Time Zones & Working Hours

By: | Updated: March 12, 2021

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It is important to be available when your clients are. This is especially important when working with clients that don’t live where you do. You want to schedule meetings during overlap times.

Think: Changing your timezone as you travel (Google, MacOS, etc), how to look up timezone differences, tools for time zone conversions

Jump To:

  • Timezone Overlap
  • Google Calendar
    • Change Timezone
    • Multiple Timezone
  • Outlook
    • Change Timezone
    • Multiple Timezone

How to Managed Different Time Zones while Working Remotely

Most Remote Workers can decide when as well as where they work. Remember that flexibility to choose is flexibility to choose what is best for the company.

This is something that I struggled with when I started working remotely — I worked when it was most convenient for me; not when it was most productive. This was a mistake.

Work When You’re Most Productive

You should be intentional about setting your working hours. You want to pick hours when you are most productive. Remember, when you are responsible for outcomes not just being present — your goal should be to manage your energy not just your time. 

For me, I get my best work done from 10am to 10pm. Personally this works for the people around me. My girlfriend is a nurse and works overnight — so this way I can be more on her schedule. Plus, I can typically get 9+ hours of sleep and eat a great breakfast. 

However, I had to adjust my schedule. I started working with a software development team in Prague. They are amazing, but I need to shift my schedule so that we had a large block of time to meet and collaborate. 

Now, I work from 9am to 9pm. This allows me to meet with my colleagues in Prague — 9am in Omaha is 3pm in Prague. 

When you are a remote worker it is best to work when the people around you are working. This includes your coworkers and your friends and family. Sure you can work from 4pm to 2am everyday, but if everyone else is working from 8am to 5pm you aren’t going to have much of a personal life. 

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it becomes more challenging the farther your team is spread out. For example, if you are in the United States and some of your team is in India you will have to work some late nights.

It might be best to work a shorter work day, and then work from 11pm to 1am everyday. This would allow you to work when others are working or potentially sleeping. 

Personally I use Google Calendar. I am a G-Suite boy! Here are some tips and tricks that I have learned: 

Show Two Time Zones

I can do most Timezone calculations for the United States in my head. However, when working outside of the US this becomes really difficult.

I have set up my Google Calendar to show both time in Omaha, NE where I live, and Prague, Czechia where the majority of my non-USA based team lives. I have my calendar setup to display two time zones. To do this go to Settings > Time Zones, and check “Display Secondary Time Zone”.

You can then choose a Primary and Secondary Time Zone. The only problem is that you are limited to 2.  

Use the Worldclock

I also add every City where I have team members to Google Calendar’s Worldclock. I currently have 5 different Timezones displayed.

To setup Time Zones go to Settings > World Clock > check “Show world clock”. This will then allow you to add different Time Zones and Cities.

Now when you go back to your calendar you will see the Time Zones listed below the mini calendar — if you are on a desktop web browser. 

Set TimeZones for Events

I use this if I am nervous about getting the Time Zone right — especially if I am traveling. I create a calendar event, and add the exact time zone. You can even add a start time zone and an end time zone — this is great if you are traveling and your clocks automatically update. 

Use Google Calendar App

It is available for both iOS and Android, and is more powerful than native calendar applications. It allows you to have full control over time zones from your mobile phone. 

Bonus Tip

Type “meeting.new” into your browser’s address bar, and a new event dialogue will appear. 

When you are traveling, Google makes things really easy. It automatically converts all of your events to the Time Zone your device is in.

Note: that I have had to manually update my laptops Time Zone settings before Google Calendar would update. 

Wrapping Up

One last thing when it comes to managing Time Zones, if you are a manager you have to get detailed about what you want people to work on.

You need to be proactive and answer potential questions. This is important because you won’t always be available to answer questions while my team is working.

They might be working while you need to sleep, and getting enough sleep means being able to clearly communicate what needs to be done, and preempting possible questions and confusion.

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by Brett Helling
Brett has been starting, growing, and monetizing websites since 2014. While in college, he began to learn about digital marketing. After graduating, he continued to build a diverse portfolio of websites while working a full time job. After years of building the portfolio on the side, he made the jump to run his websites full time.