Teamwork without Limits – 7 Tips for Work Cooperation over Different Time Zones

by Bernd on April 26, 2011 · 0 comments

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More and more employees from the same company are working in different time zones. Whether it is due to business trips or for private reasons, the distance is making work cooperation more difficult – especially if the time difference is so great that it clashes with normal working patterns. Based on our own experience, we have put together 7 tips to help you ensure better work cooperation over different time zones.

1. Efficiently Structure your Working Pattern

Is the time different to your colleague 6+ hours? Then come as early as possible to the office so that your colleague must not work late at night. All participants should try and organise their working hours to suit those of their colleagues as much as possible in order to achieve the greatest possible overlapping.

2. Keep to Core Hours

Schedule core hours where you and your colleague are both available online; this will enable you to coordinate any tasks and possible questions as quickly as possible. Do not forget that a time difference can also be of some use, for example, the times which your colleague is no longer or not yet online gives you the opportunity to work without being interrupted by telephone calls, e-mails or instant messages.

3. Check When Your Colleague Is Online

Use communication tools which enable you to check when your colleague is online. This is possible with almost all chat programmes and helps you find out whether your colleague is available.

4. Check Your E-mails Once a Day

In spite of all efforts your working hours will never exactly coincide with those of colleagues. Inform yourself once a day in the morning about possible changes or difficulties.

5. Trust Is Everything

Trust your colleague that he or she will finish their work, even if they are not there to be seen. Work cooperation in different time zones will only work if you support each other.

6. Use Technical Means of Help

Which programmes and applications do you prefer – there are endless options for file sharing and communication tools which can ease work cooperation. Use them!

7. Be Tolerant

It may seem trivial but tolerance is required most of all for efficient work cooperation over different time zones. Whether it is due to a poor internet connection or local circumstances, sometimes things can go wrong. Stay flexible and tolerant.

Dr. Zeitgeist's Tip!
Good planning is everything!
  • Clarify right at the beginning any responsibilities, duty schedules and working hours.
  • Have all contact data close at hand so that you can correctly deal with each situation, even in emergencies.

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