Written by Josh NasonFeb 05, 2018

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As the sun sets and another work day comes to an end in one time zone, coffee or tea is being brewed to welcome the sun and the start of a new day in another.

Time zones provide tremendous benefits to organizations that operate across them but not without its share of challenges that must first be overcome. It takes certain levels of communication and organization to operate in multiple time zones but when done correctly, companies can operate at astonishing levels of productivity. Let's take a look at the benefits and challenges associated with working across time zones.

 

Benefits

 

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Wider Talent Pool

 

Working across time zones means that you aren't limited to the local talent market. This usually also results in more bang for your buck. Companies often get highly specialized talent for less than what the local market dictates.

 

Positive Impacts on Company Culture

 

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Teams that span different time zones will likely span different cultures as well. Not only does this automatically encourage a more inclusive company culture, it also benefits the company by bringing together different perspectives, aesthetics, values, and ideals so that teams are building well rounded, awesome products that can be appreciated more by a wider, more global audience.

 

Improves Collaboration

 

Team members understand that finding the most efficient and effective methods of collaboration are necessary. At Upstack, we use tools that aid us with collaboration and asynchronous communication.

 

Improves Communication

 

With individual members being in different locations, it is vital to communicate or even over-communicate. This greatly impacts workflow and they success of any software project.

 

Work Can Happen 24/7

 

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When teams work in different time zones, someone can always be ready to tackle issues or make progress, meaning less down time. As the idiom goes, "Make hay while the sun shines," and in this case, the sun is always shining somewhere.

 

Deepens the Thought Pool

 

New ideas will naturally flow with an expanded collective of minds. Problem solving and creative thinking thrive well in this type of environment and the organization benefits as a whole.

 

Challenges

 

Language and cultural barriers

 

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Overcoming language and cultural barriers is paramount to successfully implement teams that are distributed across different time zone. These are elements that have to be considered during the hiring process. Is there a certain language minimum requirement you'll have for new recruits? It would be difficult to hire a python developer who speaks a different language. You also want to make sure potential candidates demonstrate personalities that are empathetic and open, this will make it much easier to overcome differences when they arise.

 

Building A Well Oiled Machine Takes Time

 

It does take time to recruit and develop the infrastructure necessary to get the most out of a team that is distributed across time zones but the time invested is worthwhile when compared to the benefits. Once systems and processes have been established however, it can actually result in hacking the team building and hiring process.

 

Meetings and Time Management

 

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With different team members in different time zones it can be challenging to bring everyone together to meet and discuss ideas, progress or problems. The challenge is finding compromises and overlaps that facilitate the necessary interaction. At Upstack, we rely on technology and daily stand ups to make sure team members stay on the same page.

 

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