Operating in Different Time Zones: How to Make it Work

You might be working with people in another time zone, and that can prove quite a challenge.

Trying to do business across time zones poses some pretty serious challenges. It could be that you need to contact a client on the other side of the world, or that you work for a company with offices on different continents – either way, how do you keep things moving when not everyone is up and at their desks for the same office hours?

First off, accept that you cannot work 24/7. You might like to think you're a machine which can survive on three hours of sleep, but in truth, your productivity will suffer and so will your long-term health. Instead, you need to work out how to share that burden and put in place a cut-off point. You need time to yourself, so let the other side know you'll be out of contact between 9pm and 8am your time.

You should also create a schedule, to ensure meeting times are consistent and everybody knows what time they need to set aside for a catch up. A weekly group meeting provides some structure, but allow people to be flexible – they can have things going on behind the scenes which impact their ability to attend.

There are plenty of tools out there which make life easier when working across time zones. The contents of a Google Drive or Dropbox folder can be updated at any time, anywhere, so it's easy enough to exchange work and nobody is under pressure to respond immediately.

There may be challenges, but they can be overcome if both sides are organised and have a strong system in place.


You can't work round-the-clock
Have a work cut-off point so you can recharge
Create a schedule which works for both sides
Use online tools