The challenge of working across timezones is basically twofold (even if it can feel like a millionfold). On the one hand, we have difficulties coordinating virtual communication with people in different timezones; on the other there are the complications of organising your schedule when travelling.
It can be surprisingly problematic to work efficiently when you’re battling against timezones. So whether you’re a frequent business traveller, a digital nomad, or simply have a lot of contacts overseas, here are some simple but powerful ways to make business easier across timezones.
Always organise meetings and calls with an invitation
This might seem to be an unnecessary step when you’ve already agreed on a time with someone over email, for example, but getting into the habit of always confirming appointments with an invitation removes a lot of risk. Even apparently ‘safe’ plans can be scuppered by some mutual assumptions and unexpected timezone interference - consider the scenario that you plan a video call with a colleague who usually operates in your timezone and assume that’s where they are, while your colleague is away at a conference and assumes you know this. Obviously, this is a situation primed for mix-ups, but all that can be avoided simply by creating an event and inviting participants to confirm the time, which is displayed in their local timezone.
Find out when lunch is
Lunchtime in the UK and US is not necessarily out of bounds for calls and meetings, since for better or worse we have grown used to making do with a hurried snack at our desks when necessary. This is not the case everywhere, however: there are plenty of countries where lunch is a quasi-sacred time of nourishment and respite. When working with or in these places, it’s impractical to drive yourself to distraction trying to make contact when everyone’s out to lunch, and repeatedly asking someone to abandon their break for your call is not going to make you very popular. This handy infographic tells you the average time and length of lunch hours across the world, as well as national holidays that may interfere with business days.
See your whole team’s working hours in one place
If you’re not just dealing with two timezones but several as you try to work effectively with a global team, it’s very helpful to be able to see a holistic overview of where and when everyone is. This tool from Buffer is designed just for such a purpose and lets you see the whole team and their timezones in one place. If your team all uses Appointedd you can also clearly see everyone’s availability and where they overlap in the calendar screen, and view the calendar in any timezone you like.
Use a flexible scheduling tool
There are plenty of useful tools and technologies out there to help you manage your appointments, but only one of them has the ability to make cross-timezone scheduling truly seamless. That’s Appointedd. The unique multi-timezone booking tools make it truly ideal for anyone who has to juggle international travel with a busy schedule where there’s no room for time-consuming logistics or costly mix-ups.
What makes Appointedd so powerful is how it allows you to maintain your normal working hours whichever timezone you move into or out of. For those who consistently travel between timezones on a weekly basis, this can be set in the working hours and then forgotten about, with no need to worry that you’ll be booked at an inconvenient time. For example, if you work in Boston Monday to Wednesday then in Houston Thursday to Friday, your availability stays 9-5 (or whatever your hours are) regardless of where you are with no need to be constantly changing your timezone. It also means you don’t have to worry about people booking you for a meeting days in advance, as your availability is accurate to where you will be on that day. You can also add exceptions to which timezone you will be working in well in advance. And of course, anyone booking with you sees your availability in their own timezone, so there’s no timezone maths for them either.
See our SlideShare to learn more about Appointedd’s multi-timezone capabilities: