Remote work

Challenges of Working Remotely in Different Time Zones: 6 Strategies that Work

Feb 21st, 2023

With the rise of remote work, more employers are benefiting from hiring workers across the world. 

Despite all of the benefits of building a great remote global team, you will still need to figure out how to manage employees working across different time zones. 

When you manage time zones for your team correctly, you are able to regularly communicate and respect boundaries, as well as ensure that projects are being completed properly. 

Here are 7 tips that we recommend to help you navigate time zones for your global team. 

Tips for managing teams in different time zones 

1. Communicate boundaries and time zones 

When you’re first hiring remote global employees, you should specifically ask what time zone your new employee plans to work in and what their hours of work are going to look like. 

Employees may feel pressure to always say yes to a meeting or extra work, even if it falls out of their regular working hours. This can create a culture of overwork and burnout. That’s why it’s important to set expectations early on. 

2. Be specific when discussing dates and times

Set meetings and deadlines in multiple time zones, when necessary, especially when setting up calls with colleagues, vendors, and prospective employees. You wouldn’t want a talented employee to miss out on a job opportunity because of a time-zone mishap.

Even if you’re working with someone in the same country, you need to make sure that the deadline for an assignment is clear. Someone working on the east coast of the United States may finish a project during their regular business hours, but may be working with another employee in Colorado who would assume the project is being completed according to MST. 

3. Use virtual project management tools

To help keep track of your employees progress and to keep teams connected, you should make use of virtual tools like instant messaging, task management, and other progress trackers. This allows your employees to stay up-to-date with what other people are doing each day. 

Most importantly, using task management and progress trackers make it simple for employees in different time zones to login and see what an employee in another country has already completed during their workday. 

4. Be aware of when you’re sending out emails and notifications

Respecting your employees boundaries is key. This means you wouldn’t want to send an important email after they’ve logged off for the day and expect them to respond right away. 

Try to send out urgent emails early on in your work day, especially if you’re based in the United States or Latin America and are working with people based in Europe.

If you need to send an email outside of an employee's normal working hours, some platforms like Gmail and Slack give you the option to schedule an email or direct message to send at a specific day or time. If you’re sending a Slack message to someone outside of their working hours, for example, the platform will let you know that it’s probably too early or too late for them to be working.

5. Be mindful of scheduling meetings

If you plan to schedule team-wide meetings, be mindful of everyone's schedule. This may pose a difficult task if your company stretches from Singapore to San Francisco to Paris. However, it’s important for company culture and for everyone to not miss out on important information from the executive team.

6. Be flexible

Working remotely can already be taxing on maintaining communication and building relationships between coworkers, but adding differences in time zones can add further strain. 

Business leaders should set aside time in their schedules to jump on last minute calls in case any confusion arises for their overseas team members. 

Why companies partner with Via 

Many businesses want to hire remote employees and build global teams, but are unsure of how to navigate the work-from-home atmosphere. Via makes hiring international talent seamless. With our-easy-to-use platform, Via manages the local human resources processes for global employment such as work visas and permits, benefits, payroll, background checks, work data privacy, and more. Our team of local labor lawyers and on-the-ground experts ensure that your company remains compliant while expanding abroad. As your employer-of-record/entity, Via assumes responsibility for employment liability, so that you can focus on what matters: recruiting and managing your team. 

With Via’s transparent pricing, you can pay full-time employees or contractors across borders with no hidden set-up fees, no foreign exchange or transaction fees, and no minimums–start with 1 employee and scale up at your own pace. You can get started in 1-2 business days.

Need help building your global team?

Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson
My name is Janelle Watson and I'm a Colorado native. I have a BA in English from University of Colorado Colorado Springs and an MA in English from University of Colorado Denver. Before moving to blog and copywriting, I was an English teacher for 3 years at the University of Colorado in Denver. Prior to writing for Via, I wrote reviews and content for a local concert and promotion company in Denver.

Related Articles

Frequently asked questions

  • How do you manage teams across time zones? 

  • How do you communicate across different time zones? 

  • How do you deal with time zone differences in the workplace? 

  • How do you manage international meetings?