I WILL CALL YOU YESTERDAY: HOW TO ORGANIZE THE WORK OF REMOTE TEAM IN DIFFERENT TIME ZONES?

In order to work together on a project, it is no longer necessary to sit behind the wall at open space office. Even the ocean can divide a team. A lot of people managed to be collectively productive, physically working in different countries. This opens up new opportunities, including IT recruiting sphere. The difficulties, perhaps, could be only in the organization of your work. Just take into account different time zones, while one drinks the first cup of morning coffee, the other one drinks the last glass of the evening … fresh. How to deal with the time difference when working with a remote team?

Set the rules

If the working day is scheduled and the time difference is small, you can simply move the schedule for part of the team for a couple of hours. And if someone works, let’s say, in Kiev, and someone in Los Angeles? At 10 o’clock, in the dead night, the schedule could not be “redrawn”.

But there are a few solutions. So, the team of  Indigo IT-recruiting agency has been working remotely for 10 years already, from different cities and even countries, and we are not going to “settle down” in one office. Since now the result is more important, rather than waiting “from call to call,” more and more IT teams are also able to decide at what time they are more productive. Someone is ready to turn the mountains early in the morning, and someone is bursting with strength more at dinner. At the same time, if people do not work in the same space, it is not easy to take into account all these nuances and organize the team to discuss important issues.

To avoid confusion, set uniform rules for the team and follow them. Agree on which days and hours and in what way (for example, via Skype or Google Hangouts) you will get in touch, and how you will solve urgent questions. For example, Friday, 16.16 is the time for stand-ups at Indigo (by Kiev).

It is very important that not only the leader but all team members who interact with each other will be aware of each other’s schedules. It makes sense to make this information open to everyone.

And although the remote teams are very flexible, they are still not entirely free artists. Agree not to disappear without warning the team.

Check the clock

All the times in the movies, there are the clocks that show time of different world capitals in the meeting rooms, where influential people decide the fate of the world. It is a very useful habit. So no one will disturb the dictator’s sweet dream with a night call.

It is also important to be able to quickly find out what time does a colleagues watch shows, working in different time zones. There are convenient applications for this. For example, World Clock.

Write letters

Thanks to emails and instant messengers, it’s not often necessary to get in touch with real-time communication. The exchange of short messages allows colleagues to receive the necessary information immediately and at the moment when it is convenient for them. You can choose your team’s favorite messenger. But it is useful to know the habits of each other. Someone more quickly responds to Skype or Slack, and someone in social networks.

And how about to talk?

Of course, it is also needed. And to discuss the work on projects, and just to unite the team. How to choose a convenient time for everyone?

Working remotely, even planning has to be planned. Just solve the rebus, write down the “productivity hours” of every team member and see where they match. If you really feel the time difference, for example, it is 10-12 hours, then someone will have to get in touch early in the morning, someone late in the evening. But most likely, you can find an hour or two that will suit everyone. Well, there are minuses of remote work.

Usually, remote teams are guided by time convenient for the majority, but taking into account the interests of all participants. And some even agree on a schedule to discuss one or another direction in their work, about promoting a product or strategy. Especially about strategy. Making plans with the whole team is useful for results. Then people feel personal responsibility and are interested in the implementation of plans; this shifts the focus from the control of the manager to self-organization. This is exactly what Indigo does, all strategic sessions are held by the whole team.

You can make up mini-graphics for people who most often solve questions between themselves. What if someone just likes to brainstorm under the mysterious moonlight?

It is useful for the manager to schedule time for one-to-one communication with everyone. And regularly call with video, talk about work and personal results, and not only about them. Ask them how are they doing.

Share plans

Any team needs a system where you can set up tasks, collective and individual. And the remote team especially needs this tool. For someone Google-calendar is more suitable, another likes Trello or other solutions for various tasks more. The tasks and their status are always in front of your eyes.

In the work of remote teams, everything depends on self-organization. It doesn’t matter who they are, IT recruiters or Frontend Developers, even a perfect schedule is useless if people don’t know how to control themselves. The idea of recruiting IT specialists for remote teams is not limited by geography. Invite people who do not need the all-seeing eye of the manager behind their backs. And, despite the difficulties, the experience of many remote teams has shown that the time difference sometimes even helps to be more concentrated, communicate more effectively and spend our most valuable resource wisely.

Still, the team needs to find the opportunity once a quarter (or at least once every six months) to see each other under the same sun. It is difficult to overestimate the pleasure of such meetings, in a single time and space. When you can hug each other, express how you are doing and exchange emoticons offline without gadgets and other technological intermediaries.

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