Merge's Blog

Have off-site employees? Establish common work hours for at least a fraction of the day

In today’s blog post, I’m back once again with another tip on how to work more effectively as a leader of off-site employees.  Last week’s advice was to be thoughtful about the communication medium you use.  This week’s tip is to establish common work hours for at least a fraction of the day.

Establish a common core time when all staff are available to each other

Think about establishing common work hours for at least a fraction of the day.  Granted, one of the great benefits for off-site employees is that they can work flexible schedules, but if you don’t establish at least a common core when everyone can be sure to reach one another, then collaboration can become very difficult.

If all your off-site employees are located in the same time zone, then this can usually be as easy as instituting a certain period during the day that works with everyone’s schedules.  However, the moment you get employees in different time zones, or even worse, around the world, this can become a much bigger challenge.  But persist in finding a common time period that works for everyone.  Or if necessary, pull rank and regiment one.  If you’ve got staff in directly opposing time zones, then think about setting a couple of common hours at the beginning and the end of the workday to create an overlapping interval.  No matter what, find a way to make it happen!

Truthfully, teams cannot be cohesive unless they collaborate.  Just because you’re working with off-site employees doesn’t mean that you don’t need to meet, at least virtually.  If your off-site employees cannot count on being able to reach their colleagues live for at least a couple of hours in a day, then you’re setting your team up to fail.  And that would be a pity!

Have you established a common core time when all your staff can count on being able to connect directly with one another?  Why or why not?  How is it working for you?  Please share by commenting below.

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