I always thought I’d lead a team of people. Did I think those people would be remotely working in different parts of the country? Absolutely Not. This really is a new world of doing things but managing a team in different time zones has taught me some of the most important factors about running a business. This experience has created more positives and benefits than not and clearly with the global circumstances of today, remote work is here to stay.
Managing a team in the workplace is no small feat- All of the different people with different personalities and different ways of thinking and perceiving, it’s natural to be overwhelmed leading a team no matter the size. Managing a team and dealing with the already tolling circumstances that this position causes and adding different time zones and remote work to the list of already complicated factors to worry about creates an even more strenuous situation.
Although it’s not easy, I have succeeded in managing a team across different time zones. With the right balance of good people who are capable, ready and willing to work, the flexibility of schedules and finding times to meet in the day that is best for everyone, is key. Here are 10 techniques that I used to help me successfully lead a team across different time zones.
1. Hire the Right People.
Having people on your team who are knowledgeable, good independent workers and who meet deadlines is the goal. Hire people who will be beneficial to your business.
2. Build Relationships.
You should know who your employees are. Building trust with your team allows for better communication and engagement.
3. Clear Expectations From The Start.
Mean what you say and say what you do. Give clear directions on what you expect from the person in the role, what you need, what you want to achieve and the timeline in which this needs to be done. Don’t expect your team to know what you want from them. You will end up disappointed if you don’t set standards.
4. Regular Meetings.
Reserving scheduled time daily or whatever works best for your business is a major component to success. Having one on one calls makes for clear expectations to be set and better understanding of progress, productivity and quality of work. One on One calls are important in managing a team across different time zones.
Group Meetings are also needed. Have more group meetings depending on the amount of staff you have so that everyone can get to know their co-workers. Remote work can sometimes not be motivating, your co-workers can help with that.
Never expect your team to drop everything to meet with you. Plan ahead.
5. Showing Appreciation.
Tell your staff you appreciate their work and that you value their input. Showing gratitude gives motivation and keeps your team engaged. When your team knows that you are appreciative of them, performance is that much better.
6. Building Your Team Culture.
Just because you are remote doesn’t mean you can’t have joyful moments with your team. Share your mission, your values create shared experiences.
7. Invest in Your Team.
Invest in your team. Don’t be afraid to pay for things that the team needs. How can your team do their job if the right resources aren’t available? The most valuable tools right now are video conferencing like Teams or Zoom. To avoid the dreaded time zone miscalculation, always schedule your meetings with a tool that will handle different time zones like Outlook.
8. Open Lines of Communication.
Whether it’s teams, email, text or phone call- Allow your team to be able to get in contact with you without hassle.
9. Be Mindful Of Business Hours.
Don’t expect your team to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have lives and work shouldn’t be expected during non-work hours. Be mindful of who you’re trying to contact and what time zone you are in compared to them. Some people, like me, get an early start. Others would rather work into the night. Everyone has their own routine. Embrace it. I don’t expect everyone to be in the office by 7 AM, that’s my schedule, not theirs.
10. Be Patient.
Remember things take time, you will succeed. Allow it to happen, you don’t have to rush outcomes.