The Pros and Cons of having Employees Work in Different Time Zones
Some companies today have all of their employees working in one main headquarters or office location. However, with the ease of telecommuting, many other companies have remote employees positioned at different locations and working in different time zones around the world. Before you open up any additional offices or hire at-home staff for your own business, take a moment to consider the pros and cons of working with teams in different time zones and what you can do to get maximum productivity.
Pros of Working in Different Time Zones:
Clearly, there are benefits associated with having employees in different time zones. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have even considered doing so. Below are some of the best benefits of working with teams in different time zones.
1. Someone is always online
The best benefit is the ability to serve customers or clients in different geographic locations on a personal basis. Customers will almost always catch someone on the phone or online who can answer their questions and help their issues. This is beneficial on many levels. It increases customer satisfaction as well as your overall customer base. If people know they can reach you at a convenient time for them, they’re more likely to continue to be your customer.
2. Productivity is boosted
Thanks to modern technology, companies can utilize online sharing features to maximize productivity and extend the work day. For example, one employee may start an assignment on the East Coast and another may finish the assignment later in the day on the West Coast. It’s like being open 24/7 without the disadvantages of having to actually work all those extra hours.
3. Better job candidates to choose from
If you open your search to candidates around the globe, you have a better chance of finding better talent that you might have otherwise missed due to location restrictions. You can hire globally, not just nationally or within the state.
4. Less distractions
In addition to more productivity throughout the day, your employees will have more “quiet time”, especially if they’re the only one in their time zone or the only one on that team in that time zone. While their coworkers are sleeping or getting ready for the day, they’ll be hard at work with no emails or messages to check since no one else is working at that time. They’ll also be more efficient with the time they share with their coworkers to ensure they communicate whatever they need to while everyone is “in the office”. This is another great pro of working with teams in different time zones.
Cons of Working in Different Time Zones:
There are definite challenges of working in different time zones that you will need to overcome, but you can overcome them. Below are some of the cons of working with teams in different time zones in addition to solutions to those problems.
1. Lack of communication
The most significant drawback of workers in different times is the hindered communication between co-workers throughout the day. For instance, when the staff members at one office are just starting their work day, the staff members at another office may be going to lunch. This is also true for international remote workers who have opposite sleep schedules.
File sharing and quick email responses are usually the best weapons to combat time zone miscommunications. You’ll also want to make sure you hire people who can do their work with little to no supervision. That way, you don’t have employees waiting for hours for direction on what to do next.
2. Meeting times can be erratic
One of the challenges of working in different time zones means that when you have a meeting, someone will have to be flexible and willing to meet at what might be an outrageous time compared to their usual schedule. This is especially true if you’re working in completely opposite time zones, which is a challenge in itself.
One way to combat this challenge is to alternate meeting times so that the same people aren’t always staying up late or getting up super early to accommodate the rest of the team. Make sure to communicate with your team beforehand so nobody gets an unexpected meeting invite for 2:00 AM the next day that throws them off guard and causes unnecessary tension. Another solution is to have meetings in person throughout the year. You can book a meeting space in a location that’s convenient for everyone. You can make it more fun by making it a company retreat that everyone will look forward to.
3. Socializing can feel unnatural
When you’re working in the office with someone, socializing comes naturally and can be a great way to bond with teammates. When you’re working in different time zones, it can be hard to socialize at all, especially if nobody works in the same time zone as you. One easy way to fix this issue is to have online communication, such as Slack or another form of instant messaging. If you miss a team chat in real time, you can always view it later and make a comment to let the team know your thoughts and feel like a part of the group.
4. Keeping track of time can be overwhelming
A significant challenge of working in different time zones is keeping track of all the time zones. Depending on how many time zones you’re juggling, it can be a struggle to keep track of who is where and what time it is there. Scheduling a meeting can take 10 extra minutes just to figure out what time it is for everyone who needs to be there. This can become quite a headache if not handled properly.
Luckily, there are apps and websites to help you keep track of different time zones easily. If you’re using a website, bookmark it and review it as often as needed. If you’ve got an app, check it as often as you need to, and don’t worry about trying to keep all that information in your head.
Is Working in Different Time Zones Worth It?
The answer may vary depending on your business needs but generally, yes, it’s worth it. While there are both pros and cons to having employees working in different time zones, the benefits are generally far more significant. The trick is to understand the rhythm of each remote office and each remote worker to get the most work done during the workweek. Stay in touch and don’t forget to utilize all your resources to make working in different time zones a breeze.
Having a virtual office can help fulfill some of your needs while working remotely in different time zones. Contact us or check out these features to learn more about how Davinci Virtual can help you and your business make the most of working in different time zones.