Software Development
Time Zone

Leverage the Time Zone Advantage for Efficient Software Development

Worca Resources
Last Updated: 
December 29, 2022

Hiring international employees in different time zones can turn your development team into a 16- or even 24-hour powerhouse. Someone is always working and advancing your project toward completion while maintaining communication with the rest of the team.

Managing teams in different time zones is a challenge. Still, it's easily met with careful planning and commitment to communication.

The Benefits of Time Zone Shifting

Leverage More Hours in the Day

Hiring international remote employees is like instituting shifts without asking anyone to work in the middle of the night. Studies show that shift workers have more health problems and are less productive than those who work during the day. Technology allows you to hire workers in a time zone opposite yours who can continue the development process without physical and mental disadvantages.

Eliminate Disruptions

Time zone shifting means fewer disruptions, allowing employees to focus better and push their cognitive abilities further.  Additionally, an asynchronous communication strategy ensures everyone has access to the information necessary to succeed without attending unproductive meetings. 

Improve Communication and Documentation

Communicating with people in different time zones requires you and your colleagues to write clearly and plan carefully. Documentation is often a weak point in the software development process. Requiring written communication strengthens your documentation as well. Team members rely on it.

Better documentation streamlines the onboarding of new personnel. They can read archival material to learn about key decisions and work culture, getting up to speed quickly. Improvements in communication and documentation also reduce stress, which leads to higher-quality work and more transparency.

Enhance Employee Engagement

Asynchronous communication relieves everyone of the need to answer quickly. People have the time to frame their questions and produce more in-depth answers. It's easier to provide honest feedback when employees don't rush. 

Your team saves time by communicating without expecting immediate reactions, so it's easier to value output over "facetime" or time-in-seat.

Draw from a Broader, Deeper Talent Pool

International hiring opens up an entire world of talent. You can build a diverse team with various experiences that eliminate a one-dimensional approach to problem-solving and development. Your employees are exposed to other viewpoints and perspectives, honing their developmental skills. 

Optimize your hiring budget by seeking countries with favorable tax systems, lower insurance costs, or a lower cost of living. Your wage costs drop while still compensating your employees fairly.

Time Zone Shifting Tips

Implementing a process for successful time zone management begins and ends with communication. Everything flows from the success of your communication pathway, including:

  • Collaborative processes
  • Business alignment
  • Digital storage
  • Daily operations
  • Employee engagement

With email, the proliferation of engagement platforms like Slack, and video streaming capabilities, you can quickly bring together your teams to prevent isolation and miscommunication.

Create a daily communication process, including shift overlaps, so team members can pass along progress notes and answer in real time. Keep a universal call schedule, time zone map, or other visual handy.

Pro Tip: Follow efficient collaboration methods such as Agile. 

  • Lead a thorough discussion of code and project development
  • Promote short daily scrum meetings
  • Require sending logs to management
  • Deploy code regularly
  • Frequently test code

The rest of the time, commit to asynchronous communication as a default. Suppose you always consider that a team member is not in the same time zone as you. In that case, it's easier to determine the best method of conveying information. Everyone within the interaction has the time to create thoughtful and thorough responses.

Employees should use the same tools for communication, development, and document storage company-wide.  Create a standard for file labeling, classification, and categorization to ensure access for everyone on the team. Verify employees can open all the files they require for their work so that when you go to bed, there are no delays due to access issues.

When providing direction, ensure everyone has the same information to continue development. You want everyone pulling in the same direction. 

Define all roles clearly. As you hire, consider a potential employee’s flexibility, empathy, and openness to other viewpoints and cultural norms. Also, look for strong written communication skills, especially writing with clarity.

Pro Tip: Don’t micromanage. Hire people capable of independent work. Asking for too many details too often slows the development process to a crawl and devalues your employees.

To build alignment, create transparent and easily understood guidelines and processes with clear priorities, boundaries, and goals. As you schedule your workers, allow plenty of non-contact hours to minimize interruptions.

Think before setting meetings. Is it vital? Or could you handle the matter more efficiently some other way? If you determine a meeting is the best way forward, keep it short. Nobody is productive in a meeting. Record it for those who cannot be there and ask for written updates at the end of the shift, so you don't lose anything from the overlapping communication.

Pro Tip: Don't let one person dominate the meeting. Stick to a tight agenda so everyone is more willing to attend.

To build your team, create online social groups and times for celebration. You have multiple cultures to enrich everyone's life. Also encourage work-life balance. Remind everyone to turn off notifications outside work hours so they can recharge. Maintaining a life separate from work is a crucial part of employee retention.

The Takeaway 

Hiring international employees for your development team benefits your business and your workers. 

  • Your company benefits from increased productivity.
  • Your employees benefit from working optimal hours.
  • Everyone benefits from different perspectives and cultural viewpoints.

Embrace asynchronous communication, avoid micromanagement, and keep meetings to a minimum. Create a smooth process, then sit back and let the magic happen.

Stop struggling to find right-fit international candidates and reduce salary costs over U.S. wages. Avoid visa sponsorship, payroll barriers, and compliance risks with end-to-end employer of record (EOR) solutions–call your Worca EOR expert. 

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