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.

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