The Realities of “Startup Life”: How to Juggle Working Across Different Time Zones

With barriers to running a global business being removed through technological advances, companies have been able to extend service offering to other countries by purely opening an office or distribution centre and by hiring offshore staff. This is becoming more and more common, with roles in areas of accounting and bookkeeping, administration, marketing, etc being offshored.

Personally, on any given day I can work with people in up to 7 or 8 different time zones. This can make things quite difficult when trying to schedule meetings in the calendar.

My tips for juggling working across different time zones:

  • Block out time for yourself. Ensure that you block out time for sleep/downtime in your calendar (as a calendar appointment without notifications turned on) so that people cannot book meetings in the middle of your nighttime.

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  • Set your working hours.  When you’re working with people located in different time zones, you need to be flexible to ensure that you can build strong, collaborative relationships with these people. If you use Gmail, you can set your working hours in the settings section like so:

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  • Invest in software. Now when I say “invest in software”, I’m specifically talking about a plug-in for your calendar so that you can send available meeting times to people in other time zones that will enable them to see your availability in their location. This will enable meetings to reflect correctly in both your calendar and theirs so that there are no confusions about timing. I highly recommend checking out Calendly, they have a free version as well as paid versions if you need more functionality.

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If you have any more tips for juggling working across different time zones, I would love to hear them! Please email me on sammie.johannes@gmail.com.

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