Challenges and Benefits of Working Across Time Zones

Hofstede et al. (1997) define these problems as “unintended conflicts.” Problems may occur with each contradiction or confrontation between differing values, beliefs and assumptions. They are hard to solve because people are often not aware of their own values any more than they are aware of the values of others, so they do not understand each other’s cultures well enough to resolve conflicts. Yet, researchers also report some negative aspects as well as inherent dangers of CMC, such as isolation, conflict, the slow and frustrating nature of online communication, the distracting elements of computers, and the lack of various social cues. As for a multicultural group environment, each group member adds their own unique experiences and talents to the team, which is a powerful way to conduct the work.

Also, the vocabulary, grammar and meaning of time vary widely around the world (Elashmawi & Harris, 1993). In addition to confounding my brain, time zones also provide some fun and interesting challenges when it comes to how we all work together at Buffer as a fully remote, distributed team. Our remote work series continues with two GitHub leaders who oversee international functions. Maneesh Sharma, the General Manager for GitHub in India, has a 20-year career in conceptualizing, building, marketing, selling, and supporting products. He loves working in strategic and operational roles across functions—all while raising two teenagers. Bassem Asseh, GitHub’s Regional Vice President of Enterprise Solutions for EMEA, has 20 years of experience across the software industry, including software development processes, digital transformation, collaboration, and content management.

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While it may be the middle of the day for one worker, it may be midnight for another, and frequently sending work messages at an inconvenient hour can result in burnout and stress. Likewise, employees should inform their manager and teammates about the best way to reach them outside of working hours if an emergency arises. Many business leaders are re-calibrating and tailoring their operations to best support a dispersed workforce. Here we’ll explore several tips for SMB leaders and managers to accommodate employees working across time zones. Working remotely in a different time zone presents distinct issues not seen in more standard work structures. Because the benefits exceed the negatives, it’s worth investigating the best team practices outlined above for successful working across time zones.

  • Everyone is comfortable with video conferencing now and can work within the constraints presented by this pandemic, though this can certainly impact customers in different ways.
  • That way, the time zone for each recipient get’s adjusted automatically according to their time zone.
  • In the long run, this is a way for scattered teammates to participate in group projects no matter their time zone.
  • While this presents opportunities for collaboration and innovation, it also brings complexities regarding effective communication and cultural sensitivity.

The threat of a diminished company culture is real, and many remote workers fear they’ll be left out or overlooked for professional opportunities. But there are ways SMB leaders can strengthen their remote culture and keep everyone happy. Managers of dispersed teams should make a conscious effort to check in regularly and connect with individual team members as well as the group as a whole. These meetings not only improve the relationships between specific colleagues, but also contribute to maintaining team cohesion. You may suggest engaging team activities and play entertaining team-building games intended for virtual teams there.

Establish a Common Time Zone

While operating with time zone differences has its benefits, it’s also challenging. While it can be challenging to manage a distributed team, fully remote companies have many benefits. This is why we’re seeing a consistent increase in the number of distributed teams hiring globally. Also, show empathy and understanding towards your team members or remote employees, as they may be making similar sacrifices to accommodate your needs. Maintaining open lines of communication and a positive attitude can go a long way in building strong relationships with your colleagues. One of the most significant challenges of working in a different time zone is the potential for communication barriers.

working with resources of different cultures across time zones while establishing

However, there are several best practices that can help create a cohesive team culture. It seems apparent that the lack of research that targets cultural issues in collaborative working/learning environments is likely to have negative consequences for both team members and organizations/institutions in such collaboration. There are still many questions that need to be addressed by researchers who are focused on better working remotely in a different time zone understanding the issues that affect collaboration among multicultural VTs. Information and communication tools offer one of the most exciting and effective ways to teach people how to collaborate by connecting teams around the world. Collaborative learning and working is challenging when team members who are working together come from different nations with varied cultures, histories, and socio-political beliefs.

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To maximize their procedures and general culture, internationally distributed teams typically choose asynchronous collaboration as their preferred approach. This is not unexpected considering that the adaptability of asynchronous collaboration is the appropriate solution to the issues of time zone management. Despite the apparent hurdles, such as the issue of organizing meetings across time zones with substantial time zone differences, the advantages exceed the constraints – at least from a corporate standpoint.

working with resources of different cultures across time zones while establishing






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