Collaborating Across Different Time Zones

The development of technology broadened employers’ horizons and made collaboration across the globe possible. Globally distributed offices and teams are a reality now. So often teams have to work in different time zones.  The time difference between European countries comprises 1-2 hours which makes no significant difference. What about other countries throughout the world? Outsourcing to different time zones has a lot of benefits as well as poses numerous challenges.     

What are the benefits?  

The benefits are obvious and very alluring. Working with and outsourcing to companies around the world made round-the-clock productivity a reality. The time difference between Ukraine and the US varies between 7 to 10 hours. The same goes for Australia. It means your company can still accept phone calls, respond to emails, or pay invoices even if you sleep if you hire a team of remote employees. Basically, your projects keep getting pushed forward.  

Outsourcing to different time zones also gives access to a global pool of talent. Finding top talent is also a challenge. And if you have found a perfect teammate, but he or she lives across the ocean, you can still make work.   

No secret, that companies, especially in the United States, also hire remote employees in Europe because of the cost-effectiveness. It allows getting the same service at lower prices. 

What are the challenges?  

Working in different time zones can involve working odd hours. You can always make a sacrifice and meet your colleagues beyond your schedule. But when it becomes a routine, it can lead to burnout. 

Sometimes, working on different schedules makes setting up a meeting for the entire team next to impossible. As a result, your colleagues might not always be available when you need them.  

Different schedules might not be the only issue. Language can be a hurdle as well. The combination of odd hours and language gaps can result in an inability to clarify tasks and poor outcomes. 

The solution?  

No worries! Good management skills and some flexibility can handle it all.  

Effective communication strategy is halfway to success. It includes regular virtual meetings on a regular basis. It actually depends on your team’s needs how often you need to meet, but you should be aware of remote employees’ working hours, local holidays, etc. Mostly, meeting once a week is enough for catching up on assignments, deadlines, etc. You can rotate a meeting time so that each time someone else has to make a sacrifice. Meeting recordings and other written documents or guidelines might be an option for those who couldn’t join.  

Time zone management tools that help managers find overlapping time zones to schedule meetings are at your disposal. Project management tools are there to help you master asynchronous communication. They become indispensable when it comes to setting up a meeting, giving assignments, and meeting deadlines.  

Working split shifts, when you work your normal hours and odd hours once or two times a week helps to manage globally distributed teams a lot.   

How to get results?  

If you know how to delegate and the time management in your team is correct, the reporting and control system is all set, for certain businesses it makes no difference where the team is located. VAfromEurope is a team of professionals being delegated tasks ensuring business processes. Routine tasks like research, analysis, invoice processing, WordPress updating, calendar management, copywriting, etc do not always require being accomplished right away. In this case 5-10 min daily meetings are more than enough to get reports and set deadlines. On the other hand, administrative work or call centers should certainly adjust to the customer’s time. However, there always are a couple of overlapping hours that allow you to contact your team and clarify the details. 

Ukraine is 7 hours behind Australia and between 7 and 10 hours ahead of the US, which makes it a perfect country to outsource to. Why don’t you consider delegating some tasks and reducing your office expenses by outsourcing? If you haven’t done that yet, just think about it. If you feel like trying but still have any doubts, reach out to VAfromEurope and let’s discuss it. Looks like our team of dedicated professionals can help you out to make the process go smoothly.