In today’s interconnected world, working with people from different parts of the world has become increasingly common. However, coordinating meetings and managing schedules can be challenging when dealing with different time zones. Time zone differences can cause confusion, missed meetings, and delays in communication.
In this article, we will share some tips for managing time zones when working globally.
1. Understanding Time Zones
The first step to managing time zones when working globally is to understand them. Time zones are regions where the time is uniform throughout. There are 24 time zones globally, and they are divided by the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) line. The time zones to the east of the GMT line are ahead of GMT, while those to the west are behind GMT.
2. Daylight Saving Time
According to a survey conducted by the European Union, DST is most widely used in Europe, with 84% of European countries adopting the practice. This online consultation, which ran from 4 July to 16 August 2018, received 4.6 million responses from all 28 Member States, the highest number of responses ever received in any Commission public consultation. It is also essential to understand daylight saving time (DST). DST is a practice where the clock is advanced by one hour during the summer months to increase the amount of daylight. Not all countries observe DST, and those that do might have different dates for when it begins and ends.
3. Immediately notify third parties of your location.
You should immediately let people know what time zone you live in. When introducing yourself, let your colleagues know your schedule and preferred communication channels. You can also use this opportunity to set boundaries. Give an example of a situation when you’re able to be contacted — even though you’re off-the-clock.
Also, don’t forget to update them whenever necessary. You are responsible for sharing any changes in your schedule, whether you are switching shifts or clocking out early.
4. Decide on a fair time for meetings.
When working across time zones, it is important to set fair meeting times. After all, no one wants to get up at 5 a.m. for a check-in or stay up late for a meeting at 10 p.m. if it’s outside of their normal working hours.
In short, make sure you take everyone’s time zone into account when setting meeting times. What if there isn’t a way to make meeting times fair for everyone? In order to avoid inconveniencing the same people repeatedly, you may want to rotate the start time.
5. Specify dates and times clearly.
If there are different time zones represented within the discussion, try to be as precise as possible regarding times and dates. When referring to a specific time, everyone reading your message needs to be aware of it.
As an example, asking, “can we meet next Wednesday at 11 a.m. your time?” is not as good as asking, “can we meet next Wednesday at 11 a.m. EST time?”
For everyone to understand the different times, use a simple timezone converter tool.
Make sure not to mix up AM and PM times or use roman numerals when writing in a foreign language. Despite sounding like a small detail, this can cause confusion and unnecessary stress.
6. Be aware of cultural norms.
It’s important to understand the cultural norms and traditions of the countries in which your company has remote workers. They may work different hours, celebrate different holidays, or communicate differently due to these cultural differences.
In order to create a cohesive team, it is important to demonstrate an understanding of cultural differences.