working across time zones

Developing a shared vision allows for a stronger foundation and creates a more positive work atmosphere, both of which are essential for success. With team members located in many places, it can be hard to keep track of schedules and vacation times. It’s a great way to share time off and any important dates with the whole group without revealing your entire personal calendar. If you are working with people in many regions and time zones, you can record sessions for employees to view later.

Determine everyone’s preferred work hours and time zone

Diverse teams made up of remote team members from around the world, especially in management positions, escape local echo chambers and build truly world-class products. During onboarding, make sure your communication policies and collaboration tools are properly defined and communicated. These rules can be reviewed and referred to by employees, so they know what to do and what is expected of them. When working with teams in different time zones, the most important thing to remember is to be mindful, empathic, and courteous.

You can also try asking them what times they are available during, and when their day starts/ends so you know how much overlap there will be with yours. When you are looking for employees or business partners, it can be tough to find the right person in an industry where ‘who you know’ is just as important as what you know. By hiring remote workers, you’ll never have to worry about geographical limitations again. Find the perfect JavaScript developer for your team with our comprehensive job description template.

Greenwich Mean Time

By being mindful of different schedules, using automation tools, and prioritizing communication as the most important thing, you can foster a productivity, progress, and teamwork culture. Mastering async communication offers increased flexibility, improved focus, better global collaboration, and inclusive participation as you allow remote employees to complete their work in their own time. It also makes space for autonomy, reduces pressure, and improves work-life balance for global teams. If you’re used to real-time communication, moving to asynchronous communication can be unsettling. However, shifting assumptions and processes is essential for global teams to thrive and deliver outstanding results.

  • Getting used to higher autonomy and async communication can be challenging, but there are more and more companies doing it–and doing it well.
  • Effectively navigating remote work across time zones, remote teams can transform the world into a virtual office where borders vanish, and collaboration knows no limits.
  • Do you want to improve your message writing skills when your team is working across time zones?
  • Flexible workers hours have been proven to reduce burnout, stress levels, and psychological distress while increasing job satisfaction.
  • To tackle this challenge, it’s essential to empathize with our team members in the furthest time zones and ensure that meeting times are reasonable for everyone.

The tool shown above is one that our awesome developer Dan made just for Buffer, and it helps us all a ton to know what’s going on with any teammate at a glance. (If you’re a developer yourself and want something similar, he’s made the code available on Github). It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that sending someone a quick email will save them time, when it may actually end up wasting more of their day. If you need something done urgently or want your co-worker to make a decision ASAP, pick up the phone and talk it out. The best way to keep things going well is to be occupied and busy only 80-90% of your working hours so that you have enough time to plan, think, organize and breathe.

AWS Developer Job Description (Template + Tips)

Communication is essential in any team, but it becomes more important when working with teams in different time zones. With cloud storage, you can bid farewell to the limitations of physical storage devices and embrace the flexibility of accessing documents from anywhere at any time. This eliminates the need to worry about time zone constraints or file compatibility issues, enabling smooth collaboration and efficient document sharing. Empower your team to tap into their creative potential during their most productive hours. By allowing employees to have more control over their working hours, employers foster an environment for enhanced productivity and job satisfaction.

Eastern Standard Time (EST) covers the states in the eastern part of North America and runs from Maine to Florida, while Central Standard Time (CST) includes Texas up to Montana. Mountain Standard Time (MST) spans Utah’s Rocky Mountains all the way over to Arizona, and Pacific Standard Time (PST) includes California and Nevada to Washington State. You can use an online tool like to determine the time zone your colleague is in.

This is probably the most obvious challenge of working across multiple time zones, and rightfully so. It can get overwhelming trying to set up a time that works for the entire team. While operating with time zone differences has its benefits, it’s also challenging. Particularly if you don’t introduce new processes to manage a truly global team. When everyone lives in different time zones, writing, planning, and documentation tend to become the default behavior for remote employees. This means people who were offline can dive into documentation to catch up, rather than having to wait for answers.

Asynchronous communication should be the norm for remote teams working across time zones, especially those with personnel in multiple time zones. Fortunately, employers can overcome this obstacle and encourage smooth collaboration by enhancing communication, utilizing technology and tools, and engaging in thoughtful planning. By mastering these aspects, you can efficiently arrange meetings and collaboration sessions that enhance productivity, inclusiveness, and engagement for remote team members across different time zones.