15th Nov 2022
Distant Work and Time Zone Difference

Concern #9: Distant Work and Time Zone Difference

Distant work is a core feature of outsourcing. It allows you to use human resources from countries with lower prices or with a bigger labor market. Outsourcing is unimaginable without remote work.

For many years, companies used in-office work, while hesitating to use remote work as they associated it with low control, low productivity and low reliability. COVID-19 changed everything. By now, most companies in industries that allow remote work have accepted the idea and are actively using it.

If you’ve had your own employees work remotely, then the “remote” part of outsourcing is probably not a concern for you anymore. A software developer residing on another continent works just as well as a software developer living across the street. Modern telecom technologies can provide fast and secure access to a cloud-based or on-premises corporate environment from basically anywhere, so distance has ceased being a factor.

Concerns still related to distant work are discussed in greater detail in our earlier posts: “Lack of Control Over the Team and its Work” and “Culture Gap between Client and Service Provider”.

Unlike the above-mentioned issues, the challenge of time zone differences has not disappeared with COVID-19. In extreme cases, time difference between client’s and provider’s locations can be up to 12 hours, which means no overlapping between regular business hours. This is not workable because teams need live communication, including chats and video calls. Agile projects require even more communication between project teams.

If you have that big a time difference with your outsourcing partner, one side will have to adjust its work hours to have them overlap to enable communication. It is not necessary to have all the working hours overlap — in most cases, 2-4 hours per day are sufficient for live communication. Many work matters do not have to be communicated in real time.

It’s also worth noting that a time difference can be advantageous, if you properly design collaboration with your outsourcing partner. The time difference allows you to extend your aggregated workday to 12 or more hours, passing the outcome of each workday between time zones, like a relay race, and speed up project deliveries. Of course, not every project can benefit from the time difference, a lot depends on particular project nature.

To mitigate the concerns over distant work and time zone differences, we at Solead:

  • Integrate each of our teams into the client’s environment as much as possible in order to achieve seamless interaction between all team members
  • Use modern high-quality teleconferencing equipment to achieve “the same room” feeling at meetings with our clients
  • When possible, we encourage our engineers to travel to the client’s side, and we invite our clients to visit Solead, to maintain personal relations
  • Shift our work schedule for clients in North America in order to have up to 4 overlapping hours per day, to assure required project communication
  • Set up all regular team meetings within overlapping hours to assure that all team members are available

Our next post will touch on another concern that projects may face — unexpected absenteeism and unforeseen departures. Stay tuned.

Contact us

Headquarters, Delivery Center 

7D Naukova Str.
79060 Lviv, Ukraine
+380 32 240 2220

Sales Office, North America 

555 Wilson Ave., Ste. E103
Toronto, ON M3H 0C5, Canada
+1 647 864 2834

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