Working Across Timezones
Friday Ship #321 | October 21th, 2022
Remote work is hard. Embrace timezones. Lean into async communication. And keep your calendar clean.
Working remotely, most of the time also means working across timezones. Now, that can be a time difference of 1-2 hours or it can be a difference of over 9 hours. Situations like that have pros and cons. With me being based in Munich, Germany, and everyone else in the Exco Leadership team being based in North America, I had to get a bit creative with my schedule. Having calls at 8-9pm wasn’t an option in the long run.
Let me tell you something – “timezones are here to stay”. They won’t go away. So rather than fighting it, embrace the fact that timezone differences don’t just have cons, they can bring some really cool dynamics into your company, forcing you to adapt to new ways of communication.
I did this too. The Exco team wasn’t worried about timezones as they were all fairly close. But now with me as an “outsider” we had to adapt. And it generally is received well and in an empathetic way. No one wants others to have calls at 8-9pm. So don’t shy away from the tricky conversation.
Lean into async communication
By now async has become a kind of marketing word. But it is actually a big key to working well in a virtual world. Leaning into different ways to communicate with your peers and teams is a big step forward.
Use tools like Loom, Slack Reminders, Notion, etc. to document decisions and discussions. Nothing worse than coming online, and hearing about decisions that have been made, and not being able to follow the decision trail. Especially in a leadership team.
I’ve been using Looms a lot to send updates or thoughts to the team, as it helps me to get my thoughts straight and also to give them time to respond. No need to squeeze in a 10-minute meeting somewhere in our schedules where it would just add stress to everyone’s lives.
Your calendar is your virtual office door
I’ve been saying this for the past 7 years. Keep your calendar up to date and add anything that is of value to let others know if you are “at your desk” or not. Working virtually we don’t see if someone is there right now or not. We rely on small green or grey dots in Slack, but that is not enough.
Use all the settings and tools your calendar software gives you. Add PTO days, add your lunch, workout, or family routines, just so people see that you are a human, that has a life outside of work.
At Parabol, we now use a separate PTO calendar for example, that displays everyone’s leaves, so we can quickly get a glance at who is out and who is in.
This week, our web new visitors are maintaining and our signups increasing, reaching the highest peak in signups of the last 4 weeks. Meaning we’re reaching more relevant and targeted audiences.
This week we…
…shipped v6.79.0. This included working on enhancing our notification system and a few fixes. See the changelog here.
…published a definitive guide to Daily Standups. Go check it out over here.
…are preparing for our Board Meeting next week. The exco team is collecting and putting together all the things from last quarter 🙌.
Next week we’ll…
…finish the first half of this trimester. Excited to look back and see what learnings we can take from some of the new ways we approached our product work this time.