There are many benefits to hiring remote workers. As business owners or managers, having a great team is crucial for the success and growth of the company. When you hire remote employees, you’re no longer limited to candidates within close proximity of your business. You’ll have a much larger pool of potential employees and are more likely to find the best fit for your team.
Working from home can also increase productivity and efficiency. Remote workers can put their heads down and get things done quickly without workplace distractions holding them up. Though there are many positives to having remote teams, finding a balance between flexibility and accountability among workers in different time zones can be challenging. Check out these 5 tips for managing remote teams in different time zones.
1. Use a Shared Google Calendar to Keep Track of Dates
Using a shared calendar like Google can be an easy way to keep track of important dates. Remembering certain holidays can be tricky when people live in different countries and time zones. List each country’s holidays in your calendar and note which employees are away that day.
A shared calendar is also a great place to put each person’s vacation dates so other employees can see when they’ll be away.
2. Utilize Messaging Apps for Synchronous and Asynchronous Communication
Messaging apps like Slack help facilitate clear communication among team members. Ensure each person updates their time zone and preferred work hours within the messaging app. When people are away, utilize the out-of-office responses so everyone is on the same page.
Within messaging apps, you can create different channels or topics for asynchronous communication between your team members. No one needs to respond immediately within these channels, but you can interact with the thread when you’re back on the clock.
You might use a live chat feature for real-time communication if you have a quick question or want to make a note of something. Live chats help free up potential email clutter and allow smaller tasks to be handled immediately.
3. Make the Most Out of Project Management Tools
Virtual collaboration tools like Notion, Trello, or Monday are great tools for keeping track of different projects. Each team member should regularly update their progress on tasks they’re working on so that anyone relevant to the project can stay in the loop. The more clearly workers note their progress within the project management system, the less confusion there will be when certain people are off the clock.
4. Establish weekly real-time check-ins
Touch base with your remote teams in real time at least once a week. Feeling stressed when you’re off the clock for fear that things are in disarray does not lead to restful time off. Agree to one or two meetings a week at a time that remains the same each week, if possible, and works for all time zones. Additionally, always note all relevant time zones on meeting times to eliminate any possible confusion.
5. Keep your expectations clear
Setting clear boundaries is necessary for any work environment—particularly when managing remote teams. What are the expectations around response times—when employees are on or off the clock? If you have messaging apps with threads for asynchronous communication, give your team members a specific amount of time to respond if necessary.
Use all relevant time zones when scheduling deadlines or meetings. If you need to adjust deadlines according to time zone, do that on a shared calendar so everyone knows what’s due and when.
Properly communicating expectations is one of the most important things you can do to manage remote teams in different time zones. Be clear and concise with your team to best balance flexibility and accountability.
If you’re ready to expand your reach and grow a strong team of skilled remote workers from Latin America, consider working with a remote staffing agency to find the perfect hire for your company.