In this truly global workplace climate, working across multiple time zones is a problem that businesses frequently encounter. Staff members may be spread out around the world, or businesses may be communicating with companies in other countries. Thankfully there are a number of strategies that can be adopted in order to minimise the disruption and loss of both time and productivity that working across multiple time zones can have. You can find some of these listed below!
1. New Technology
Small business phone systems, like those provided by Com2, are incredibly handy for global businesses. With a variety of features such as data, competitive international rates and mobile video conferencing, a good phone system can eliminate a lot of the headaches involved with a multinational corporation.
2. Schedule Early
When operating an international business, correct and precise scheduling of meetings, deadlines and other operations ensures that every staff member, no matter where they are situated, is aware of what is expected. It is particularly important to ensure that all deadlines and work expectations are scheduled in and made clear from the beginning, so that every worker knows what he or she is responsible for, and when it is due.
3. Be Flexible
Flexibility is key when working with businesses in different time zones. Different countries may have different holidays, and cultural differences will be prevalent, and must be respected. Making allowances for time differences will result in a more unified workforce. A reply may not come through immediately, so allow a bit of time before chasing it up.
4. Respect The Culture
Different countries will have different cultural norms for business, holidays and work times. These need to be respected, not being aware of or respecting another countries cultural activities could result in a lack of business with the company you are dealing with. Cultural norms regarding to business vary from country to country, so it is worthwhile reading up on the norms in the country where you are doing business and act appropriately.
5. Rotate The Graveyard Shift
When working internationally, there will always be at least one person who draws the short straw with regards to time. Midnight webinars take a toll on the staff, so rotate this evenly between the personnel in order to make it fair on everyone.
Whilst it may be tempting to stay up all night answering emails, productivity will increase if you are well rested. It’s unhealthy to be up at all hours responding to messages that could wait until you are in the office. Plus, you’ll find that you are more effective during the hours that you’re meant to be working!
Are these tips that you currently use when engaging in business activities globally? Do you find that you need to rigidly schedule everything in advance, or do you rotate your meetings around so that everyone is treated fairly? Do you need to update your phone system to deal with the increased international traffic? Are you getting enough sleep? Leave your tips for handling business in different time zones in the comments below!