Time Zones Matter

Many companies make the mistake of thinking that, by removing the limitations of an office-based workforce, they can hire anyone anywhere in the world. While a distributed company can certainly employ workers from a wider swath of the globe, leaders also need to consider how much synchronous, real-time communication their teams will need.

Synchronous technologies such as audio and video-conferencing are better for strategic planning, creative ideation, trust building, and generally getting-everyone-on-the-same-page. If coworkers are more than 7 time zones away from one another (note that for most of the year Los Angeles and London offset by 8 hours), there won't be enough overlap in the 9-to-5 workday to have a real-time meeting.

Asynchronous communication methods (email, message boards, etc.) do a great job of supporting tactical work. Employees can crank up their music and disappear into their projects without being interrupted. However, when decoupled from regular real-time check-ins, trust and efficiency can deteriorate.

Distributed companies should have a time zone policy. It may vary by team or department. But having guidelines in place will make hiring easier, and encourage happier, more rested, and more connected teams.

– Jeff Robbins


Yonder Tips are weekly ideas, tricks, and time savers for anyone thinking about distributed teams and remote work. Subscribe to the Yonder Mailing List to receive them in your inbox each week.