Employing a remote team that resides in the opposite corner of the world from you may sound quite a feat for a working collaboration. With a remote staff working from multiple time zones is almost like running a company with a 24-hour workday. How can you manage to collaborate and meet deadlines when this could mean late nights or overshooting work shifts to ensure everyone is in the same zone?

Truth is, this can be done. But only if done correctly.

A successful game plan is key to getting things done on time with everyone on board. You’ll know you’ve got everything running like clockwork when regular video chats or conference calls are possible and every remote team member is able to gain insight into the project yet feel like they are an integral part of a team despite being oceans apart.

International collaboration, when done poorly, can make remote workers feel a sense of personal and professional disconnect. Frustration brews and all sorts of misalignment can course through every project. Such negatives can affect the culture and dynamics of an offshore remote team.

What is Asynchronous Communication?

Asynchronous communication is when two or more people are “ out of sync” when they respond to each other over an extended period. This type of communication does not happen in real-time but participants can send responses to messages at their own convenience. The response can take minutes, hours, days, or weeks. One simple example of an asynchronous type of communication is email.

What is Synchronous Communication?

Synchronous communication happens when responses between participants are “in sync”. This means the communication exchange is taking place in real-time. This type of communication can be done through in-person meet-ups, or virtual face-to-face conversations via video conferencing or live chats and text messaging.

Asynchronous or Synchronous Communication for remote teams?

Although most managers and remote workers may think real-time conversations can provide better results, it actually comes with some reasonable disadvantages.

Many find real-time comms a drain on focus as this invites a constant need to interact. This results in interruption and disrupts productivity. Moreover, since these comms take place in real-time, it profoundly affects the quality of communications being that some remote team members have to adjust work and sleep schedules to accommodate the call times. Some managers also forget that employees need to have a life outside of work and expect them to respond at every beck and call.

Micromanaging employees is one way that synchronous communication is abused. Although it can allow a more in-depth interaction if used well, many employees tend to burn out from incessant calls from colleagues and managers. Synchronous comms is best for scheduled discussions and immersive meetings where every participant can prepare and set aside amicable hours on their end to attend the call. Emergencies are also best dealt with through real-time conversations.

An organized and well-structured recorded discussion for remote teams does wonders. Implementing this creates an environment where everyone is equipped with the same information. Work can be done even while collaboratively even while you sleep. A lot of companies have taken it upon themselves to implement the use of various asynchronous communication tools in their remote work environment. It saves time and long back-and-forth conversations

10 Best practices on how to manage time zone for remote teams

  • Set clear boundaries on time zones with your team.
  • Be specific with dates and times
  • Mind the designated work hours of each remote worker
  • Take advantage of virtual project management tools.
  • As much as possible, schedule meetings according to preferred hours that work for every remote team member
  • Maintain flexibility and know when to be flexible
  • Use auto-responders
  • Establish meeting protocols to determine if such meetings need to take place
  • Default to routine Asynchronous communications
  • Foster a collaborative environment that still encourages working autonomously

Key Take Aways

The most important thing to keep in mind when managing the respective time zones of a remote team is to maintain a sense of empathy, inclusion, and above all, respect. Knowing the dynamics of your remote team can easily establish a smooth working relationship between employees without having to constantly keep them on a monitoring leash. Communication is definitely the key, but too much of it does not always equate to productivity. Our virtual assistants at EVS are from the Philippines and they clearly understand what it takes to work with someone from a different time zone. They are independent workers that are greatly reliable in handling tasks. You can be assured of quality output even with very minimal supervision. Book a free consultation with us today and be well on your way to growing your business with our cost-efficient virtual solutions.