No matter what type of work you do, there will inevitably be times where you will need to collaborate with people in other timezones. It comes with the territory of being a digital nomad, after all.
You left the office to live a life beyond the typical grind—now you get to embrace it. Of course, you’ll want to have some of the creature comforts of a consistent schedule, so learning to work with your collaborators across the world is key.
Set Expectations for Meetings
A general rule of thumb is that most people work from 9 am – 5 pm in their respective timezones. This means that people want to schedule their meetings within that timeframe wherever they may be. It’s up to you as the digital nomad to find a time that works for both you and your employer and client. Remember, flexibility is an inherent trait of the nomad lifestyle.
Before your first meeting, always clarify what timezone those you’re working with are in. This will help you segway into informing them of your own current location. Once your collaborators know that you will be working from different locations, you’ll have the chance to ask to schedule a specific time that works for both parties. It’s especially important to set this expectation early on if you plan to have recurring weekly meetings.
Calendar = Clutch
If you don’t already use a calendar—be it analog or digital—it’s time to start one! Staying organized as a location-independent worker is made simple with the tools available today. Google Calendar is great for keeping on task and being productive, and it even has an option to set the calendar with two timezones. Pretty cool, no? So if your remote work involves collaboration with primarily one other timezone, this is for you.
Google Calendar is a solid way to see what time those meetings are for you and your collaborator. Another point about the calendar is the notification setting. Set an alarm to remind you of your meeting that way you’ll never miss an important date. You need to keep those clients happy if you want to continue your digital nomad journey long-term!
World Time Buddy is Your… Buddy
If you’re needing to plan multiple timezone meetings, World Time Buddy is an amazing tool for digital nomads. With up to four timezone comparisons and straight-forward usability, you’ll be a pro at scheduling meetings at times that work for anyone around the world.
Simply add the timezones of the clients you’ll be meeting with and find a time that is as close to between 9 am – 5 pm for everyone involved. Even if you won’t be working with people from multiple timezones, you’ll want to bookmark World Time Buddy, especially if you travel a lot. Trust me on this one.
Prepare Mentally for Shifts in Schedule
Not everyone is always able to accommodate your location-independent lifestyle. There will be times that you’ll have to take meetings outside of your chosen work schedule. This happens especially when working with bigger teams or clients. Again, you’ll need to learn that being flexible is a strength for the remote worker.
Don’t be daunted by the fact that collaboration with teams across oceans will have you waking earlier or staying up later. This is your opportunity to work and play at new hours of the day! If you have early morning meetings, this might free up the midday and afternoon for you to explore your new destination. See these “odd” hours as opportunities to experience a life different from the 9 – 5. You just might be pleasantly surprised to find that life occurs at any time of day. 😎
Lastly—a Mindfulness Check
It’s wise to remember that the people you’re collaborating with may not be location-independent like you. This is where the mindfulness check comes in. Before starting any meeting, be sure to check what time it is for your collaborator. This will give you some idea of where they are in their workday and how they’re feeling.
If you’re chatting at the end of their day, saying a quick thank you for meeting later in the day can go a long way. Above all, you want to avoid holding any bad attitudes toward the time of day you happen to be in. For example, you could be waking up a bit earlier for a 6 am meeting and you’re feeling groggy. Try your best to wipe off that feeling so you come to the meeting as if you were already wide awake. Your collaborators don’t want to hear you complain that it is early in Bali when they’ve been at their desks already for several hours.
Above all, stay mindful that you’ve made the big move to be a digital nomad. You’re living a life of adventure, and your meetings and collaboration times are a part of that adventure—choose to see it that way!
Have any additional tips for collaborating across timezones? Feel free to discuss any tricks of the trade with your fellow digital nomads in the comments below.
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