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How to Manage Engineering Teams in Different Timezones

Vlad Vakser Vlad Vakser | December 7, 2018 | 5 min

Let’s get into more detail on how you can effectively manage an augmented team when you work in different time zones

A growing number of companies prefer to work remotely, and many of them are taking steps to hire employees or even entire departments from all over the world. One of the significant challenges of this widely distributed cooperation is the time difference.

This challenge, however, can be turned into a great benefit. Let’s imagine that your core team is located in the U.S., while a remote unit is based in Europe. Thanks to the time-zone differences, your company can employ a continuous development process while still working a typical “nine-to-five” workday. While one unit is sleeping at night, the other team is active in the daytime. Your company is able to be productive around the clock.

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#1 Ensure Effective Communication

Effective communication is an essential tool to achieve and sustain productive relationships in the workplace. When you have a remote team working in another time zone, communication becomes even more crucial.

Having agreed how to communicate through professional online software like GoToMeeting, Highfive, and Zoom, you can be accessible on any device and eventually be more productive.

To interact with your employees effectively, make sure that you clearly understand the communication styles of your workers. In addition, cultural awareness can help you to develop positive communication with your remote team.

Working with a proven contractor that provides you with professional extended teams could mitigate any cultural issues you may otherwise encounter with cross-cultural employment.

#2 Create a Virtual Water Cooler

In any regular office environment, team building is an essential way to build good communication. When it comes to remote teams, gathering team members and strengthening ties between them is often challenging as they operate in different time zones and almost never meet in real life.

That’s where the virtual water cooler comes in. This online conversation stream enables your workers to communicate with one another easily and effectively.

There is a wide variety of such applications that help your employees to have more casual conversations. Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Yammer, and Interact are some of them allowing you to minimize the sense of distance for your remote employees.

#3 Establish Your Local Time Zone as the Default Time Standard

As your remote unit extends, finding a meeting time that’s convenient for every member of your team will become an issue. That’s why it’s vital to set up the default time standard and create a schedule at the most suitable time for your team.

Even if your company has no formal headquarters, choose a time zone to consider your “home.”

For example, if your home office is on the East Coast of the United States, while an augmented team sits in Europe, the most convenient time for you to conduct meetings would be from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (EST) because of the time-zone difference. Thus, cooperation with a remote team from Europe, for example, Ukraine or Poland, provides you with two hours of overlap with the USA.

For those who collaborate with engineers from Asia, it’s ideal to schedule a couple of meet-ups per week by staying at work until 8:00 p.m. (EST), while asking your remote unit to come to work earlier, at 8:00 a.m., their local time. Meetings, in this case, can be quite challenging but manageable. Determining these time zones can help you establish working schedules and set expectations for your employees.

#4 Set up an Easy Avenue of Collaboration

Having a remote team requires you to invest in reliable task management and personal organizer software, as well as a cloud solution to keep and share your documents. For example, Centrallo, Easynote, Trello, or Microsoft Teams, and Gsuite or Onedrive powerful features could simplify your work much.

This management allows all your remote workers to easily access data, and lets you conduct video conferences with your employees regardless of where they are located. Such collaboration will make it possible for you to meet your deadlines despite the time-zone differences.

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#5 Enjoy the Benefits of Working Across Time Zones

There are certain benefits to working across different time zones:

  • Hiring a remote employee opens up an international pool of candidates and makes it easier for you to find the right fit for your company.
  • Your customers can benefit from the continuous support provided by your team members. When your in-house department rests at night, the remote unit is able to support customers in any situation that requires immediate help.
  • An augmented team consists of people from all over the world. This means that you collaborate with people from different cultures and viewpoints, which in turn could result in developing creative and unique products.

Whether you choose to build a remote team and enjoy these benefits or not depends entirely on you and your company. To make things easier, we can help you to hire and manage talented teams of developers and software engineers in the European time zone.

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