It’s a small world: Tips for collaborating across time-zones
Working for a global organisation can be challenging, particularly navigating the issue of multiple time zones. 1-2 hours is definitely workable, but 6+ hours can sometimes prove challenging to the regular 9AM – 5PM workday.
What can you do to help mitigate the risks and challenges of working on a global scale?
Use your calendar religiously
The technology that is available at our disposal is amazing and as part of technological advancement our calendars can now help us with the meeting-planning-nightmare of multiple time zones. It can even work out the times in different territories for you. Take the stress out of organising meetings and let your calendar do the leg work for you.
Check, Check and check again
When arranging to speak with your team, make sure you are thoroughly and religiously checking the time and date details to make sure everyone is on the same page and that times are correct. Likewise, any correspondence with clients or partners in different time-zones must be reviewed for mistakes. Triple-checking is so important in situations where there are many moving parts just to make sure meetings and calls run smoothly and without confusion!
Have patience with response times
Despite the fact it may be midday for you; your team around the world could be on totally different time-zones. With that in mind, there may sometimes be a delay in getting responses to your emails. In a world of instant gratification; this can sometimes be frustrating. Likewise, if you have a request that may take you after 5pm to complete, but as a result of doing it, it will be actionable by your counterparts in the US on the same day, it is always worth putting in that extra time. Many hours and days can be lost collaborating across time-zones.
The super-important presentation that needs to be completed immediately (or yesterday in most cases!) has a deadline, and if you are working cross-territory that deadline can be difficult to negotiate. If it’s needed by ‘Friday’ it is always worth clarifying where in the world the recipient is, so you know how that time relates to your own. You may end up in hot water if you’re based in the UK, but your colleague in Australia is awaiting your presentation (they’re between 8 and 10 hours ahead of the UK at time of writing)
Always state the time-zone
It goes without saying, but never neglect the importance of stating the time-zone to your recipient. “I’ll call you at 9AM CET” makes things super clear and prevents a lot of confusion. It also shows the recipient that you are conscientious to their situation and have thought ahead about where in the world they are.
Don’t always arrange meetings for the most convenient time for you
It may be tempting to always arrange meetings for the middle of your work day, however your colleagues and clients will not thank you for it. Instead, think about how you can implement a system that would allow for rotation, meaning that it isn’t always the same people who are inconvenienced.
There are so many things that can be done to ensure that collaboration across time-zones works effectively and seamlessly. The above are just a few! Do you have any tips you always follow to make sure time-zone collaboration doesn’t cause issues in your business?