Tips For Staying Focused When Your Team Is In A Different Timezone

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Tips For Staying Focused When Your Team Is In A Different Timezone

That’s right folks, we live during a time where working across multiple time zones is a real thing. And, no, we’re not talking about some Doctor Strange-esque time travel shiz, but rather the Anywhere Work concept, where remote workers are opting out of WFH on the couch, and using their location independence to travel the world!

Fun fact: the number of people working from home since 2009 has risen by 159%. Wild. This growing popularity is largely thanks to businesses realizing that it’s actually much easier and cheaper for them to hire remote workers across the globe than put an office team together. Plus, being an Anywhere Worker (/digital nomad) is proven to have many serious benefits. A whopping 92% of Anywhere Workers say they’re much happier when they’re not tied to a physical workplace.

The fact is, we live in a world where technology lets people travel, while simultaneously advancing their careers. While this clearly falls into the category of #OfficeGoalz, there are a few drawbacks that come with working in a different timezone to the rest of your team. Primarily, you can feel a bit out of sync. While you’re hard at work, a colleague or important project stakeholder could be catching those ZZZZZ’s, and so on. These challenges can make it difficult to stay focused, but we’ve got some excellent tips that’ll make life easier for everyone!

Get Organized — With The Right Tools

According to Nimble, an organizational tool is an app or software that specifically optimizes your daily task performance. Basically, it’s something that helps you get your sh*t together. 

These tools will help you sort out your daily management of things, letting you create lists, schedules, or setting up shared documents with your team. Productivity is optimized as you have all your schedules and tasks laid out in front of you – and you can share these with your team. So, regardless of what timezone they’re in, your team will know exactly what needs to be done and the corresponding deadline. 

A few of the best organizational tools we recommend:

Plenty more exist, so do some research and find ones that tickles your fancy the most!


Trial Split Shifts

Split shifts used to be a pretty awful idea. Convince your team to travel to the office for a short shift, then go back home and come back in again? The thought would previously have been considered madness, but the remote work revolution has made it a more viable option. 

Think about trialling split shifts or propose a creative team schedule that is outside the typical 9-5. The benefit of this is that you can get more flexibility on your travels while also allowing for more team overlap when it comes to working hours. Consider starting your work day earlier in the morning or working later into the evening, giving you more freedom during the day. The weird working hours might mean that you’re working at periods where your team is actually awake and online. 

Obviously, there are some challenges to split shifts (boooo!). Most notably, the company you work for might may not get he downtime it needs. Or maybe you work for an organization that requires a strict schedule, meaning split shifts just won’t be viable. Additionally, training your body to adapt to a new waking/sleeping routine can be rough to start with. 

Generally speaking though, there are ways and means of getting around these. We’d say it’s worth biting the bullet and bringing up the idea of split shifts with your employer or manager. Don’t be nervous, you’re well within your rights to request this! After all, the worst that can happen is they say no. Here are a couple of tips if you’re requesting a change:

  • Make sure you know exactly what you’re requesting. Be specific and come prepared with solutions to any issues that you can anticipate.
  • Gauge what makes the most sense for the company. Be creative with your proposal to show that you’ve really thought long and hard about it and are taking it seriously.

Don’t Ghost Your Team

Let’s be honest, you may not love Karen from accounting, or the long stories about her cats. Even so, you can’t use that as an excuse to ghost teammates! Going dark on your team, ruins productivity as your whole team is feels less like a unit. Communication is always important, but it takes on a new significance when remote working. 

Use different communication methods to keep your team informed of where you are, your contactable hours, and what tasks you’re working on. Use tools like Zoom or GoogleMeets to have video calls with your team, and utilize instant messaging for live updates. This way, everyone is in the loop and you don’t run the risk of losing touch with your teammates. 

Keeping your team updated like this will help everyone stay on the same page. They know your schedule, so they can work around it. If they know you’re traveling between 8am and 10am, they can avoid asking you to do things until you’re settled in. Simple things like this make a huge difference.


Give Yourself A Break

In the life of an office/remote worker, a work-life balance is critical. In the life of an Anywhere Worker, a work-life-travel balance is what you’re looking for. Finding the right balance between your career, personal life and adventure can be highly beneficial to your health, reducing the risk of heart disease by 60%! That number kinda crazy to think about, but it goes to show how important this is. 

Ironically, working remotely can make it harder to find the perfect balance. You’re constantly checking emails, looking at messages throughout the day, and it feels like there isn’t a proper endpoint in the working day. You may feel as though you’re always “on”, which isn’t optimal. 

Instead, allow yourself time-off wherever possible. Set a point every day where, no matter where you are on a task, you will close your laptop and say, ‘Right, this is it — No more checking emails for today!’ Consider shutting yourself off from tech for a few hours a day as well, just to give yourself time to unplug. Of course, don’t be afraid to take extended breaks to really enjoy your adventure. Earmark some time off work and enjoy some much-needed me-time!

Wrapping It Up

Working remotely while traveling as a concept has become super popular in recent times. One challenge that comes with it can be difficulty in staying focused and productive — especially when adjusting to working in a different timezone to that of your team. Fear not, for you can achieve more productivity by following some simple steps. Use apps and software to stay more organized, trial split shifts to work at more convenient times, don’t ghost your team, and be sure you give yourself time off to reset. 

Master all of this, and you’ll be a remote working demon!

Rebecca DiCioccio is a member of the Growth team at Paperform. Outside of work, Rebecca can be found exploring the outdoors or with a book in hand. Rebecca’s background in copywriting and keen interest in SEO and digital marketing mean she understands the importance of staying up to date with the latest trends in a dynamic and ever changing industry.

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