Whether you have clients scattered around the world, or colleagues in different countries, you’ll be all too aware of the difficulties that can occur when working across time zones. We live in a time of globalisation where technology allows us to communicate with anyone, wherever in the world they may be, instantly, at the touch of a button. And, while it’s undoubtedly made it easier to conduct business, you can end up with employees checking their emails 24/7 if not managed correctly. With that in mind, here are top 5 tips to working effectively across time zones.
Specify a time zone
You’d think this is a given, but it’s so important to specify which time zone you’re arranging a meeting or a call for. You don’t want to wake up to seven missed calls from the Singapore office because you specified 12.30pm rather than 12.30pm GMT. It’s a mistake you’re only likely to ever make once, but why learn the hard way?
Make use of calendars
One way to make sure everyone is on the same page is using time management applications such as Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar. By sharing calendars you can keep track of who’s doing what, and, also, when you make appointments, the time is automatically adjusted according to each other’s time zone.
Get app happy
Calendars are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tools that assist with working across time zones. Adding the clocks of your colleagues and key clients to your smartphone is a good start but websites such as Every Time Zone take things to the next level. If you’re anything like us then it can be difficult to juggle multiple time zones in your head. But, as you might have guessed by its name, Every Time Zone displays times around the world in a simple, easy to digest format.
Share the burden
If you have to organise appointments outside of office hours, make sure to take turns firing up Skype at 8:00pm. If you’re dealing with clients, you might have less of a say – it all depends on how good your relationship is with them!
While we may think society is increasingly moving online, research suggests that millennials actually prefer face-to-face meetings – even more so than older generations! So, while it may be easier and cheaper to email, instant message, call or conference – push the boat out once in a while and get everyone in the same room. There’s no replacement for the bonding between employees than actually getting together in one place.