How to Maximize the Time Difference Between You and Your Distant Assistant
One of the challenges in a distant workplace is the time zone difference between team members. We see a typical scenario wherein an entrepreneur may have his executive assistant situated in the Philippines, his web developer from the United States, and his social media manager from Taiwan. Here’s how to maximize the time difference between you and your distant assistant.
1. Establish Rules of Communication
There can be a variety of differences available in a workplace — differences which could serve as obstacles to achieving better results. Among which are the members’ differences in terms of culture, language, personality, and just as we mentioned, time zones. How then can you and your distant assistant work together in harmony and progress despite all these?
Communication. Steady communication brings together everyone on the team regardless of such differences.
What you can do is set clear rules regarding:
- Which communication apps to use
- How to address each another
- The time when each of you can be reached
- Any regular meetings to attend
- Where to submit completed projects
- The language to use in the workplace
Consider any challenges you may encounter while working with your distant assistant and create a set of rules to overcome them. The rules will serve as your guide, help you convey your ideas effectively to your DA, as well as ensure that every time you meet together is worthwhile.
2. Meet at the Best Possible Time
The Philippines and the United States, for example, currently have a 14-hour time difference. 8 o’clock in the morning for a U.S.-based entrepreneur means 10 o’clock in the evening for a Filipino distant assistant.
There are distant assistants who are willing to work on the same work schedule of their clients, largely due to the nature of their job. And there are also distant assistants who may be able to work at the regular 8 AM to 5 PM work schedule according to their local time zones. Examples are social media managers and writers.
The nature of their job allows them to work at their own local time schedule without having to communicate often in real-time with their clients. They email their clients in advance for any concerns that may require urgent attention and only meet when the other party is up.
Similarly, you can agree to meet on a specific day and time that works for you and your DA.
3. Respect the Time of Rest
Studies have revealed that a person’s body undergoes adjustments when working out of his regular system. Working on night shifts or on odd schedules can impose specific strains physically, mentally, socially, and on his overall health.
Back in 2012, Kaumudi Misra sought to present the Time Zone Effects in a global workplace. He asserted,
“The degree of time zone difference between global team employees and their work counterparts will impact their work-family issues as they have to work with additional time constraints and would have more need to coordinate work during nights or weekends, owing to this difference in time zone.”
While it is important to achieve the goals in business, it is also essential to maintain one’s health.
One thing you can do is encourage sufficient sleep before attending to the tasks for the day. You may also want to make some considerations whenever an important family gathering is to take place.
4. Introduce Projects Ahead of Time
Regardless of how big or important it is for your business, every project demands sufficient time for planning and implementation. Along with it are deadlines and tasks to fulfill.
One suggestion is to first determine the main responsibilities and the person who can be entrusted with it. You can then break them down into small tasks and create goals that can be fulfilled slowly until its expected dated of completion.
Doing so will guide your distant assistant on the things to do and expect in the process. Beat the odds by having time on your side.
5. Interact Using Real-Time Chats
As mentioned, communication is a vital element in achieving success in the workplace. Specifically for distant teams, technology is what brings them together.
To make the most out of or to maximize the time difference between you and your distant assistant, you can use the available communication software you have and consider interacting real-time when you can.
Through chats you can:
- Share work ideas
- Provide an update on a current project
- Provide feedback to your distant assistant
- Offer help on a project
- Talk about the big wins for the week
- Talk about the things to improve
- Give a random joke or nugget of wisdom
- Let each other know you are just around
This allows for quick turnaround times as well as helps keep workplace culture.
Time zone difference does not necessarily have to be a major downside. You can invest in it and use it to improve your work relationship with your distant assistant. Together, you can achieve greater wins.
As business magnate Henry Ford once said…
“Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
Set communication protocols, agree to meet at the best possible time, encourage holistic wellness for increased efficiency, stay ahead of projects, and participate in real-time interactions. These are five ways you can do to maximize the time difference between you and your distant assistant.
distant assistants can be your partner to success. Time and again, they have given tremendous help to entrepreneurs, business owners, and other individuals.
Let us know if you have any other ideas on How to Maximize the Time Difference Between You and Your distant Assistant? Feel free to share your thoughts with others in the comments below!
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