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According to a recent BBC report, Microsoft estimates that of the 500 million knowledge workers worldwide, more than 10 million collaborate with clients, colleagues and other stakeholders regularly, across different time zones. This holds true for Pakistan as well where organisations – particularly those in the IT and call centre sectors – are increasingly doing business across several continents, spanning several time zones.

If you are a manager in an organisation with global operations – requiring your employees to coordinate with customers and team members in different time zones – here are three strategies that will help you manage the time zone differentials, ensuring the efficiency and productivity of your workforce.

  1. Work etiquettes across time zones. International work etiquettes call for observing timings that suit the convenience of all participants; therefore, avoid scheduling meetings, appointments or conference calls using your local time as the reference point. Instead, several organisations are using Boomerang, an application which schedules    e-mails to be sent automatically according to the recipient’s local time and office hours.
  2. Work-life balance. Allow your employees the flexibility to work from any where and at any time, rather than imposing a strict nine to five schedule, requiring their presence at their workstations throughout the day. According to a 2013 survey conducted by Hay’s Group, employees working across time zones prefer telecommuting and flexible work schedules to maintain a healthy yet productive work-life balance.
  3. Technology for efficiency. Ensure that your offices are equipped with the latest applications and equipment for video conferences, audio meetings and webinars, involving team members and clients across widespread geological locations. You can opt for applications such as GoTo Meeting, which allows six video feeds at a time, Google Calendar and World Clock Meeting Planner to keep track of timings as well as national holidays of different countries and TimeandDate.com, which links with Outlook, and helps manage appointments.

– Zeeshan Lakhpaty
The writer is a professional corporate trainer and international speaker. zeeshan@peopleexcellence.biz 

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on November 2, 2014.