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General Question (1)
What is the best way to handle a large time difference, such as 7 or 8 hours, between managers and remote employees?
Working with multiple time zones can always be a challenge in finding times for the team to communicate with each other and you. Two key things can help in this.
- Re-define how we identify work. It cannot be defined as a regular work day such as 8AM-5PM. It may have to be a 7-4PM day or 9-6PM, depending on time zones, to find some hours where everyone can work together, or communicate with you. It can also be key days of the week where everyone has to be available during unique times for “team communication” opportunities.
- Identify and communicate the crossover times that work best for inter-team communication. Find blocks of 2 hours each day, between those 7-8 hour time differences, where everyone needs to be available. Schedule team calls or one-on-one calls during these times.
- You may have a sliding scale schedule that lists times when everyone on the team is available, as well as times where a couple of other time zones may have crossover work hours with each other. By setting these “time to work” guidelines, you set expectations on when people can contact their coworkers, and you successfully, and when they can expect responses.
- As well, set expectations on when people can look for responses on their email communications. Is it within 24 hours of when the other person received it? Or maybe its within 24 hours of when they received it starting at 8AM their time (since they most likely won’t read an email at night).
By setting up these guidelines, you will help eliminate frustrations on delayed response times due to time zone differences, as well as make it easy for each person to know when they can reach their teammates and you.
Meet Our Expert
Jenny Douras is Vice President at Mission Critical Systems, a Denver based company, offering software and professional development training services that increase productivity and improve results.
Jenny’s background includes over 20 years in training, management, Instructional Design, and consulting in building and working with remote teams. She has worked with Fortune 500 clients including: Samsung, Lexmark, Burger King, Microsoft, as well as many government organizations. She has managed training, sales, customer service, and marketing teams of up to 300 employees across multiple states and countries including Canada and the Caribbean.
She has also been a national speaker conducting workshops across the country. She specializes in knowledge management, motivating employees, managing a remote workforce, hiring to reduce employee turnover, technology industry focused consulting, and developing and delivering training that generates high retention learning. Jenny served on the board for 3 years for the American Society of Training and Development – Rocky Mountain Chapter, as the Vice President of Marketing and Communications, as well as Technology.