working remotely

Since 2005, the number of people working remotely has increased by a whopping 140%. These days, the growth continues, and remote work shows no signs of stopping.

According to statistics on telecommuting, there are 4.7 million Americans telecommuting at the moment. It’s most probably because the number of companies that support working from home grew by 40% in the past five years.

So how do organizations tackle problems caused by time zone differences? Is there a way to leave these issues behind? Let’s find out.

The Basics of Working Remotely

Before we share tips on how to solve the time zone puzzle, let’s first revisit the basics. In other words, it’s necessary to define and explain the remote work in 2020. 

Well, the Society of Human Resource Management says that 69% of companies allow their employees to work from home. Likewise, as many as 27% of businesses allow full-time remote work for their employees.

Believe it or not, remote work is a big deal in this day and age. In essence, this type of arrangement allows your employees to stay home (or whenever they like) and work remotely. They don’t have to come to the office to join a meeting because modern means of communication allow you to organize a conference easily.

Remote work is all about harnessing technology for the sake of improved productivity. With that said, we should also mention the benefits of remote work for your employees. 

Pros and Cons of Working Remotely in 2020

Long gone are the days when your employees had to spend eight hours a day, five days a week in an office. Nowadays, they could stay in PJs all day long and still contribute to your company and earn a salary.

As many as 85% of remote workers choose this type of work because it’s flexible and convenient. Also, the benefits of working from home include less stress, more sleep, and more time with their loved ones, which, in return, results in increased productivity. People who work remotely can eat healthier and have more exercise than those working nine to five in an office. 

On the other hand, remote work comes with certain drawbacks. For instance, loneliness is a common side effect. Also, distractions at home (kids, pets, etc.) can affect work efficiency.

Of course, different time zones can be a problem, and many distributed teams struggle with this issue. So let’s see how you can organize your team of remote employees and quickly solve the problem.

How Time Zones Affect Distributed Teams

Remote work can boost productivity and efficiency, as long as the team is on the same page. Communication is a crucial ingredient for having a successful distributed team. If team members are in constant contact, a margin of error will be significantly reduced. Clear expectations are a necessity, not a luxury.

Unfortunately, different time zones can cause disruptions in communication. After all, it can be hard to contact someone when it’s 3 a.m. in their respective time zones.

As a result, organizations can experience a drop in productivity and revenue. How a company approaches this issue can make or break a business. Here are the unspoken rules that can help you overcome the problems of working from different time zones.

The Etiquette for Working in Different Time Zones

First of all, it’s crucial to treat team members with respect at all times. This element is essential to all other means you can use to reach out to your employees.

One of the “rules” for setting up meetings with members in different time zones is to put yourself last. In other words, try to adjust the time that best suits others. This neat trick will show that you care for your employees and that you are fair. You would be surprised how big of a deal this is in today’s corporate culture.

Moreover, one of the simplest ways to set up meetings is to specify the time according to team members’ time zones. By being clear about the time zone, you will avoid lots of potential confusion.

Cultural norms can also be a big deal when leading a distributed team. For that reason, the team management should pay attention to national or religious holidays and festivities. Some members may have days off, so try not to disturb them if they are with family or friends.

General Etiquette for Working from Home

It goes without saying that you should have clear instructions for people who work from home. For example, make sure that they check the audio/video quality before making a call or joining a session.

Also, background noise should be eliminated. Likewise, you mustn’t allow people who work from home to be late for a meeting. After all, they can’t use traffic jams as an excuse.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to see that the definition of the workplace is changing and that the traditional “office” is no longer the norm. The monotony of a nine-to-five job is not appealing to younger generations, and it seems that working from home is the solution they seek. 

It remains to be seen if the remote workforce has the power to overcome all the issues that affect the concept. As we can see, there are ways to overcome the problems associated with working from different parts of the globe. It’s up to senior management and team members to accept and apply these guidelines to their day-to-day activities. 

Kristina Laova, a contributor at TeamStage.io

Spurred by an unrestrained passion for academic research, ESL teaching and vivid writing.
Keen traveler and an adventurous soul as curious as humanity.

Remote work stock photo by Ingo Bartussek/Shutterstock