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How to Manage a Team across Different Time Zones

Excited about your business growing overseas? Of course, you are! But, did you plan on how to manage teams and different employees located in various parts of the world? Having a team spread across different countries can give you access to new markets and high business reach, but only if you can successfully manage different employees of your team; located all over the world.

Globalization can bring new success to your organization as it is a proven fact that diversity helps innovate unique ideas and adds different perspectives to your project. 

The advancement in technology has enabled organizations to hire remotely, as it no longer requires their employees to work from the same location or even at the same time.

However, failing to manage your team working remotely from different corners can negatively impact the growth of your business by disengaging the workforce and reducing employee productivity. Satellite offices and remote work systems can create a huge communication gap in your system, making it difficult to create a strong professional relationship. 

To work successfully across different time zones, organizations need to focus on building a positive company culture, by removing all barriers that have originated due to the difference in time zones. If your diverse global staff is unable to stay on the same page, there is a high possibility that your employees will suffer from frustration and misalignment issues, which will eventually create a professional disconnection across teams.

So, if your company has turned into a global business and wants to retain all your valued employees, you will need to ensure that the employees in their respective time zone feel appreciated and respected. Moreover, you can also follow the below guidelines to create a better management strategy for your newly decentralized work culture.

Set clear work result expectations for your employees. 

Since you will not always be able to manage your employees in real-time, it is ideal that you clarify your expectations from your workforce at the very beginning. Scheduling and assigning a task list at the start of a week gives your employees a scope to analyze the target work beforehand. If they encounter any queries, a mutually suitable time can be assigned for a meeting to discuss them. Thus, setting weekly objectives can help keep the workflow going, irrespective of different time zones.

Be specific about your time zone in every aspect.

It is important to mark your standard work hours on the team calendar along with your and your employees’ time zone to avoid any confusion about work hour availability. Developing and using a management portal that displays the timeline with important time zones can help keep track of work schedules and updates and compare them to their respective time zones. 

Also, remember to be very specific with time zones while marking details for scheduled meetings, deadlines, or in any random project discussion. This helps your team in other parts of the world align the outlined time zone with theirs. Failing to clarify your expected time due to time zone boundaries can create confusion about submission dates, conference meeting time, and possibly, damage your entire strategy.

Use advanced platforms to streamline communication.

Schedule regular virtual meetings with your employees to review their work progress and stay connected. It is ideal to use an exclusive communication platform modified for your organization’s employees. By embracing virtual project management and meeting tools like progress tracker and task management software, you can rationalize your overseas communication system. 

It also helps increase work efficiency as you can track employee progress at your time and discuss it over a scheduled meeting. These tools also help you work on the same projects by easily coordinating with your teammates. Also, remember to schedule your meetings at a time that will be convenient not only for you but also for your employees.

Don’t fixate upon one particular day and time of the week for too long.

While it is suggested to decide a fixed day and time (according to the official time zone) for meetings to avoid the confusion of complex schedule updates. You should also consider altering it after a certain period. 

Since you have employees across several time zones, a scheduled meeting time can be convenient for few, while disappointing for the rest. So, in order to offer equal respect to every individual’s time zone, try changing meeting time at regular intervals.

Try to create less urgency.

It may seem inconsiderate on your part if you are not able to respect your employees’ off-hour value. As long as it is not absolutely necessary, avoid sending urgent work emails to your teammates or employees while they are off-duty. 

When sending an assignment, email, or before making a call, ensure that the time matches the receiver’s work hours. Planning ahead of time and maintaining a worklist according to urgency will help you manage task deadlines, despite the existing gap in time zones. Emergency situations are the exception, as both parties should understand the need of the hour for an organization’s growth.

Dedicate time to newly hired employees. 

In a traditional, physical office space, it is easier for a newly joined employee to adapt to work culture. This is because there are other teammates around to help guide them as needed. In contrast, in a remote work environment, you need to dedicate specific separate time to help newly hired employees understand and adapt to the work culture.

Appreciate your employees for their efficiency and don’t hesitate to invest in your team 

Appreciation plays a great role in building positive employee engagement remotely. Moreover, if your employees are putting effort into successfully balancing workloads in different management hours, they deserve little extra recognition. In addition to sending appreciation emails, you may also consider organizing fun, informative workshops that help employees bond with each other and allow them to grow professionally.

Balancing a global organization with employees working from different locations from all over the world can be challenging to say the least. Nevertheless, a well-strategized work culture that successfully manages work hours of different time zones, can conclusively mark massive growth for your company.

A well-managed global institution is more liable to gain industry benefits as they receive exposure in several markets and perspective to understand potential customers from different corners of the world.

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