Working Outside of Your Time Zone Sucks!

For most of my adult life, I’ve worked mostly in the timezone I lived in. So, when I worked in the mountain or central time zones I lived in those time zones. For the vast majority of my career, I’ve worked in the Eastern time zone. I’m not trying to be time zone conceded, but I think most business people live on EST.

If you ranked the top five most workable time zones, globally, I think most people would have it something like:

  1. EST or GMT-4 (New York, D.C., Boston)
  2. GMT+1 (the UK)
  3. WST or GMT-7 (LA, Seattle, San Fran)
  4. GMT+8 (Singapore)
  5. CST or GMT-5 (Chicago/Houston/DFW)

What do you think? Agree, disagree, don’t care.

For a couple of weeks, I decided to work from home from St. George, UT (GMT-6). My team is all EST, so I was two hours “behind” them. I usually get to work around 7:30 am, which meant text messages, Teams notifications, emails, etc. started around 5:30 am.

I had a choice to make. Sleep and work like a normal person and get going around 8 am “my time” at where I was at, or totally just keep my companies EST working time. I decided to try and live normally in Utah, but it was strange. Being two hours off most of your team means you feel like you’re playing catch up all day, and then they get done around 5 pm and you have two hours with almost no interaction at the end of your day.

With more and more organizations going to work at home “forever” and allowing people to work remotely wherever they want, I see this issue increasing. I know global organizations have been doing this for a long time and for many this is a new concept. You’re right, it’s not new.

It just sucks!

I’m sure you get used to scheduling meetings in the middle of the day so it works for everyone or working late into the evening or early morning for those leaders with teams on the opposite side of the world, but when the majority of your team is in one timezone and you are in another, it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out.

It’s probably more difficult for those who have worked in one timezone and then move to another, versus all of those people that worked in a different timezone since the beginning. If it’s all you know, it’s all you know.

So, I’m wondering. How do you cope with living and working in a different timezone than the majority of your team? How do you stay connected and not feel like you’ve missed out? Hit me in the comments with your strategies.

3 thoughts on “Working Outside of Your Time Zone Sucks!

  1. I was on CST and had my entire HR team on EST – so I chose start at 7 am to be available at their normal 8 am start time. I was an HRBP and when my territory expanded to include the West coast, things got interesting. If I worked, 7 am – 4 pm; that meant I was unavailable after 2 pm for them….not good. My fix? Well, I pretty much still started work at 7 am and then took calls from my business after my “normal” hours. They tried not to bother me too much knowing I had an early start and I had a great boss that let me flex hours/time off during not busy times to make up for some of that. But I kind of agree with the above comment, if you are a leader or higher up in the organization – multiple times zones is often just going to mean longer days.

  2. I recruit across the country. I live in Pacific time zone and the majority of my plants are Eastern. It is much easier for me to wake and do business on their time than it is mine. I’m a natural early bird, so this works for me.
    The pandemic has really messed up my MOJO! We are not hiring much which in turn means not much business early for me. Oh what will I do in the future when the team returns to normal and my clock is on pandemic time!

  3. As a leader, who has a global team and customer base, it means I’ll sleep when I’m dead 🙂 It is a commitment that isn’t for everyone, but I have to be available to my team to the best of my ability. I maintain a 4 hour black out period for emergencies only from Midnight until 4 am (emergency = flames and/or blood are clearly visible) otherwise I’m available for emails, calls, IM’s etc. Additionally, I try to never schedule meetings for my team that our outside of their normal working hours. As the leader, I have to be the one to take the hit on the time difference, not them.

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