A Workforce All Over the World – The Challenge of Time Zones

When you’re hiring outsourcers to help your business grow, it’s common to hire people from other parts of the world. You can often find highly skilled help in other countries for a much lower price than in your own. But hiring workers from another country involves a few unique challenges, and one of them is time zones.

Decide Beforehand

At the stage when you’re agreeing on terms and finalizing the job, it’s a good idea to decide when and how you’ll communicate. Choose a time that works well for both of you. If you’re in the United States and talking to outsourcers in Asia, your afternoon or evening will be their morning. You can either agree upon general times, like weekday mornings, or nail down specific meeting times.

My Time or Yours

When referring to your schedule, you can use the actual time zone names (and it’s good to know them anyway), or a simpler way is to say “my time” or “your time.” For example, “Let’s talk on Skype Friday morning at 9 my time.” Make sure that you confirm this time with your outsourcer because it’s really easy to make a mistake.

Get a World Clock

Get an app or bookmark a website that has a “world clock.” This is a clock that allows you to choose a city somewhere in the world and it will tell you the time there. Some apps allow you to save designated cities so that you can easily refer to them. Getting a world clock is much easier than trying to calculate the time zone difference every time you’re setting up a meeting, not to mention dealing with daylight savings time in the United States.

Know Your Outsourcer’s Calendar

One more time consideration to keep in mind is holidays, festivals and other annual events in the outsourcer’s country. If you’re dealing with hired help in another culture, there may be certain times of year or days of the week when they’re out of the office. For example, many Chinese and Taiwanese workers take a great deal of time off for the Chinese New Year in February.

Understanding and dealing with the time difference between you and your outsourcers is a small and simple thing you can to do make communication with them much easier.