In today’s workplace, diversity breeds new and unique ideas, bringing more benefits to companies. In fact, by 2022, Gartner predicts that 75% of businesses with diverse frontline decision-makers will exceed their financial targets.
But, despite all the benefits of having a diverse global staff, companies are still trying to figure out how they can boost team employee synergy especially where they have teams working across different time zones.
The right communication will make your team more productive and focused while working remotely in different time zones, whilst the wrong communication will quickly lead to mistakes and setbacks.
Here are some tips that will help you communicate with other team members in different time zones.
Be as specific as possible when mentioning times and dates of anything that is happening, especially if you have different time zones being represented within the discussion. Everyone reading your message must know at what time you are referring.
A great example of writing a time email would be “can we meet next Tuesday at 10 A.M. EST time?” as opposed to “can we meet next Tuesday at 10 A.M. your time?”
To help you, you can make use a simple time zone converter tool to make sure everyone understands the different times you are talking about.
Remember not to mix AM and PM times or use roman numerals, as these can be misunderstood across different languages.
This may sound like a small detail but it is important as from experience, it has been the cause of a lot of confusion and unnecessary stress.
Showing that you value someone’s time is crucial and can be done in a variety of ways.
Ensuring that everyone is working during the best times for them by maximizing their productive time can help increase output from team members and prevent any feelings from arising about unfair treatment. This also shows that everyone’s time is valued and the feeling is reciprocated.
Timezones should also be considered when adding people to different chats; as a manager you should know that not everyone will be available to show up when you create an impromptu chat.
This also applies to messaging software like Slack; make sure everyone understands what times will be suitable for others by asking if they’re available during certain hours of the day rather than just setting a global standard.
In an age where artificial intelligence is quickly taking over many business processes, it’s important to show everyone in your company (both employees and customers) that the human touch isn’t lost.
The right organization is key to a successful working relationship, as without the correct organization it will be difficult for anyone involved to stay on track.
Make sure that everyone understands their responsibilities and what is expected of them. Organize a meeting with all team members at the beginning of every week to ensure that there are no miscommunications or misunderstandings about expectations.
By using a time zone visualization chart, you can ensure that everybody knows who should be working on what at which times.
This will benefit team members in different regions and prevent any issues with people not showing up due to them thinking a meeting was scheduled at a different time.
These visual aids don’t have to be overly complicated or fancy; you could simply print off a monthly calendar of your region and add color-coded annotations to highlight times that should not be scheduled – such as during specific national holidays or when people have taken time off.
With all of the technology at our fingertips, many teams are no longer required to work in the same location or at the same time.
To keep your team on task and working efficiently across the globe, leverage tools like instant messaging apps, task management software, and progress trackers which will enable anyone on your team to strategize and update teams on their progress at different times of the day.
Aside from allowing people to work on the same projects in different time zones, these tools allow global employees to stay on the same page about what aspects of a project have been completed.
For example, if an employee in Australia is working while Kenyan employees are offline, the Kenyan team can see what the Australian team completed when they were logged in and identify which tasks need to be completed next.
For those team members who don’t manage to make meetings (for one reason or another), record them and send out a recording afterward.
This ensures that everyone has access to important information even if they weren’t able to attend; and further enables discussions later on where decisions made at the meetings can be talked about and agreed upon.
Make sure to send a summary email immediately after a meeting so those who couldn’t attend can catch up. You could send those emails in bulk by using a simple email marketing service that allows you to send an email to a list of addresses at a time.
Finally, being flexible with employees doesn’t just mean treating them well within their role; it is about understanding what makes each person tick and developing a relationship with them so you can approach certain situations more effectively.
By truly understanding the needs of every individual, you will also understand how best to operate your business and how to work around these issues if they do arise.
By viewing people as cogs in a machine, one can often forget that individuals have lives outside of work. If this happens, it can lead to issues when trying to communicate with others due to time differences.
With the future of work being flexible, you need to take responsibility for the way your business operates and ensure that you are equipped with the best tools and systems to work with, rather than placing blame on other people.
If you take ownership of your actions and understand how they affect those around you, this can help strengthen relationships within teams which will ultimately help achieve better results within projects.
In conclusion, people generally want to know that what they do is valued and appreciated. This could be achieved through a variety of methods, including monetary gain, appreciation, or even simply knowing that their opinions matter and that what they have to say is worthwhile.
Ultimately, most important things to embrace and keep in mind when working with team members in different time zones are respect, empathy, and inclusion.
All of the steps above will enable you to create a schedule that works for your global team, include everyone in virtual meetings, and allow your diverse global teammates to contribute great ideas during their own work hours.
To learn more about key aspects of working with international or remote teams, check out these blog posts on hosting virtual meetings, working with global teammates, and international communication tips.
It is important to consider all team members when making decisions about how the company should operate; if one person feels undervalued, it could spread like wildfire throughout an office environment.
Having people working in different time zones is not ideal; however, it is a reality for many. With the technological advancements available today, it is easier than ever to ensure that everyone can work as efficiently as possible within their timezone and stay up-to-date with what other team members are doing.